Saturday, June 9, 2012

In the many years in which I have been faithfully using opiates, illicit and otherwise, I had never witnessed an overdose until recently. I wish I had been more prepared for such an event. And given the statistics which pretty much promise that most addicts will relapse over and over again before finally, if ever, getting clean you would think I would have been given some info about overdoses. I've had counselors and doctors at rehabs and clinics give me information about injection safety and nutrition based on the assumption that I would, in all probability, use again. Why would they not make me as informed as possible so that I could perhaps save the life of another?
Thankfully I'm not a complete moron and God was probably on my side, looking out for me and my boyfriend. Because I did save his life, three times. Yeah, yeah.....why, given my history, would I date someone who has the same problems as me? Well, I really never seem to click romantically with men who haven't had some sort of addiction because I always feel like I'm misunderstood by them. I feel more comfortable when my partner knows what I've been through in my life and can sympathize. Maybe it helps to not judge me as much if you know that he wants to be clean. He was in fact clean for three years until over the holidays this past winter we both relapsed together. I suppose it was set in motion because of the stress we were under and then all it takes is events to converge in a way that makes it really hard to turn down using. Like having someone use right in front of us and offer it to us even knowing that they shouldn't and they were doing us a serious disservice. I've noticed that it is all too true, however, that misery loves company. And it seems that addicts especially don't like to go down alone. They feel less guilt about breaking down and getting high themselves if they can look next to them and say to themselves, "Oh well, so and so is high now too. I'm not the only weak one so it's not that bad".
So yeah, I'm with another addict struggling with recovery. But I still love him and feel happier than I have in a long time. I think despite some of the struggles we've been through that we can still have the possibility of a good future. Since the last OD he has gotten into a suboxone clinic and is trying really hard to make that the only opiate he uses. Sure, we have our days when we break down and getting high seems like the only way to relax, to ease our minds. Especially living in Worcester and having drugs so readily available. Anyhow, I could go on and on trying to justify my choices to people I hardly know. But it comes to to the fact that they are MY choices. And I have to live with them, no one else. And I am happy with the choices I have made. The real point of this post is to share my experience so other addicts can be more informed when it comes to having a friend or loved one OD. I wish I had read more about overdoses before this happened to me. I wish I had been more prepared and I could have spared myself quite a bit of grief.
So.....we had just begun to dabble in heroin again. Both of us at one point in our pasts had used huge amounts of dope, but not recently. He had been completely clean for many months and aside from a relapse here and there, three years had passed without more than a night or two of using small amounts. As far as myself, I had switched from methadone to suboxone over the summer and it had been working for me. The only issue I was having was that it was an expensive habit to maintain and sometimes I couldn't find it when I needed it. That was the problem which led me to seek out an alternative to begin with. The thing is that with suboxone a person still gets sick, just as if they were out of heroin. So I needed to find something to not be sick and dope was the best option, especially in the mind of an addict. And once the wheels are in motion it's SO hard to turn back. So we began to use here and there. Some days taking the suboxone, others seeking out dope.
The day the overdose happened, the first overdose, the one that scared me the most because I had never seen anything like it, we had obviously been getting high for a few days. But by the time we shot up on this particular afternoon it had been quite a while since our last shot and we were not feeling well. We were pretty sick and could have, should have, just taken our suboxone. But instead we had been holding out, hoping we could find a way to get high instead. It was late in the afternoon, maybe four o'clock and we had just bought two half grams, one for each of us. I did a little over half of my bag, not sure how strong it was I was trying to be careful. I didn't watch him to see how much he did, not realizing yet how susceptible to overdosing he is. I later realized he didn't do that much more than me. He is always faster than me at shooting himself up. I'm generally still putting some sort of tie around my arm and searching for a vein and he's all done. And this day was no different. So as I was busy looking at my own arm and not worrying about him he was slowly fading right next to me. It took until I finished shooting my own before I looked up and noticed something was horribly wrong. His eyes were rolled back in his head and he was lightly convulsing. The worst was that his breathing came in these spastic wheezes, obviously his lungs were not working right. And his lips were an unnatural shade of blue. I panicked.
I have never taken any type of emergency first aid class. But I wished now at that moment that I knew something, anything at all, about emergency resuscitation. I smacked him in the face, hard, a couple times.....nothing, no response, no change. I pummeled his chest with my fists hoping this would shock his heart into beating again, although I know now that it never actually stopped. It's the lungs that shut down first. I began to drive. I thought about calling an ambulance but I couldn't find a phone and he was in the car already.....oh, yeah, we were staying at his uncle's house at the time and we didn't want to have to go there to get high because we obviously didn't want anyone to know what we were up to. Oh boy, living with his uncle is a whole book in and of itself. The uncle is a quadriplegic and spends his days in his wheelchair which enables him to move about his small apartment pretty well leaving us no place for privacy of any sort. So we were parked in a parking lot not far from his house. Normally I really prefer to get high in the comfort of my own home but beggars can't be choosers, no? So here we were. I couldn't find my phone in my state of panic. I felt like I could barely see or breathe myself. My mind didn't want to work, my thoughts were racing, my skin was hot I was cold but sweating. I thought he was going to die right next to me, in my car. I would lose my best friend and lover and probably go to jail for involuntary manslaughter I'm thinking...."Oh my God!"
I hauled ass out of that parking lot. I was speeding through traffic. Still not that familiar with the streets of Worcester at that point, I knew the hospital was quite close but I had to think fast which roads would get me there the fastest. I think my subconscious mind took over because I don't remember making the choices to turn here or there but I know we made it there and fast. They said when they examined him that five more minutes and it might have been too late. Thank God I acted fast. I was throwing icy water in his face as I was racing through traffic, passing people and blowing red lights.
That was probably not the smartest thing to do. In driving him myself, I avoided the police,but I could have gotten us both killed. I realize after two consecutive OD's in which I did call 911 that avoiding the police is absolutely desirable. Even though in Worcester they are not supposed to make arrests on and OD call, they still harass you and try to get you to react so they can arrest you. I have some crazy tales about the way the police acted on the subsequent calls...but that's a tale or two for another day.

