"Open your eyes." the voice commanded. So I did.
"No. Really look at me," the voice scolded. "Really open your eyes." I knew I hadn't done it right the first time. I'd opened my eyelids, but knew my pupils were still rolled far back, probably seeing the middle of the backside of my brain. I couldn't help it. "Aim forward and look into the flashlight he's beaming into your skull," I ordered my pupils. As I somehow figured out without ever having seen him, my doctor was extraordinary looking.
The problem had started in Korea. Listening to my husband, and following the listed rules on the American Airlines website, I loaded the maximum sized carry-on bag with the maximum amount of stuff. My friends, when they came to collect me to deliver me to the airport instantly ixnayed it as "way too big," and in a rare instance of common sense, I brought the smaller bag. We ended up having to re-pack that as carry-on, and shifted clothes and books from the other maximum two check-in bags.
Here. Did you come here having found this blog by googling "Korea" or something? Are you a visitor looking for some advice? Here's some advice,...are you thinking of going to Korea for more than five years?
That's my advice. Moving back is a pain in the ass. I have entirely too much shit! I digress, though. I realized in the Smoking Lounge at the Tokyo Airport what I'd done. One pocket in the bigger carry-on. The side pocket. In my mind, I could see the contents. Couple books. Couple pairs of glasses in cases. Drugs.
I looked in my purse. Six. I had six pills left. That wasn't how that was supposed to work. I was supposed to wean in Canada, and yet six pills meant I was going to bottom out fast. So I took the last two pills in Canada Wednesday morning and then it was cold turkey.
Sunday evening. Time passed and the door opened. More questions. Me answering as best I could for about the twentieth time since early Saturday morning. Another flashlight, but this time a fingertip prying my eye open, "Look at me," another voice commanded again. He concurred and I was officially in withdrawl - something I'd been pretty sure about for quite some time. Ha! And they stuck me to a pole and sent morphine into my veins through a pump that pushed it into my arm every four hours. I shant complain about that.
Here's something you might not have known: the last many months I'd been high. When I flew out of Korea it was after three consecutive days of taking 280mgs per day. A whole tray of 14 pills - enough for more than 2 days at the prescribed dose. I'd been doing that for months. I always went back to the doctor twice as fast as I should have. That was one accommodating Korean doctor.
I realize that fessing this up will probably get some judgment, but I don't care. I really don't. I have been thinking over the last few days how every single person has got their story. No one is alright, not all the time. I feel defenseless. Maybe there's something about spending two days writhing and puking and contorting and, oh god - my poor family - I just scared the shit out of them. But I was honest. Almost all honest.
I forget in which movie it was that one of the main characters replies, "I'm pretty fucking far from okay right now." I was just recently there - but I'm getting better. Now seems to be a time for courage. Still, I feel out of my skin. Nothing even fits me anymore.
"She just got out of the hospital," I heard my brother say to someone. I looked up to see who he was speaking to. Costco employees commenting on my attire. Yah. I was wearing pajamas. Suck it, bitches. "Check it out," I said - lifting my sleeve to reveal my multi-coloured arm, bruised entirely from the crook across from my elbow to the knuckles and covered in tape-rash I was just happy to be out. Out, out, OUT. My brother has a Toyota MR2 and it's the sexiest little car. I could ride around in it all day long. My brother has been also been suddenly embracing me and saying "I really love you, man." He said even at my worst I was curled in a ball with my head lagging backwards declaring, "I love this car, man."
I've been left alone now for the next few days. Somewhere in this house is a package that arrived while I was in the hospital. It's the rest of the drugs. I started looking for it already in high up places on the 2nd floor, telling myself that I was only trying to see if I could find it. I've since abandoned the search and am trying not to think about it. I don't want to search this house when chances are the package is in his desk drawer at work. Who knows. I'm not drug-free, the doctor gave me a prescription for Tylenol 3s for the pain. We'd been getting the bottles of pills at Costco when I appeared on "What Not To Wear. To Costco. After Detox."
You know, I was discharged and landed back in Emergency exactly three months to the day after my father died, which also happened to be Father's Day. Coincidence? Maybe. Here's something you didn't know: I didn't go to his funeral. Sunday was the first day of the last three months of what I hope will be the conclusion of The Year of Absolute Sucktitude. There's a lot of crap I haven't discussed with anyone, let alone you - but now it feels like I've got shards to pick up to try to re-assemble a life. What has been my life has exploded.
Late Thursday night I passed two Jewish men in black guiding a stretcher through the first floor hallway. The guy at the end of the stretcher was a giant albino, commenting "It's 3-West." I thought I was in an episode of Twin Peaks. Soon after I was sitting on a rock smoking a cigarette and they brought out a body bag on the stretcher, loading it into the back of a silver van before driving off. The next day I peeked out at the third floor as the elevator stopped on it. Damn. It was Pediatrics. I had hoped the smallness of the bag meant it was a withered old granny. Somewhere in the city, a family was grieving for a child as a pump ticked down measures of time into my arm. Everyone has a story; go easy on us all.
I'm not all better, but I'm trying. I'm joining the fight, which is all I can do. Now's a time to be brave, yeah?
Book Review: The Possessors
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