She felt shamed. Almost stupid this time. As her head swam, one thing was clear, it happened again. How did she let this happen AGAIN!? She hadn’t moved off the couch to do much of anything all day due to the pain in her left shoulder. She had complained about it throughout the night. And all she longed for was sweet relief. Thank God her doctor increased the dosage of her muscle relaxer last week. But sometimes what’s good ain’t good for you.
When it was about time for her nightly meds, she thought about the cold medicine and ibuprofen she had taken a few hours ago. She reached for her pill organizer and dumped the four and two half of tablets in her hand and popped them in her mouth like she did every night. But she spit the extra half of muscle relaxer out because she decided to wait to take it in about an hour or so. The second Netflix movie she had chosen to watch was halfway through. But she was in the middle of the third before she remembered to take the extra half.
She instantly felt different. It seemed in a matter of seconds, she felt as though she had been roofied. The room swirled. Her forehead felt heavy as a brick. She kept falling forward. Not again, she thought, Jesus, please don’t let me die. Silent prayers soon turned into a plea for her mom to call 911. The EMS was only a few minutes away.
The EMS driver was the rude guy who had taken her brother to dialysis many times. His countenance was holier than thou and he always carried himself like he was too good to walk in their house. Out of sheer ignorance and belittling, he asked the question, “Why did you call the ambulance, ma’am?” Though her speech was slurred, she managed to murmur, “Something’s not right”.
Through her lethargy, she could see the disdain on his face and in his actions as he made her walk or stumble outside with no assistance from him to the stretcher outside. Yes, OUTSIDE! Had she been herself, he would’ve been cussed out. In her altered state, she could only manage to sarcastically slur, “What, am I sitting up front with y’all?”, as she stumbled through the kitchen and out the back door.
Even as she lay on the stretcher, the whole world started to spin and she felt herself losing control. What in the world was happening? By that time, she couldn’t put together one single intelligent thought. She tried to answer their questions but what she wanted to say and what came out her mouth were two different jumbled things. She faded in and out of consciousness as they rushed her to the nearest hospital.
Being that she came by ambulance, she went straight back to triage. Those attending to her were three busybodies, gossiping, young nurses who were complaining about the administration. The one in charge talked loudly at her. Through her fog, she was able to briefly stay awake and her chest felt heavy. She was being shocked away either by the irritated nurse yelling that she needed to stay awake to answer her questions or the sound of herself snoring.
Although she felt no sense of time, on the clock it was just after 3:30 am when they told her she was getting an IV and fluids. They were taking blood and needed a urine sample. Never had she ever had so much trouble giving a specimen! She tried several times for over an hour. Finally, the nurses took urine through a catheter and left her alone. She fell asleep.
She woke up two hours later. The IV fluids finished and she had slept off most of her overdose. With her head somewhat clearer, she spent the next forty minutes calling for a nurse who never appeared. Her dizziness was wearing off. Finally, a nurse came in to check her vitals and a doctor soon followed. He said she had taken a little to much of her medicine but offered no other information or solutions. As soon as he spoke those words, she instantly felt ashamed. She knew better than to not pay more attention to the time between meds and to never mix medications. She had been doing it for a while with no problem until tonight.
She was released home with paperwork stamped, Accidental Overdose. Her momma wouldn’t be able to take losing me like that. I hate those words. Accidental overdose. Those words were stamped on her oldest son; my oldest brothers death certificate. I can’t allow those words to take me too. I’ve got to be more careful. I’m not trying to leave here before my time. I can’t do that to my family!
Everyone makes mistakes. Most of us are ashamed of some of the mistakes we have made. The only way to stop repeating them is to learn from them, change the behavior causing them, and don’t get so stuck in your shame, that you can’t move on. Life is hard. We all are struggling. Let’s reach out a hand to one another.
This is why I share my experiences such as this, to let someone know they are not alone. And to let them know they can recover and move on as long as they move differently. I have a set time for my day and night meds. If I’m two hours off I will not take them. I’m also not taking Ibuprofen anymore. I am making an ENT appointment next week for my allergies.
I pray all those who struggle with chronic pain and/or drug dependency find just one person to talk to and rely on. We can win the fight if we fight together. Contact me anytime here, through my email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or on IG @my_poetic_life_. I will be happy to be your person.