Saturday, August 25, 2007

Does the shit ever end?

I know that my last post said I would be absent for a while due to not having access to my laptop or internet other than thru my handheld. But, my nerves are shot and writing has ever been one of the best tonics for soothing them.

A lot of bad shit has transpired in my life over the course of the last month or so. One of those things has been the illness of my oldest brother, who I wrote about in the post about the VA giving me PTSD.

On Thursday of this week my brother was released from the VA hospital in Tuscaloosa. I went and picked him up and brought him to my moms where he lives. He has a lot of appointments he needed me to carry him to next week and then he was going back to the VA and go through the PTSD program.

For the 30 plus days he was in the psych ward he had been weaned off methadone and valium. Everything at my moms had been destroyed...or so we thought. Late Thursday evening my brother told me that he had left some important records in Tuscaloosa and needed me to take him back on Friday to get them. I said I would.

So we set out yesterday morning around 8 am. He was fine until about half way there and then I noticed his speech beginning to slur. I asked him what he had taken and he said 1 1/2 methadone.

"I thought you didn't have anymore" I said..

"I had some hid", he said.

I was pissed....but kept driving and he went on the nod.

Around the time we got to the Cottondale exit I noticed his breathing was funny. Like someone who has sleep apnea. But he was breathing. When we got to the McFarland exit I decided to wake him up. I reached over and shook his leg and called his name..."John...wake up man we are almost there." His leg was cold and odd feeling. I got absolutely no response. I shook his leg again....nothing. I slapped his face and his whole head fell backwards like it was boneless. His face was turning blue and I couldn't get a pulse.

I was scared absolutely shitless. My oldest brother had just died in the seat next to me.

I pulled the car into the Parade service station at 31st East and called 911.

The 911 operator said I had to get him out of the car and lay him flat on the pavement. Now, my brother is a big man...well over 200 pounds and I wasn't sure I could move that much dead weight. However those stories you hear about inhuman strength under extreme stress are absolutely true. I snatched his big ass out of that car like he was nothing more than a bag of feathers.

The operator told me to clear his airway, which unfortunately, was chocked full of tomato biscuit that mom had sent with us for breakfast. So, for at least two minutes all I was able to do was dig tomato biscuit out of his mouth and throat.

When that was done the operator said to begin CPR. "I don't know CPR", I said. So he gave me instructions.

"Put your hand under his neck and tilt his head back." As soon as I did that he took a huge gulp of air ..but only one. "Now pinch his nose closed and breathe into his mouth three times." I did. "Now administer 25 chest compressions and if he hasn't started to breathe on his own give him 3 more breaths."

Luckily Fire and Rescue showed up as I was doing the chest compressions and took over. It took them about 20 minutes to get him going on his own and then they took him to the hospital. I followed.

When I got to his ER cubicle he was awake..thanks to Narcan. He said, "What happened?" I am not sure I have ever wanted to slap him so bad in my life.

"Oh nothing just overdosed on methadone, choked on your tomato biscuit and died in the fucking car seat next to me. I had to drag you out in the parking lot of a gas station and administer CPR in front of a gathering crowd and wait for the ambulance to get there. How much of that shit did you take?"

"I only took 2 and a 10 mg valium."

"You LIAR!!!! You just wait til I get you back to the fucking house..then I'll put you in the hospital with the worst ass kicking you have ever had."

That made the ER staff giggle.

I stopped then before I lost my remaining sanity. I knew if I didn't stop I'd jump in his ass with both feet and that was neither the time nor place for it.

"I'm going to smoke and make some phone calls", I said.

"Don't call Mama", he said.

" think I didn't call her when your ass was laying dead on the asphalt of the Parade gas station having your heart shocked and tomato biscuit dug out of your throat? Oh yeah, the doctor found your pill stash and gave them to me. Take a good long look at this methadone, because, when I walk out of here I am flushing it and you will never get another one." And that is exactly what I did.

I know I sound like a harsh, hypocritical, asshole, since I smoke pot, but what has happened to my brother was not pot related and, in my 21 years of smoking pot, I have never died on anyone driving down the road.

Later on my brother was moved into an MICU room. I went in to tell him bye and he said, "You did CPR on me today?"

"Yes", I said.

He started crying and said "You saved my life and I am so happy because I am not ready to die."

"What else could I have done" I asked him..."You're my brother."

