Posts tagged with “Rock Bottom”.


x

Today is the one year anniversary of when I tried to kill myself. Spent a lot of the day reflecting. At 10am I was startled to think “one year ago, at this time, I was drinking my death drink.” It was kinda weird. Actually, no kinda about it, it was weird.

“The Church of Jesus Christ” service last night was a disappointment. I was really hoping it would have been an LDS service, but I guess I’ll have to wait until the New Year for that.

Brrrrr! It’s turned cold again. Yesterday was a pleasant night, now it’s chilly again. I wish the weather would make up it’s mind! Now I’m going to have to turn my mattress around again. =/

Ok. Enough for tonight. Time to turn my mattress around and read some scriptures.

~S

x

Writing my memoir sucks! I hate having to open up my closet and bring all the skeletons into the daylight. Remembering what I’ve done causes me physical pain. =/

I’ve been so depressed over the last two weeks. I’ve been snappish to friends, sarcastic to almost everyone, and generally an asshole.

I’ve put in a sick call request to mental health. I can’t survive for long under this pressure. I think a medication tweak is needed. I’m just not in a good place.

I’m a used condom. I showed such promise, danced my little dance, then discarded.

~S

x

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

-Dylan Thomas

x

x

(It is good that Stephen does not mind, has even grown to like it.)

I was a bit nervous to be sent off to Lifestream. Not because I doubted I needed help, but because I had heard that I would have to be transported by the police and handcuffed for the ride. Yes, after everything, I didn’t want to be “cuffed”. Something about it implied that I was a danger to the officer or other people. Which I feel I have never been.

Luckily the deputy assigned to transport me was able to see I wasn’t a threat and, upon asking, agreed that if I wasn’t going to be a problem he would allow me to ride without cuffing me. WHEW!

I would love to say the ride was eventful, but that just wasn’t the case. I hope all of my readers will never have the chance to put my theory to the test, but riding in the back of a police cruiser is a scary experience. At least, it was for me. Just the idea that I couldn’t get out if we were in an accident was enough to elevate my heart rate.

Soon enough we arrived at Lifestream. It was a rather squat building, more wide than either tall or deep. I was escorted into the holding area where other individuals were waiting to be processed. I got a good look at some of the other people I would be spending the next couple days with. Some were obviously there for mental health issues, but others were a little… shall we say “off”? It was then that I learned that Lifestream functions not only as a mental health facility, but as a drug rehab location. I was photographed and my inventory was checked for contraband. After an interview where they took both my mental health assessment as well as my family background, I was given a robe and led though a set of locked doors and into a bathroom. After checking the clothes I had on, I was lead through yet another set of doors and on to the adult male unit where I would be spending time.

I wasn’t exactly scared, but a bit apprehensive might be a better term. I knew that the nurses and orderlies wouldn’t allow any patient to be abused by other patients, but I still had to wonder just how crazy some of my unit-mates were.

The nurses on duty asked when was the last time I ate. After telling them breakfast, they asked if I felt up to eating. Well, duh! But I was still a bit reluctant for solid food.. I felt it might be taking chances. I was able to convince them into bringing me a bowl of vegetable soup with noodles. It STILL hurt like a bitch going down, but not as much as my first few meals in the hospital did. I was able to keep it down, so I figured I was making progress.

My bed was made and I changed out of the robe and into some more comfortable clothes. I grabbed one of the books that my mother had brought from home. I can’t even tell you the name of it now. It’s SOMEWHERE around here. lol

Anyway, the title isn’t important. It was a LDS book dealing with the atonement, grace, mercy, and that sort of stuff. All I remember is that it brought me to tears. Not full tears rolling down my face, just the tears welling up around the edges. You know how it’s like trying to blink back tears? That is how I was.

It was at this time one of the patients decided to introduce himself to me. A kindly early-40’s guy with mutton-chop sideburns. His name was Mark. He was reaching the end of his stay for addiction to alcohol.

I don’t know why, but I took an immediate “shine” to Mark. He seemed level-headed and friendly. Maybe it was because he seemed non-threatening. Maybe it’s because he was the first one to reach out to me. Maybe it’s just because he was there.

I opened up to him. I told him about what I had done, just as I’ve recalled on this blog. Everything. It’s then that the faucet was turned on. I started crying like I hadn’t done in years.

I guess the magnitude of everything was hitting me again. In the hospital I had processed just the tip of the iceberg. Now the emotions were taking center stage. Who was I to still be living? Why was I spared? I couldn’t explain it. Well, let me rephrase. I couldn’t explain it in any human terms. The fact that I was still alive and in control of my faculties could only be explained by me as divine intervention.

Do you have any idea how humbling it is to feel like…. No. KNOW that your higher power (whatever you may call him, her, or it) intervened on your behalf? To know how loved you are?

