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My Overdose - Second Journal Entry

Jul 04, 2010 - 0 comments

I have been clean 30 days today and am so happy to be here and alive.

I had a few people write to me after I wrote "I Overdosed 26 Days Ago" asking me to share more of my story, which I will gladly do now.  It might get kind of long (again), so if you reach the end and aren't snoring, thank you so much for taking the time to read my post.

Here's a brief overview of what happened to me.  I had a nasty Norco habit (upwards of 17 10/325 mg pills/day) that lasted about 2 1/2 years and had unwisely tried to kick it cold turkey the first week of June, and was really, really sick from doing so, so after obtaining some liquid morphine (from my gastroenterologist for my Crohn's Disease) and Ativan (I'd suffered two back-to-back deaths in my family in May, hence the Ativan - for sleeplessness) - I accidentally overdosed on the two medications on June 4th.

Thank God for mother's and their "sixth senses."  My mother had been scheduled to be out of town on June 5, but something spooked her about me, and in the early morning hours of June 5, she started calling and texting me, but not getting any responses.  She then contacted my sister, who had to work that day; she, too, started calling and texting me, but same thing - no replies.  Around 11 a.m., my mother decided to come over to my apartment to check on me (very unusual for me not to answer her).  She said she heard the TV, so she knocked - no answer.  She said she thought maybe I was in the shower.  She said she knocked again, but still no answer, so she went to get my apartment manager - she figured I'd mad as hell once they got inside, but was willing to take that chance and put her mind at rest.  Well, when she and the apartment manager got to my door, they gave one last "courtesy" knock and then they unlocked the door to find me lying on the floor, on my back, foaming at the mouth, my face purple and barely breathing; I'd vomited while I was unconscious.  Immediately, my mother called 911, and the manager turned me over onto my side.  After the paramedics and police arrived, the situation was quickly taken stock of, and the paramedics immediately administered CPR (I'd stopped breathing at this point, so the story goes).  The paramedics had to intubate me, and once I started breathing again, was given Narcan to counteract the drugs in my system - no one was really sure how long I'd been unconscious, if I'd suffered brain damage, or even possibly lung tissue damage because of the vomiting - I'd aspirated the contents.  As the story goes, I was taken to the nearest emergency room and kept in ICU into the next day - I remember nothing of this day (it was Saturday).

On Sunday (which I have no recollection of, either), I was transferred to a different hospital because of my health care plan/provider, and again was placed in ICU.  The next day, Monday, I finally woke up, feeling like I'd been hit by a truck, and not being able to breathe - it was like being under water, drowning.  I had an NG tube and was catheterized.  I remember pulling at the NG tube, wanting it out NOW, and a nurse calmly removing it, while another one removed the catheter, but I was so scared.  My blood pressure was 200/107, and I still couldn't breathe.  I had become very agitated and felt beyond sick.  With some help and patience and 2 2 mg shots of morphine, things finally, finally started to calm down.  How I got in the hospital was explained to me, along with the fact that I'd developed pneumonia in both lungs due to the aspiration.  I was so sick, I couldn't even begin to comprehend what it was I'd done - to myself, to my 16-year-old daughter, to my mother and sister, to my boyfriend of 10 years, my friends, my colleagues, my coworkers.

That Monday afternoon, my condition stabilized enough so I could be transferred out of ICU, onto what I thought was a regular floor (not even close).  I spent the next 4 days and 3 nights in this room, never left by myself.  I always had a "sitter."  I thought this was the norm - I thought, well, that's kind of cool to always have someone giving me their undivided attention in a private room - you know, to help out the nurses who were always so busy.  Boy, was I wrong.  The floor I was on was a psych floor.  I didn't find that out until after I'd gotten home.  Anyway, for those 4 days and 3 nights, I was constantly having chest x-rays, blood drawn, vitals taken, medication dispensed and getting breathing treatments, in addition to speaking with this or that psychiatrist, internal medicine doctor and various LCSWs.  It was explained to me that when the paramedics revived me enough for me to answer their questions (of which, again, I have no recollection), that when they asked me if I meant to harm myself, I said yes.  As I said in "I Overdosed 26 Days Ago," I did not intend to harm myself; it was a tragic accident - I still think I thought my tolerance level was so high at that point that I could handle whatever I put into my body - I was so wrong.  So, by saying I meant to hurt myself made me an immediate candidate for a "5150" hold.  I wasn't going to go home when I was released from the hospital - I was going into a psych facility for a mandatory 72-hour hold.

That's it for now - the next post will be about the psych facility, a place no one should ever, EVER have to go - not just because it's a "psych facility," but because of what happened, or more importantly, what DIDN'T happen in there.

Thanks again SO MUCH for taking the time to read - as painful as it is for me to write about my experience, it's necessary for me to do so.

Karen  <3

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