Life of an Addict with Paraplegia (Pt. 8)
It's not always rainbows and sunshine.
I want to write a chapter to try to explain why I'm writing these entries. I don't want to glorify drugs in any way. There were times that I had a lot of fun, while I was using. But, once I was diagnosed as an addict, whether I knew it at the time or not, on the inside I was miserable. I was unable to do what I wanted to do. I had to do whatever the drugs allowed me to do. Let me explain what I mean.
Once I was officially addicted to opiates, I was no longer able to do the things I enjoyed doing unless I either, had access to heroin or was able to buy enough heroin to last the full amount of time I would be gone. So many things come with having a drug habit. Specifically, a heroin habit. No matter how much I wanted to do something, if those requirements weren't met, I couldn't do it. It got to a point where anything bad that would happen to me, was immediately blamed on my addiction. Now, even though my addiction was not the cause of everything bad that happened. It also was never the reason something good happened. Let me explain.
November 2012 had been a good month. My spirits were high because I was in the methadone program and had actually been clean from heroin for almost two years. I would tell myself that the reason things were going so well, was because I was clean. I'm sure being clean was good in the fact that, I wasn't risking an overdose, going to jail or other things of that nature. But, that morning would show me that being clean isn't always rainbows and sunshine.
That morning I had went to my weekly methadone visit to get my six take home doses. I had earned them for staying clean for 18 months. It was about 7:30 AM and I was less than three miles from home. I popped over a hill, in my truck, and a huge deer jumped out in front of me. My first reaction was to swerve to miss the deer. So, I yanked the steering wheel to the right and drove into someones front yard. Unbeknownst to me, the yard was full of little hills and humps. I was pushed forward as I rumbled through the grass and it caused my foot to press the gas harder than needed. That rocketed me down the hill and up another, sending my vehicle airborne. I was slammed to the ground landing on the top of the next hill causing my seat to rip from the floor. The impact crushed me between the seat and the ceiling of the truck. I remember looking in the mirror and seeing that I had a fat lip. Figuring that was all that was hurt, I pulled out my cigarettes and lit one up. A man that was driving by stopped to see if I was okay. As he got to the truck, he saw me smoking and my hands shaking and probably thought I was fine, as did I. As I tried to stop shaking and finished my cigarette, the guy asked if I wanted help opening my door. I told him, "yes" and turned to help push with my shoulder. That's when I felt the worst pain I had ever felt. It shot down my back and stopped at my waist. It stopped at my waist because I could no longer feel my legs. I yelled to the guy that was pulling on my door, "call 911, I can't feel my legs!" I could tell he realized how serious I was by the way he looked at me.
I don't remember much after that. When the paramedics came and started to put me on the stretcher my pain level multiplied by a thousand. I didn't think it was possible to feel that much pain. I think my body allowed me to just pass out so I didn't have to go through it. I don't remember going to our local hospital at all. The didn't have the equipment or staff to handle the extent of my injury. So I was emergency flown to Ruby Memorial near WVU. I woke up for a few seconds in the helicopter screaming in pain. I guess they gave me more pain medication to put me out again.
The next time I woke up was seven hours later in the Intensive Care Unit. There was a doctor standing by me telling me to open my eyes. He began telling me, "you were in a car accident, sir. You broke your back. Your L1 vertebrae was crushed and it severed your spinal cord." He then took a deep breath and said, "I'm sorry but, your injury has left you paralyzed from the waist down and you will most likely never walk again."
Those words changed my life in a way I never thought my life could change. Just that morning, I was thinking how good things were since I had been clean, now I'm laying in a hospital bed with a neck brace on and unable to feel my legs.
I already have a chapter that goes into more detail about this. If you'd like to know more about it, check out my previous chapters. I just wanted to use this as an example of how quick your life can change. Not only for the worst but, it can also change this much for the better. Just don't let bad experiences become an excuse to use, if you're in recovery, or an excuse to use more, if you're still in active addiction.
Life is full of ups and downs. Whether you are a drug addict or not. Just keep in mind that things can always be worse. But also remember, when you're at a low point and think it's rock bottom, it can also change for the better, just as fast.
I have discovered that being handicapped is not cheap at all. I have a wheelchair that cost more than the cars I owned in my teens and twenties. Only because I was given a grant by a group that helps spinal cord injury patients.
Due to lack of proper treatment, at the rehab facility I was sent to after my accident, I ended up getting pressure sores on both butt cheeks and on my tail bone. I was bed ridden for months at a time, over a two and a half year period, treating them at a wound care center and at home. Finally I was granted the money for a $400 wheelchair cushion made by ROHO. It kept me from getting any sores from that point on. Recently, it got a hole in a spot that can't be patched. And I have to get out of my chair every half hour, and pump it up. Another example of how things can go from good to bad, bad to good or bad to worse. Feel free to leave a generous donation if you would like to help fund the expenses that I encounter. And to help fund future chapters of my story. Thank you for following and please share with someone that may be battling addiction or know someone that is.