I… had an experience… I can’t prove it, I can’t even explain it, but everything that I know as a human being, everything that I am tells me that it was real! I was given something wonderful, something that changed me forever… A vision… of the universe, that tells us, undeniably, how tiny, and insignificant and how… rare, and precious we all are! A vision that tells us that we belong to something that is greater than ourselves, that we are *not*, that none of us are alone! I wish… I… could share that… I wish, that everyone, if only for one… moment, could feel… that awe, and humility, and hope. But… That continues to be my wish.
-Ellie Arroway (Jodie Foster), Contact (1997)

Mark agreed with me that it was a higher power at work, saving me from destroying myself. Now the trick, he said, was making the most of this second chance. I intended to.

All in all, we were probably locked in conversation for only 45 minutes. But it was 45 minutes of fellowship. Something I really needed.

By this time some people had gone to bed, others watching some mindless sitcom or sporting event on the unit’s two televisions. Not feeling up to much more socializing, I retired to my bed. Sleep quickly took me.

I woke up at 2am with what felt like an elephant on my chest. It felt like I wasn’t able to get enough air into my lungs. Oh boy! Just my luck, the night after I leave the hospital I have the heart problem they were looking out for. I must have lain there for about five minutes, trying to gulp air. When I started feeling tingling in my left finger-tips, I decided to go to the nurses station.

The unit was dead quiet. I padded to the nurses station and told them I was having trouble breathing. They consulted their chart and said since I was a new admission, they didn’t have any authorization to give me anything. Why don’t I lay back down and try to concentrate on my breathing. If I kept having trouble, they would call the doctor on duty and see if they could give me anything.

I wasn’t totally convinced that this would do anything, but I realized I really wasn’t in a position to argue. I said I would give it a try and turned to go to my room. Was that a mattress in the hallway with someone asleep on it??

As I lay in my bed, I tried to focus on drawing in deep breaths and then slowly emptying my lungs. I tried to ignore the sirens going off in my mind, screaming “Heart Attack! Heart Attack! Heart Attack!”.

Slowly I noticed that the elephant had gotten up to sit somewhere else. With much relief, and a little embarrassment, I went back to the nurses station to let them know I was ok now, and they didn’t have to wake the doctor.

I returned to bed and realized I had just had my very first panic attack. What fun!!! I was able to slip off to sleep again shortly thereafter.

The next morning, as we lined up to go to the cafeteria for breakfast, I got my first real look at my fellow in-mates. I mean patients. ;) A good mix. Some older men, some younger, but most of them were around my age. All in all we probably had around 15 men standing in line.

Figuring that I had to start graduating to solid and richer food eventually, I tried my luck with some “normal” food. Things like scrambled eggs, cereal with milk, buttered toast, and an orange. Though it still felt like I was swallowing razor blades, I was able to get it all down, save the orange (which I took back to the unit to snack upon).

Also at breakfast, Mark introduced me to one of his friends on the unit, a mid-40’s man by the name of Jared. As it turns out, this was both a blessing and a curse. Mark was discharged later that day. So it was nice to know someone else on the unit. Unfortunatly, Jared thought he was more intelligent than he was. He would go on these long diatribes about totally nonsensical topics. Also, his favorite phrase was “Ya know”. He loved to pepper that into at least every other sentence. During one of his monologues I actually counted the number of times he used his favorite phrase. I originally was planning to count for 5 minutes, but abandoned the count once it reached 27 “You know”s inside of 2 minutes.

Yes, I grew to hate and fear Jared. If you couldn’t already tell from my tone, Jared was NOT there for detox. I’ll just leave that there for you to work out.

It was also during breakfast that I saw my first fight between patients. Well, not a full fight. It’s more properly thought of as two feral cats yelling at one another and puffing themselves up to scare away their opponent.

Apparently David (you’ll see that name often) had thrown a butter pat, and it had struck another patient on his forehead. That pissed the other one off, because he was quite visibly balding. I guess he thought David was making fun of his expanding forehead.

Let me first describe the participants. David is an early 20’s wirery male with crew cut hair. He probably stood 5’5″. He obviously worked out, as whenever he went shirtless (which was quite often), you couldn’t help but notice that he was “cut”. A whole lot of attitude. He is the stereotypical suburban white boy who thinks himself a “gangsta”.

Rick (Bald guy) was late 40’s to early 50’s with a goatee. He probably stood 6 foot something. He was a little heavier, but you couldn’t call him fat. Throughout my stay, I only ever saw him in the gown issued us at intake.

So, of course, Rick stands up and starts yelling. David follows suit. At that moment, a wave of nurses descended upon them. David is lead away and given his meals on the unit until the next day.

The next day David and Rick got into it again, so David was fed on the unit for the rest of my stay.

