The most horrifically scary event took place this past Saturday, July 27th, and it was a day I will never forget. As hard as I try to wipe it completely from my memory and pretend it never happened, I have to deal with it and come to terms with the fact that not all people in this world are good, decent people, like you and me.
Here’s how it played out. My husband came over about 11:00 am to pick up our son for the night. In the meantime, I was working on laundry and cleaning up the kitchen. I remembered that I had forgotten to take my dose from the day before of methadone, so I took it. About two hours passed and I started feeling rather sluggish, dizzy, and confused. I didn’t want my husband to see me like that, because he is always very quick to assume that I’m “using drugs”. Well this day he came inside from working on our other son’s truck, and he saw me as I was about to step onto our stairwell and head up to my room. He said, “STOP JEN!” I turned to him and, probably making myself seem even more suspicious, I had a funny look on my face, I could feel it. He said, “You look stoned”. I replied with, “I assure you I’m not stoned”. He stood there watching me.
I got up to my room and as I was walking toward the bathroom the lower half of both my legs was completely numb, which caused me to fall, as there was nothing to hold me up. That’s when I realized it. I felt the exact same way that I did about a month previous, when I missed two days in a row of methadone because we were all really sick with the stomach flu: I started feeling a little sick that morning then we immediately left for the clinic so I could get my dose in me as soon as possible. We live ten minutes away from the clinic. There was no traffic. But when we arrived at Sacramento Treatment Center, I felt ten times worse than I had when we left the house. I went inside and explained the situation to the receptionist, and I asked if I could get graced on fees until Friday of that week. Wouldn’t you know it? The only person who is able to do graces was out on lunch, and she had just left. When I finally did make it in to the dosing room, I felt so bad that the Nurse gasped when she saw me. She said I looked positively awful, and pointed out that my eyes were even drooping. I thought that I would start feeling better with twenty, thirty minutes.
I went straight up to bed when we returned home. I lay there for about a half-hour and then needed to go potty, so I got up out of bed. But I couldn’t feel my feet or my legs. Not only did my legs buckle, causing me to fall to the floor, but I urinated all over myself; I couldn’t control it at all. I began to cry. My precious angel girl heard me and immediately came rushing to my aid. She saw me crying, laying on the floor, and she dropped down right next to me and began to softly sob with me. I had to go potty, but I couldn’t move–and every time I tried, I peed a little more on myself. It was humiliating. As the day progressed, the symptoms just continued to worsen. I tried as hard as I could to sleep. The next day I was back to normal for the most part, but still wasn’t 100%.
Well this past Saturday I sat there reminiscing about the day I had experienced these same symptoms. I made it to the toilet, but again, not before going on myself. I just sat there and cried and cried. When I was done, I got up to exit the toilet room and wash my hands; but I was unable to feel my legs even more than just ten minutes ago. I fell to the floor and in doing so, twisted my ankle. I was sobbing heavily by this time. I yelled for my son. He came up, and guess who should be following behind him: the husband. I watched in confusing wonder as he made our son leave my room, and he shut the door behind him. His face twisted and turned into a look of complete horror: he looked like the villain in Insidious, which terrified me. He proceeded to yell at me, “What drug are you on?” I was absolutely shocked. I said, “Aaron! I had this same thing happen a month ago when I missed two days of dosing, don’t you remember?” He would not acknowledge a word I just spoke. He asked me for the second time, “What are you on?” and as the words came out, his face was twisted and contorted into an evil, sinister look like I have never seen before in my life, or been scared so deeply by. I was crying so hard my words were inaudible. Again, I said, “I’m not on anything Aaron!!”. He got right up to my face and said, “Tell me what drug you’re on GOD DAMMIT! I know you’re on drugs!” I told him he was crazy and I said “Ask the kids how I was a month ago when this happened.” It was like I wasn’t even being heard. He said, “You either tell me right now what you’re on or I’m calling the police”. The police? What the fuck is this guy’s deal? I had never in my life been treated so much like a criminal, a scuzzy bucket off the street. I said again, that I had no idea what he was talking about. He yelled as loud as he could, to make god damned certain all three of our children could hear, “IF YOU DON’T TELL ME WHAT YOU’RE ON I’M GOING TO HAVE YOU ARRESTED AND I’M CALLING 911!” To which I replied, “Good idea! That’s what I want!” (this pissed him off so much that he looked like he was about to explode. He yelled again in my face that I better tell him right now what I’m on. I was so sick of going back and forth, I thought “this man must be the stupidest person on the planet”–so I replied by saying, “I took four Norco!” This wasn’t true even a little bit but I wanted him off my back.