Many thanks to the owners/workers at the Parade on McFarland and 31st. East for the use of their asphalt, the free paper towels they provided so I could clean the tomato biscuit off my hands and for their genuine concern about how John was doing. If you live in Tuscaloosa stop by there get some gas and show them some love.

Many thanks also to the 911 operator who helped me keep my brother alive until the ambulance got there. And many thanks to Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue for getting there quickly and taking over for my amature ass.

I was talking to a friend about this last night and they said for xmas they are getting me a defibrillator that plugs into my cigarette lighter.

Moral of this story....If you are gonna take enough methadone to kill a fucking elephant please skip the 'mater biscuits....they're hell on an airway. And go take a CPR class


Anonymous said...

valis said...
Hi Loretta,

Just read your post. That is a scary as hell experience. Had a friend commit suicide while I was with him, couldn't do anything. You're an amazing, strong person. I really admire that :-) Keep strong!

Anonymous said...

My asshole brother died a year ago in August from an methadone overdose. I never had a problem with weed but, heroin and it's substitute sister methadone have killed more than one person whom I was friends with.


Tanya said...

Holy shit. That is pretty scary. I took CPR but I don't know that I would be able to remember how to do it if I was faced with a situation like that.

I wish you and your brother well. Kick his ass for me, will ya?

Anonymous said...

Jeez, it never rains but it pours.

Another moral of this story is that some of the most dangerous, toxic, and addictive drugs on the planet come in pill form courtesy of multinational pharmaceutical companies.

I can't imagine what it would be like to have an opiate jones. I hope to never know.

You're a good sister to take care of your bro like that. Maybe this will shock him into getting the kind of help and support he needs to kick his habit.

Loretta Nall said...

Wow Sepp I am so sorry you lost your brother. This is the 9th time my brother has overdosed since he started taking methadone.

This is my first experience dealing with opiates and opiate substitutes. All I can say is this shit is dangerous....shocked at just how dangerous. I can't understand how they can keep giving it to my brother in quantities of 60 knowing he is an addict. It would be different if he had to go to a clinic and get it everyday and had someone monitor him like a child to make sure he swallowed it. Or maybe it wouldn't.

-Sepp said...

Jamie Snyder-
Jan 30 1971 - Aug 3 2006
He only got to OD once.

Anonymous said...

Your brother risks everything you fight for by being a lying pill popping hypocrit. I know you love him, but honestly he shouldn't be taking ANY pills, if he is - he really isn't healed at all. I can't believe he lied to you, that is just unacceptable!!!!!

He sounds like he is just floating through life having people carry him along, I've seen other people do that who pray to the Gods of downers. It's a slippery slope when you see someone start sliding down it, and they try and take you with them. Regardless, all the pain and suffering he is causing you by lying and nearly committing suicide in front of you is completely unacceptable...

Loretta Nall said...

Yeah Sepp I have two brothers who make it very difficult for me to do the work that I do.

Anonymous said...

I admire your strength Loretta. I had to sit by and watch my brother go through stroke-like symptoms while he was high on meth. Why can't people just smoke weed. It's natural, not chemical.

Dena Braves said...

I'm really glad you got this all down on your blog. Take care of yourself and thank you for sharing this.

Unknown said...

hey swistie,send me an email so we can you!

Anonymous said...

Maybe he should try subutex or suboxone instead if he's off of the methadone. I don't know how much he was taking, but the clinics like to get people on 80-120 mgs, or even higher (up to 500mg) so that it's damn-near impossible to get off of.... and, of course, they charge you $12 a day, every day plus additional charges for mandatory drug screens and check-ups, and peak and trough studies, etc. It's quite a clever scam. And even a clinic would not ensure that something like this wouldn't happen again, because he would eventually earn "take home" doses and could easily OD on those. Suboxone, on the other hand, curbs cravings without giving much of a buzz, has a ceiling dose at which it's effective (so ODing isn't really an issue), and doesn't interact as dangerously with the benzos (as methadone is notorious for). Also, if he were to try to abuse another opiate while on it, he'd either not feel anything or have withdrawal symptoms. Only certain doctors can prescribe it, however, so you'd have to find one on I wish I'd stayed on suboxone myself... I'm on 95mg of methadone, and it seems to be even more of a problem than my initial lortab addiction. :(

Anonymous said...