David acting up became a permanent fixture during my stay. Some of his more noteworthy performances included:

  • Running full tilt toward the locked doors and acting like he was gonna try to bust through, only to stop a second before he hit.
  • Claiming (quite loudly) that he couldn’t wait to get out and smoke some weed again.
  • Serenading us with renditions of his favorite gangster rap tunes, and some he made up on the spot.
  • Telling everyone that he smokes a thousand dollars a day of weed.
  • Alternating crying at the top of his lungs that he wants out RIGHT NOW, then angrily yelling that these f**kers better let him out now.
  • Pouring the kool-aid into the trash during our snack times.

Yes, with David around, my stay was very interesting.

After losing a couple patients right before Christmas, we also gained Carlos. He fancied himself a ladies man. He made it a point to flirt with almost every single female he ran across. This usually meant he was hitting on the nurses, but occasionally the female patients when we had combined activities. I will admit, it was amusing to see him in action.

On my second day at Lifestream, I saw a psychiatrist who prescribed me Celexa (20mg) and Remeron (15 mg). They made me very sleepy as my body adjusted to them. A lot of my remaining stay was spent sleeping.

The rest of my stay was pretty uneventful. I made it a point to be polite to the staff. I figured they had the power to extend my stay, and I didn’t want to piss them off. I was only supposed to be committed for 3 days, but due to the holidays, that was extended to 5. =/

On the day of my release, I promised myself I would never see the inside of that place again. Unfortunately, I was inside again 3 months later, but that’s another post.

Next post: Stephen understands… No. Stephen not understand, but Stephen do. Stephen good at doings, not understandings.

Listened to: The Four Seasons: Concerto No. 1 In E Major, RV 269, “Spring”: I. Allegro from the album “Antonio Vivaldi: The Four Seasons and Other String Favorites” by Bela Banfalvi, Budapest Strings, Karoly Botvay
x

(and confirms to friends and family that he’s a moron)

Wow. Has it really been a month since I updated my blog? I guess there’s a reason for that, I really didn’t know what to say for this part. I’m past most of the excitement of trying to kill myself and becoming violently ill. I’ve called EMS, spent hours in the Emergency Department, been admitted to the hospital, and wheeled up to my room.

But, I have to write something, so we can get to the excitement of… well, you’ll see in an update or two. ;)

(That’s called a teaser. hehehehe)

When we last left our idiot.. I mean “hero”, he was being watched by a sitter to make sure he didn’t try to harm himself again, and had drifted off to sleep thanks to modern pharmaceuticals.

I slept fitfully. Even with the sleeping pill, I still surfaced from time to time during the night. You must understand, a war was raging in my body. The caffeine wanted to keep me awake, the sleeping pill wanted to calm me. Add that to the fact that I was still processing my experience, and you’ll understand why I say I slept, but not peacefully.

I remember during the night that I was aware of my sitter watching Disney’s “The Santa Clause”. I must have incorporated that into my dream, because I was convinced that I should be in the red suit. I was also aware of being restrained. I’m guessing I must have rolled over and felt my IV tug on my arm or something, because my first conscious sensation during the night was of my hand balling into a fist, preparing to fight off whoever or whatever was restraining me.

Now, understand that this is very out of character for me. I’m not a fighter in the least. It was probably because of this very reason that I didn’t take a swing. My mind suddenly snapped into focus a half second before I threw the punch.

I sat bolt upright. This must have startled my sitter, because she asked if I was ok. I told her I thought so, just give me a minute.

You know how you sometimes wake up in a strange place and for a moment don’t know how you got there or why you are there? Imagine that going on for a minute or two. I had to clear my head, concentrate on taking even breaths, and work backward for my answers. “My name is Stephen. I’m in a hospital. I tried to kill myself. You are my sitter. You are here to help me.”

Yes, it was pretty rudimentary, but it’s what I needed at the time. I had scared myself with the punch I almost threw. I needed time to calm down and realize I wasn’t in any danger.

Eventually I laid back down and fell asleep.

I woke up in the morning during the shift change of my sitters. Each sitter has a 12 hour shift during which they make sure the patient doesn’t try to do anything stupid again. Even during the dead of night when I’m asleep, they can’t sleep. I imagine it must be pretty boring most of the time, but it’s a living. :)

She explained who I was and gave her notes on any special needs I might have. I greeted this new sitter and just kinda stayed in that happy state where you are in the process of waking up, where you doze for a couple of minutes, wake up again for a bit, then slip back asleep.

I finally woke up proper when they served breakfast. If I remember correctly, it was eggs, a slice of toast, turkey sausage, and coffee. Again with the coffee. Hadn’t someone explained to the kitchen what I had tried to do to myself? I nibbled on the toast, but was only able to choke down a bite and a half, then have to abandon it. My throat was still very raw from all my vomiting, but at least the swelling had gone down. It no longer felt like there was a golf-ball in my throat. I shunned the rest of the food. I wasn’t going to take a chance with anything richer than the toast. I was able to talk the nurse into some apple juice, which went down a little painfully, but at least stayed down.

