So this week is a classically hard one for me as Mother’s Day loomed up and needed to be dealt with. I say this because it was on Mother’s Day three years ago that Paul couldn’t get his steak down and his mum and I told him he was going to the doctor if we had to drag him there unconscious.
I also found out that a brilliant friend of mine, with whom I bonded over edtech and depression, had succumbed to the burden that state involves and decided lights out was the right option. In doing so she put out a light for the many people she’s touched in her life.
It hit me hard. Not because she was part of my daily life. But because she and I had talked about moments like that – where it all becomes too much. Because she had angelic eyes that glowed with intelligence, kindness and passion. Because she was brilliant and the world needs brilliance. Because she had a loving relationship and her husband is incalculably hurt by her act and loss – more than I could ever imagine. Because I’ve tried and failed to do what she did. Twice. Once, just a few months ago.
My attempt wasn’t planned. I was at an extremely low ebb. I was ill. My renter was moving out with little notice. My mother had had heart attacks. My dad is dying by degrees thanks to fucking cigarettes. My sister is dealing with the first year of being a widow. I was being pathetic and sending messages to a man who doesn’t care about me the way I wanted him to.
I was sitting there alone, as usual, having a glass of red that turned into three or four. I then took a painkiller with codeine. Then two. I wasn’t numb enough dammit. I was still afraid. Two pills turned into four pills. Then six. Then eight. Then, I don’t remember except I posted on a social media site that I was sick of trying. Then I deleted said post. Looked around for more pills. Just when I was getting up to get some more – someone knocked on my door.
It was the police with an ambulance. They said someone had called because of my social media post and that they were concerned. (I think it was Lis – happy Mother’s Day Lis)… They asked what I’d taken. I told them but I wasn’t sure how many. I pointed to the empty bottle of wine. They asked if they could look at my phone. I said no. They tried anyway. Somewhere in there a friend called me. He’s my next of kin on most documents. The police took the phone and I had to go. They said they’d call him back. They didn’t apparently nor did they release any info to him despite the fact I told them he was my only next of kin. I objected – saying I couldn’t afford the ambulance. They assured me I wouldn’t be billed because I wasn’t going of my own volition.
I ended up lying in the back of an ambulance in front of the brand new, much lauded, Royal Adelaide Hospital for hours. Then, they put me in an emergency room bed in a room with a glass door. They pointed to a cranky young man sitting outside my room and said he’d be watching me. Then they left.
I was alone for a few hours in a room with no tv, no magazines with a glass wall where an increasingly cranky young man was flirting with orderlies, playing on his phone and bitching about the fact he was missing his break. I was stoned from codeine and drunk from the wine I’d consumed.
Someone put in an IV because I seemed dehydrated. (I’d had dysentery for days which, it turns out, was a C diff infection due to being put on antibiotics for my abscesses in my mouth.)
A doctor came in at some point and told me I had not sustained any long term damage. She then told me Panadol with codeine was a lousy choice for suicide as it taking too many could cause long term side effects.
Before I could go, I had to talk to the ER shrink to make sure I was sane enough to go home. A few hours later, the shrink showed up. By then, I had been stared at and listening to a cranky young man bitch about his break, having to sit with on me and his life sucking in general for 6 hours.
The shrink talked to me for 10 minutes and he must be the best shrink ever, because in those 10 minutes he:
- passed judgement on my counselor’s methodology
- told me I needed to get out more
- said I was sane and okay to go home
Keep in mind that I was still stoned from having ingested so much codeine combined with alcohol.
My cranky, young watcher was dismissed and he gratefully scarpered off without speaking or looking at me again.
I went to the toilet.
Before I was allowed to leave, I was given a sandwich because something about my blood tests. I could comprehend nothing. I was operating on no sleep and was groggy from the Codeine/Tempranillo cocktails.
Then, I got my release papers from a tired looking little woman. I couldn’t find my glasses. She shrugged.
As she walked me out of the ER she asked if someone was going to pick me up. I said nope. She asked how I was going to get home. I said I didn’t know, maybe Uber. She gave not a shit and I was in the entry/exit area of ER. It was all so clean and new. Like a movie set. The cold white light bounced off of white surfaces. The person behind the desk was tired but friendly looking. There was an older woman with her middle aged son. The older woman approached the desk asking when they would get tended to.
I was still in a haze from the drugs and the alcohol and didn’t have my glasses that I knew of. The mental health services of the Royal Adelaide Hospital had deemed me sane enough to be getting on with my life. As the automatic glass doors opened at my approach, I felt flushed out of an uncaring system. Just another turd of humanity deemed treatment-less.
I stood there, my vision blurry from lack of spectacles and sleep and too much codeine and alcohol, in the dark, empty parking lot of the brand new, multi-million dollar healthcare and project management wonder that is the Royal Adelaide Hospital and have never felt so bereft, alone and uncared for in my life. I looked around for something that could end this feeling. There was nothing. I got a sense of what homeless people must feel like. Too much trouble. Better to ignore than advise. I marveled that a clearly out of it person who had just attempted what I had would be sent home alone. But I was, quite without caring or concern.
I called the Uber and went home. What happened next was a week or so of extreme illness due to the Cdiff infection and caring care from friends before I had to take up my life again.
So this week I mourn Janet AND Paul. I am both afraid and relieved about my own situation.
I did the selfish thing and called my 79-year-old mother. She and I talk every week – Saturdays usually. Our sessions can last hours. I plug in my headset, slide the phone in what is supposed to be a water bottle holder and get my housework done.
We talk about reading, philosophy, our lives, politics, tv shows and today – merkins. I was still in my pjs at 2pm today, with nothing between me and the world but a $5 Target nightie with an abysmally perky saying on it. I was hosing out the cat tray and stinking of cat piss when I laughed and told mom that if I fell right now, I could end up on my back with my big 70’s bush displayed to the world.
That led us on to a discussion of pubic hair fashion and I mentioned the wonderful Chelsea Handler and her bit on how she’d spent a small fortune nuking her pubes and now 70’s bush was coming back in fashion (I have a wonderful copy of Joy of Sex from the late 70’s that features this and it’s awesome sauce)!
I told mom about merkins and she was in stitches. She’d never heard of them.
If you haven’t either, here’s a video (you’re welcome):