I laid in the bathroom, thirsty, unable to move toward my water bottle; I was weak and had no energy. About thirty minutes later four EMT’s came into my room and bathroom and proceeded to talk to me in just about as harsh and cruel of a tone of voice as my husband had. They asked me all sorts of questions, my husband kept answering for me, like when they asked “what have you taken today?” My husband spoke right over me and said, “She took four Norco earlier–she’s back on GOD DAMNED DRUGS AGAIN!” The way these emergency medical technicians were treating me, coupled with my own husband talking to me like I was dirt on his shoe, I was sobbing to myself and unable to speak. I couldn’t believe that my husband couldn’t see in my face and my demeanor, how I held myself–that there was something wrong. I explained to the EMTs about methadone, how it works, about the very long half-life, and about what happened a month before. These guys were idiots! I never fought them, I never argued or spoke in a disrespectful manner to any of them, yet they seemed to find it amusing while riding in the ambulance, to make sarcastic, cruel remarks about me right in front of me. I tried to just it roll off my back. I was feeling worse by the minute.
But what happened within the next thirty minute period is absolutely horrifying. Once we arrived at the Emergency Room at Methodist Hospital, I was pretty much out of it. I don’t remember what the Nurses and/or other clinicians were saying to me. But there was this one Nurse I will never forget. She was a black woman, fairly young–I would say no older than 28-30 years-old. She was in good shape and was very attractive. She was the Nurse assigned to my room. Now each of the staff members was notified immediately upon my arrival that I was experiencing numbness in both of my legs and that I was unable to walk. But this Nurse, Nurse Bitch, wanted to try and make me walk. I said “I can’t! My legs won’t go!” She just kept talking over me, saying, “Yes you can! Now do it! Walk!” She yanked me out of my bed and told me to stand up, and then proceeded to tell me to “stop faking it” and “being a drama queen”. I did my absolute best to walk where she was directing me to; when it was time to turn around and walk back, however, I suppose my legs were completely exhausted–but they were not going to let me walk any further. I told the Nurse that I needed to stop. Again, she yanked on my arm and tried to pull me up to standing by pulling really on the shoulder-region of my arm. She again kept repeating, “You can walk, Jennifer. You just walked all the way over here! Now stop this nonsense and show everyone that you can walk. You’ve been faking that you couldn’t walk…” I told her that I was tired now, and she again grabbed my arm and yanked on me. Which caused the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever experienced to occur: I couldn’t control my bowels, and I pooped all over the floor. The Black Nurse was yelling and trying to get help and asking me, “Why I had to go and do that?” I was sobbing uncontrollably by this point. Nobody had ever treated me like this before. I was disgusted with myself and with this Nurse. She and another Nurse picked me up by my arms as if I was a rag doll, and dragged me into my room and threw me (literally) down on the bed. They told me to turn over so they could clean me. I stated once again that I was tired and unable to turn myself over. She began to yell at me how I had “done enough” and “been nothing but trouble since the moment I came in”. I meditated myself into a subconscious state so that I could avoid listening to her putting me down, making me feel worse than I already felt, and treating me like I was some animal. I could hear her talking bad about me at one point, which caused me to snap out of the haze I was in, and I said to her, “How can you be a Nurse who helps the public? You are horrible, awful, cruel, and completely out of line lady…” To which she just laughed.
I was in the hospital for three days. All of the Nurses and Doctors I came into contact with after my run-in with the Black Nurse were very friendly, genuinely concerned about me, and very understanding. It turned out I was in fact experiencing withdrawal symptoms; I figured out how much methadone I should have taken last week and how much I actually took; I should’ve had 1750mg. I only had 500 mg. I didn’t have enough reserve of methadone (methadone has a very long half-life: 24-36 hours) which meant that when I missed just one more dose, it put me into an emergency state of withdrawal and trauma. They did several MRIs while I was staying there and they did a CAT Scan as well. One of the MRIs showed that I have a herniated disk and some swelling in my lower lumbar region of my back. None of that matters, what matters is that I made through and will never, ever be visiting Methodist Hospital again. That was a awful experience and I fully intend to complain to as many people as I can get to listen, about the way that Nurse talked to and treated me. It was very inhumane and left an imprint on my soul that will never go away. All bad experiences lead to strength, perseverance, and vigor. And that makes us better people in the end.