I watched a little TV with my sitter, but mainly just stared at the opposite wall and thought. Thinking about life. Thinking about death. Wondering why I was still alive. Worrying if I had done permanent damage to myself. I seemed to be all there. All my toes and fingers wiggled. I could see from both eyes, both ears worked. I didn’t seem to have suffered any brain damage.

The view from my bed.

(The view from my hospital bed)

It almost didn’t seem fair. From what I took, and how long I waited to get help, there should be SOME kind of damage, shouldn’t there?

So I laid there in bed, wondering how (and why) the destroying angel had passed me by.

Around 10 AM my parents entered my room. This came as a shock, as they weren’t expected to return until the evening. I learned they had driving through the night to get to me. We discussed things briefly, having a talk on all my stresses and how we could get through them as a family. I told them I was sorry for doing this to them. All in all, a pretty emotional hour they were there.

One good thing that happened during their visit is we were finally able to get me on a clear liquids diet, which I had been requesting since I was admitted. I knew my digestive system was still very weak, and I needed to ease it back up to normal food.

Finally they left to get some sleep from their drive. Mom had brought me my phone and scriptures, so I guess they stopped by the house on their way to the hospital. It was nice to have something to do during the day. I read for a couple of hours, in between updating my friends on what had happened.

Most were very surprised. I had hidden my inner turmoil very well. That’s the problem with being an actor for so long. I had gotten very good at playing a role. =/ Up until that point, I was the happy-go-lucky, if slightly odd, Stephen. This was a new side that they hadn’t seen before.

It was at this point that the IV in my arm really began to bother me. It was actually quite painful. Paging the nurse, we discovered that my IV had what they call “invaded”. It basically meant that it had popped out of my vein and the IV fluids were actually going beneath the skin. It was removed, which ended the pain.

But, I still needed IV fluids, so they tried on the back of my hand. Nope. After a couple attempts there, they tried between my knuckles, nada. I was starting to feel like a pin cushion. One nurse gave up and called in another one. Tried the other hand, then knuckles, then the inside of my elbow. All in all I must have been stuck around 15 times. They still couldn’t hit a vein. I went through 3 nurses. They felt so bad for me. I took it in stride. I probably went about 3 hours without an IV.

Eventually they pulled in a specialist from the pediatric ICU. He examined all my different spots they had tried, then went with his backup. I figured he was gonna try an ankle or something, but nope. He was gonna try in a spot I never thought an IV could go.

Put your hand over your heart, palm against your chest. The part that’s facing the floor? That is where he put my IV. After hunting for the vein for a couple of seconds, he nailed it and I was once again hooked up to fluids.

Now, I know it’s unusual, but if you ever have to have an IV, ask they put it there. It doesn’t get in the way. I could put my arm above my head, roll over, etc. Since your arm doesn’t bend there, there’s virtually no way for the IV to move. I was one happy camper.

The next day I had an ultra sound of my heart done. My blood pressure and pulse were recorded every 3 hours or so. I remember during one of the nights I woke up to a nurse taking my pulse. I made some small talk with her, and she told me my pulse was still very elevated. She said while I was sleeping, my heart was beating like I was running a marathon.

Looking back on it, I guess they just wanted to make sure my heart wasn’t about to fail from the strain I had placed upon it.

I won’t bore you with further with details of my hospital stay, but I spent 4 days in the hospital, before they shuffled me off to Lifestream (a mental hospital).

Next Post: No one ever listens to poor Stephen, no, he’s quite mad they say. It is good that Stephen does not mind, has even grown to like it.

Listened to: Piano Sonata No.14 “Moonlight Sonata”: I. Adagio sostenuto from the album “99 Must-Have Chillout Classics” by Evelyne Dubourg

x

While I waited for the shift change to happen I just “cooled my heels” in the emergency room. Actually, this is more true than you would think. When I left the house all I had on was a thin pair of shorts, undershirt, and boxers. Nothing else.

In case anyone doubts it, I’ll state it here. This is NOT how you wish to be dressed when in the hospital. Hospitals are COLD. This is only exacerbated by the fact that they will have you remove your shirt in order to put the probes/sensors on your skin. I couldn’t put my shirt back on while I was hooked up, so I laid the paper-thin gown over my chest in hopes to try to retain a little body heat.

Somewhere along the line one of the nurses asked when the last time I had eaten. I informed them it had probably been about 36 hours since I ate. A turkey sandwich and sprite showed up a couple of minutes later. I was able to choke down around 3 bites. I’ve never really been a fan of turkey anyway, and this was just bread and turkey. Pretty dry. =/ I was very eager to get the sprite into my system though. It disappeared in short order.