12 comments:

Jeannie said...

Wow. Scary stuff.

I wish I could relate better (or maybe not) because I really don't understand what it's like for you. I get so nauseated taking any opiates, that I'm only too happy not to take them. I used to enjoy drinking but that doesn't settle well either any more and I never could binge. I'm sure if I found something that made me feel THAT good, I'd take it. It would be nice to feel good - and I would be loath to give it up if I found it. Maybe it's a good thing that I don't go looking.

smackhead said...

thats one of the experiences in life that haunts you for very long, specially if the outcome is death and then it turns to blame and then to hate, sorta like someone putting a gun against your head-instantly scarred for life, even more than what the drug abuse scarred you:)
closet-junkie101.blogspot.com

The horse lawyer said...

Worcester has free Narcan training at 85 Green Street. Stay safe.

Maureen said...

Nellie, I have been wondering if you are OK or not? Your post is from June 9th, my 1 best g/f whom is an atty. Known her since we were 6 yrs.old!
Haven't been to ur part of the USA, except last Thanksgiving we flew to see our son & wonderful daughter in law. Thy live in Va. & work in D.C. We flew into Maryland airport. Nothing like my nowhere AZ. town, which is nothing like the "valley", which includes Phoenix & the "burbs"!
An overdose sure is scary & I haven't witnessed one since the mid 1970's. Yes, I am that old!
Nellie, YOU take care of YOU.
Write more, some of us worry about you.
Blessings,
Maureen

Anonymous said...

I heard Nellie od'd when she got out of jail.

Maureen said...

Nellie, are you ok? Someone said that you oded, I will email you.
Blessings,
Maureen

Maureen said...

Nellie, are you ok? Someone said that you oded, I will email you.
Blessings,
Maureen

Anonymous said...

It's been confirmed. Nellie was in jail, got out after 2 months and died less than 24 hours later. At least she won't be a drain on the rest of us anymore.

Michael Cohen said...

According to the comment posted by "Anonymous" you, Nellie, died of an overdose early this year (2013). If that's true I am so sorry. You were truly a gifted writer. So many people try their hand at writing first-person accounts of addiction but very few are able to do it well. You were one of the few. In my opinion, your blog was one of the best. The amount of insight, honesty...the quality of the writing was outstanding. You once wrote that your least favorite word in the English language was the word
"potential," as wasted potential. Sadly that is the word that now haunts my mind as I consider the tragedy of your life cut short. The criminal justice system is responsible for your death. Addiction did not kill you. The cops and judges and politicians killed you. They still believe in the so-called war on drugs. The still believe in Prohibition. In their world drug addicts are on the side of the "bad guys." Here's what they fail to get: When you make it a crime to use certain drugs you instantly make millions of young people into criminals. The one's who are caught go to jail. That's what happened to Nellie. As a heroin addict she eventually found herself behind bars for a couple of months where her body withdrew from the drug and her ability to tolerate opiates was reset to that of a non-user. Like countless other of our daughters and sons, sisters and brothers, upon release, shame and emotional pain lead Nellie back to her daily dose. Her mind was still addicted but her body wasn't. Like I said, she was murdered. The worst part is that the "good guys" did it. Rest in peace, drug war victim.

Anonymous said...

"Like I said, she was murdered. The worst part is that the "good guys" did it. Rest in peace, drug war victim."

That's totally ridiculous. Nellie is not a "victim." She victimized other people--the people she stole from, the family she hurt, etc. Unless someone shot her up against her will she is responsible for her death.

Anna Young said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

You know I had only read Nellies' blog a handful of times. As those whom have read the blog I kept from 2008-early to early 2012. I had never read her bio on blogspot.com.

I sure wish I had took time to zoom out from the insane close up I have on myself. So close it was/is as though I couldn't/can't see beyond myself. The only perspective I was seeing others at was how their life, thought, ideas, affected my life.
If I had just taken a second to read her bio, as far as favorite movies & books, etc.. I would have found a kindred spirit. Someone to help me kill my time, cause I'll never be fine. We could have talked till the clock circled all the way.
It seems as though the best bloggers not just the best �� bloggers, but the best in all categories and subjects simply vanish. Noah Tosstino hasn't been herd from in almost 2 years, now Nellie a year gone without a word. I haven't done any kind of search for Noah, but I keep meaning to. I have a photo to do a reverse photo Google search, plus he provided enough info that searching obits & missing persons in both Oklahoma City, OK and Denver Colorado were he was when he last posted.
Has anyone done any leg work aside from anonymous that states she has died from Overdose. I'm not saying anonymous is lying, but people will hold out hope if there hasn't been confirmation of death.
She could have gotten clean and finds reading comments and her past posts a trigger.

I haven't seen anyone on any of my Facebook & Google+ friends who have the movie I Heart Huckabee's (Fuckabee's) man I heart that movie. Rock, you rock. Anna Karenina are our favorite books, etc..! I hope Nellie is alive and well. If not, may she know peace of some kind.

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