Unfortunately, I started feeling queasy right away. Everything came up again within 5 minutes. I decided eating was over-rated. I laid back and closed my eyes. I was hoping to try to get a few moments of sleep, despite the poison coursing through my system at that moment. Fat chance. My IV was also starting to sting. I fiddled with it, but it was secured pretty well with a clear sticker-thing.

At around quarter to 6 I met my “sitter”. A very nice black woman, whose name escapes me at the moment I’m afraid. We discussed things briefly, just mainly to get past the initial awkwardness of “Hi, I’m here to watch you because you did something tremendously stupid, and the hospital can’t afford to risk you trying something again.”

Shortly thereafter I was wheeled up to my room, with my new best friend in tow. I’m not sure why, but the sensation of smoothly gliding through the hallways was oddly luxurious. Perhaps because it’s one of the few times I’ve traveled without being in control or using my own power. Perhaps it evokes a memory of being an infant in a stroller, safe and secure. *shrug*

A short elevator ride and some hallways later, and I was wheeled into my room. The nurses aid helped me transfer into the bed and.. uh-oh. I had a feeling of “messing myself”. Not fun. With a large amount of embarrassment, I explained what had happened. The nurse checked my rear and said she didn’t see anything. That was a relief.

They fitted me with a new gown, attached a wireless telemetry tracker to my sensors, and stuck it in pocket it was designed for. This pocket also happened to be smack dab in the middle of my chest. I was also fitted with a purple colored wrist band (more on that later). They then proceeded to try to make me comfortable. Ahhh, slipper-socks and two blankets. Wonderful!

My sitter asked if I wanted to watch TV. I wasn’t really in the mood, but didn’t mind if she wanted to watch something. I really wanted to reflect on the events of the past two days.

I felt tremendously stupid, which I guess was healthy. I couldn’t believe I was still alive. I realized there was no medical reason for me to still be drawing breath. I had taken enough caffeine powder to kill me several times over, yet I was alive, awake, and alert.

I had probably been laying there thinking for about 15-20 minutes when I received a surprise. My bishop and another member of my church had come to check on me. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the LDS leadership structure, the bishop can be most equated to a pastor in most other faiths. There is only one in charge of the local congregation.

How did he know I was in the hospital?? I remember the intake nurses asking if I had a religious affiliation, and I answered “LDS.. Mormon”. Perhaps they had contacted him? No, my mother had contacted him. Groan. While I knew I was going to have to talk to them about what had happened, I wasn’t expecting the wheels to move this quickly.

We exchanged small talk for a few minutes, then I asked for what we all knew I needed. “Would you mind giving me a blessing?” Once again, for those not of the LDS faith, holders of the priesthood are able to give blessings of comfort, of health, etc. They anointed my head with a few drops of consecrated oil and gave me a blessing. I still don’t remember what was said, but I remember that when they removed their hands from my head, my eyes were starting to tear up.

Before the Bishop left he asked if he had my permission to tell my parents about everything. At first I just wanted him to tell them about my chemical pneumonia, and I would talk to them about everything else. But after a couple of seconds I decided that I was tired of hiding things from my loved ones. Yeah, he could tell them everything.

Shortly after the Bishop left, I was served dinner. Salisbury steak, green beans, coffee, and pudding. Ugh. After my experience with the turkey sandwich, I knew this was the last thing I needed. My digestive system was in severe shock, and rich foods like this would just be asking for me to up-chuck again. I didn’t have any of it.

In the meantime, the nurses and doctors were visiting me. They put something in my IV to help with the nausea, as I was still spitting up bile from time to time. I watched a little TV, but mainly I was replaying the previous day in my head. I was feeling tremendously lucky to be alive. No, I decided, I wasn’t lucky. I was blessed.

You have to understand, I pride myself on being analytical. I like it when the peg fits in the hole. Everything must line up, nice and neat. This was none of those things. I SHOULD be dead. By all that’s right, I should have been a corpse.

Please understand, I’m not one to throw around a term like “miracle” lightly. But this was an honest to God, according to Hoyle Miracle. To quote Quentin Tarantino “God came down from heaven and stopped these motherfucking bullets.” I shot one hell of a bullet at myself, and I lived beyond.

These thoughts would probably have kept bouncing around in my head and kept me awake, but thankfully a nurse came in and asked if I’d like something to help me sleep. A wonderful idea. I gladly swallowed the pill she gave me. A short time later sweet merciful sleep took me.

Next Post: Stephen starts to heal and confirms to friends and family that he’s a moron.

x

Even after all I had been through, the thought of calling 9-1-1 scared me. Did I really need it?

I must have sat there in the kitchen for 10 minutes. Pick up the phone, dial 9-1-….. chicken out and hang up. Repeat a couple of times. I texted a friend and my parents “Very sick. Calling 911.” Finally I summoned my courage and dialed the third digit.

I had always thought that when someone called 9-1-1 that an operator was right there. Either I picked a bad day to call, or the reality was not what the TV makes it out to be. It must have rang 4-5 times before someone answered. I didn’t even hear what they said, either it was muffled or my hearing was going. I heard them stop talking and I gasped out (was that really my voice???) “I’m.. very.. sick. Need help…. passed out….”

The operator’s voice came into focus and I was able to confirm where I lived. They said help was on the way and told me to call back if anything changes. I hung up.

I was able to stumble to my room and grab my keys. By the time I got back to the kitchen I was able to see the ambulance and fire truck pulling up outside the house. I shuffled out the front door and locked it, then gingerly walked to the driveway before I collapsed/sat down, just in time to see the police cruiser pull up.

In total, I think it took 2 minutes from the time I hung up to when help arrived. Thumbs up for Lake County EMS. :)

The medical personnel were on me in a flash, taking blood pressure, pulse, respiration, etc. I think they were just viewing it initially as a bad case of food poisoning. Until I was able to gasp out “I… tried… to commit… suicide.. yesterday”. That got their attention very quickly. Before I knew it, I had an oxygen mask on my face and I was being helped on to a gurney. They loaded me into the back of the ambulance, got my information, stuck an IV into my arm, and we were off.

I remember during the trip the head medic kept telling me to slow my breathing down. I was trying, but it was hard to breath. All my vomiting in the past 24 hours had inflamed my throat and put a rather large lump in it, so I was gulping oxygen. Every couple of minutes he would caution me that my respiration was climbing again, and if I didn’t calm down, he would have to put a tube down my throat. It got so bad, I was THIS close to telling him to hell with it and tube me.

We arrived at the hospital and I was unloaded and wheeled into the emergency room. The ambulance crew helped me transfer on to a hospital gurney, told me to take better care of myself, and then set out for their next call.

I was left there in the hallway of the emergency room for what felt like hours, but probably was only 30-45 minutes. I wondered about the wisdom of leaving an admitted suicide risk unattended, but figured I was being monitored in some way I was unaware of. All I could do was lay there and beat myself up mentally. I felt so stupid.

I guess the emergency room crew was waiting for a bay to open up, because after 30-45 minutes I was then wheeled into a curtained partition in the emergency room proper. They once again took my information, gave me a hospital bracelet, and stuck the electrodes on my chest, belly, and left ankle. I was hooked up to a machine to monitor my heart, a pulse-oxygen meter, and was given oxygen via my nose.

For those of you who have never been on oxygen before, let me tell you something. The kind at the hospital STINGS! It’s not what’s in it, but what isn’t. It’s totally dry, which in turn dries your nostrils out, which then stings. So I thus began my game of have the oxygen on until I couldn’t bear the feeling of pins being shoved into it, take off the oxygen and breathe normally. When the nurse would come in she would see I’m not on oxygen, and “help” me put it back on. Rinse, lather, repeat.

I will admit, with some misplaced pride, that I probably confused the emergency room. Caffeine poisoning is not something you run across everyday. I imagine they were consulting the oracle of Google on what exactly the proper treatment would be in my case. They couldn’t pump my stomach, because too much time had passed, it wasn’t in my stomach anymore.

In the mean time, they kept pumping IV fluids into me. They needed a urine sample, but my body was so out of whack that I had absolutely no feeling of needing to “go”. After two IV bags went in, they gave me an ultimatum. I needed to provide a urine sample very soon, or they would “cath” me.

So I was left in bed with a urinal and I kept whipping out my dick, willing it to squeeze out a couple of ounces of pee. Nothing. I briefly considered refusing and signing out AMA (Against Medical Advice) to avoid being cath’ed. =/

I thought I had gotten a reprieve when the radiologist came and wheeled me in for a chest x-ray. Chest x-ray for a poisoning? I figured the hospital was just being safe. Either that or they were padding the bill. But, it bought me some extra time to try to produce urine. My chest was x-rayed from the side and back, then I was helped back into bed and wheeled back to my curtained off “room”.

The nurse was waiting for me. She gave me one more chance to naturally produce a sample. Alas, my bladder did not want to coöperate. She decided to go in for it.

Now, I’m going to state it here and now. Having a strange woman handling your junk is scary enough. If that same woman wants to then shove a tube into it? Yeah, my heart was really racing at that point, and not just from the caffeine.

She tried to numb me up, I know she did, but there is absolutely no amount of topical Novocaine that will dull this feeling. The best way to describe it is to imagine a baseball bat being shoved into your pee-hole. You feel it the entire length up. It HURTS. It’s a whole new type of pain. There is no way to adequately describe it, you have to experience it. But I’m praying none of you will. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

Then I have to wait, enduring the pain while they tap my bladder and drain it. Ugh.

Finally they tapped the keg for as much as it would hold. I’d love to tell you all was roses then, but it hurts ALMOST as much coming out as going in.

Afterward the doctor came in and told me that I had a chemical pneumonia, and they were admitting me. This came as a surprise, as I was thinking they were just going to shuffle me off to the loony bin and be done with me. But I wasn’t one to argue, else they find another hole to shove a catheter up. =/

They were just waiting for shift change to bring me up to my room, because I required a nanny to watch me and make sure I didn’t hurt myself again.

Next Post: I’m either in Medlab, or in Hell. Either way, the decor needs work.

x

(My memory of this night is spotty, but I’ll try to describe it as best I can)

I probably slept for an hour, at most. It took that long for my body to climb the hill for the roller coaster ride that would be the next 24 hours.

When I awoke, I discovered that nausea had come to sit by my bedside. Time to run to the bathroom!

I painfully discovered something they don’t tell you often. Excessive caffeine is a laxative. For those of you not in the know, I will tell you that there is nothing that will humble you as fast as crapping your pants while you vomit. =/

After cleaning myself up and changing shorts, I decided maybe I shouldn’t be quite that far from the toilet for the time being. I sat on my porcelain throne while waiting for the next wave to hit. It didn’t take long. I grabbed the trash can and heaved into it.

I must have sat there for a good 30 minutes, alternating expelling into the toilet and into the trash can. Finally I felt well enough to depart from my little kingdom to head back to bed.

I wasn’t able to fall asleep, and soon enough my stomach started to rumble. I ran to the bathroom where I emptied my stomach into the sink. Thankfully the diarrhea had stopped. I cleaned up again and headed back to my bedroom.

Around 6pm I also started having uncontrollable twitches. Some of them were pretty violent. I’ve never been prone to seizures, but that’s the only term I can find to describe them. They were violent enough to me to completely strip my fitted sheet and mattress pad off the bed. For most of the night I tried to sleep on a bare mattress. Tried to sleep is the key term.

Obviously I didn’t time every time I vomited, but it felt like I would be heaving about every 20-30 minutes. For almost the entire night. It didn’t matter how much I threw up, my body kept finding more liquid to expel. Around 10pm (12 hours after taking my death drink), my brain started to click into gear that, between the earlier diarrhea and this upchucking , I was rapidly losing liquids. I then decided that after every time I vomited I would cup my hand and take handfuls of water from the tap.

It’s also around that time that I developed a new symptom, thick brown streaks started appearing in my vomit. Now, I’m not a doctor, but I know a little of anatomy. The fact that it was brown concerned me. If it was red, I could have just said it was in my throat. However, brown or black usually indicates digested or partially digested blood. I’ve since learned that I had developed Mallory-Weiss syndrome.

Around 2am, after an especially violent retching, became overheated and tried to sleep on the cool tile of the bathroom. It didn’t work. I still twitched and couldn’t fall asleep. I figured if I was going to be awake, I might as well be in my bed.

Around this time I started abandoning the handfuls of water for a glass which I could get more liquid into. Cold water with ice was wonderfully refreshing.

Around 4am the twitching finally stopped. I tried to fall asleep, but was still unable to. Around 6am the vomiting also ceased. I viewed this as a blessing. Maybe I was over the worst of it?

I slowly watched the darkness ebb from my window. I decided that I would wait until 8am to get up, trying to save my strength. The morning couldn’t come fast enough. Gradually it became lighter outside, and still I waited for the clock to strike 8am.

Finally the appointed hour arrived. I got up, and then collapsed back into bed. All my strength had left me. I figured I’d try again in 30 minutes. The scene was repeated at 8:30, then 9am.

Eventually I willed myself out of bed to feed the cats. There was no reason for them to suffer for my stupidity.

Feeding the cats was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. For someone who’s totally spent, even popping the top to a can of cat food is a challenge. Couple that with having to then bend down to place the bowl on the floor? My head was already swimming, and I almost crashed into the cabinet during that maneuver.

While I sat and watched the cats eat, I considered maybe 9-1-1 might be in order, but I was still too brave. I realized I hadn’t had anything to eat in over 24 hours. Along with all the vomiting, I figured my electrolytes had to be out of whack. I stumbled to the pantry, looking for something simple, like chicken noodle soup. Nothing. Lots of creamy soups, but I knew that dairy was the last thing I needed in my state.

I eventually chose a stack of crackers, figuring they were gentle enough and the salt would do me good. I put one in my mouth and started to chew. It’s then that I realized I wasn’t producing any saliva. This was bad. Taking a drink of water was enough to soften the cracker to get it down. It still hurt like a bitch going down though.

I picked up the phone and started to dial. 9-1…. no, I could get through this. I just needed to be gentle. My body could recover. I hung up and went to the bathroom.

I don’t remember what happened there. I lost about half an hour, I just remember the next time I was aware of anything, the clock read shortly before 10am.

Ok, this wasn’t good. Did I just pass out??? It was this event that just put the cap on the entire episode. I knew I wasn’t going to get any better by myself.

I stumbled to the kitchen, trying to get to the phone in time.

Next Post: Stephen reaches out for help.

x

So I had the caffeine powder. My parents were going out-of-town to attend my nephew’s college graduation, than to deal with a medical problem with my grandfather (my brother-in-law also got sick during this time).

I provided a list of what food I would like the house stocked with, knowing I would only get through half of it at most before my end. I know it’s strange to think of these small things, but I needed to keep up appearances.

The morning of their departure I was very nervous. I didn’t want to give off any clue of what I was planning. I knew that if they suspected anything amiss, it would cause them to delay or cancel their trip. I tried to play everything down, but I was deathly (HA!) afraid I would betray my intent. Finally the van was packed, I gave them each a hug, and watched them drive away. A heavy weight came upon me when I thought I was seeing them for the last time.

Once they were safely away, I started putting my plan into action. I got my caffeine powder out and put it into another plastic container. I had heard it was really bitter stuff, but I needed to find out exactly how bitter we were talking about. I licked the tip of my pinky and put it into the powder, then touched it to my tongue.

YOWZERS! For those of you not in the know, caffeine is THE standard by which bitterness is measured. Incredibly vile and bitter stuff. I realized my original idea of just mixing it into a glass of tap water would be impossible. I would have to find a way to make it more palatable. I headed out to the grocery store.

My mission was to find a liquid sweet enough to mask the pure bitterness of the caffeine powder. I eventually settled on either Naked juice “Green Machine” or POM Pomegranate-Cherry juice. I bought both and considered. The caffeine powder would probably not mix totally, so I figured if it was placed in the Pomegranate juice it would just settle at the bottom. Naked juice was thicker, so it wouldn’t settle out. It was decided to be the vehicle for my overdose.

I didn’t mix up the concoction right away. I went to my computer and started writing my note. The “limitless options” password post? Yeah, guess what that is? (I considered deleting it, but it gives me a good glimpse back to how hopeless I felt at the time. It helps keep me on the path.)

It took two days to write the note. I went through so many revisions it’s crazy. I was hoping to get just the right feeling in it. Comforting those I left behind, while at the same time accusing those I felt were forcing me to take this choice of action. I’m nothing if not melodramatic. ;)

Finally it was done. I saved it to the blog and post-dated it to go live the following Monday. Then went to the kitchen to mix up my death drink. The recommended maximum daily dose for a man of my size and weight was 1/20th of a teaspoon. I measured out 4 tablespoons and shook the bottle to mix. I then stuck it back in the fridge and went about my normal routine of playing World of Warcraft.

Can you see the dichotomy here? I was going out of my way to not give off ANY indication of what I was planning.

I set my clock early for the following day, I needed a little extra time than normal. I showered, shaved, and dressed. The only exception was that I wrote “DNR” (which stands for “Do Not Resuscitate”) on each breast and on my belly. I didn’t want any heroic means taken to bring me back from where I was going.

I grabbed the bottle and headed to church.

Yes, church. My plan was to drink the stuff on the way to church, sit in the back of the congregation, pass out, and die. This way someone would assume I had fallen asleep, come up me to tell me it’s time for the next meeting, find themselves unable to wake me, at which point the alarm would be raised. Coupled with my “DNR”, even if they got me to a hospital in time, the doctors would be afraid to take any action to bring me back, for fear of legal liability.

So I got halfway to church when I took my first sip. BLEH! It was still putrid! No more of that stuff while I was driving!

Once I got to church I went into a restroom, held my nose, and chugged several gulps. Not the entire bottle, but a good three-quarters of it. I realized at this moment the die was cast. I rinsed out the bottle (to avoid them knowing what I took) and took my seat at the back of the chapel.

It hit me like a Mac truck very quickly. Within 5-10 minutes I developed tunnel-vision. No nausea, but I was definitely feeling funny. I quickly realized this wasn’t what the internet had promised me. I ran to the bathroom to stick my fingers down my throat.

Nothing would come up. Maybe a little spittle, but my body was holding tight to the poison. I started to rationalize that since I didn’t take ALL of what I intended, maybe I could just ride it through. I grabbed my keys and headed out. One member asked “We losing you Steve?”. If they only knew. All I could reply was “Yeah, I’m not feeling well.”

Understatement of the year.

Driving home was probably the worst thing I could have done. By this time my head was swimming and I was getting very sleepy. The killer thing is that I passed by a hospital on my way home. If I had only turned in, I would have saved myself a fate worse than death. But I was trying to be brave, and I REALLY didn’t want my stomach pumped.

By a miracle I made it home safely, and even parked the car in the garage straight. I had enough strength to log into my blog and set the suicide note to not go live.

After that, I collapsed on to my bed. I was hoping that once I was home I could just “sleep it off”.

Ugh, if I only knew what fate had in store for me. =/

Next Post: The Very Long Night of Stephen.