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September 28, 2005

Reality 101

I was asked recently what the 'trigger' was that made me finally start dealing with the issues in my life as opposed to just burying them, and washing them down with drugs and alcohol.
I thought about this for a good long time. There were many 'triggers' along the way, but without a doubt, the most sobering event was my Dad.


In November of 1986, Dad was at work, on a usual, routine call, when he collapsed.
He was rushed to the hospital where they found out that he was running a dangerously high temperature and not very responsive. They immediately did a full cardiac work up on him, but it wasn't his heart. They did CAT scans, MRI's, and all sorts of tests. Nothing. When his blood work came back, it showed that he had a serious infection that was on the verge of going systemic. Very bad just got worse. If his infection went systemic, he would, in all likelihood die.
He was started on some high potency antibiotics to start fighting the infection as the doctors worked to locate the source of the infection. 48 hours later, Dad wasn't responding to the antibiotics the way they wanted him to, and the infection was still spreading. The doctors did find out that he had a closed staph infection caused by athletes foot. It was a secondary infection that occured because the primary infection (athletes foot) had NOT been treated properly.
You would think that my Dad, who is a paramedic, would know better than to let an infection go untreated, right?
Anywho, they kept trying different antibiotics, different combination of antibiotcs, you name it, they threw everything they could think of at this damn parasite! Nothing.
By this time, his lower left leg was so swollen it was at least double in size, if not more.
It was also the darket, meanest red I have ever seen, and HOT!
The doctors finally found the combination of antibiotics and drugs to fight the infection when we were told that in all likelihood, even if he recovered from the infection, his leg would have to be amputated. At the time, they figured that too much vascular damage had been done to the blood vessels, nerves, arteries, etc. It wouldn't be till many months later that they found out that his leg did have much damage, but it didn't need to be amputated.
For the first month, it was a real back and forth struggle to get the infection under control.
He spent Christmas in the hospital, and sometime in February he was released.
During this time, I was 18, working, attending classes (sometimes), and living pretty carefree at home, partying whenever. The idea that I might lose my Dad was too much for me to handle. Something inside of me snapped, and the flood dam of emotions came gushing forth.
I quit my job, and spent the next 6 months trying to sort through all the shit that had been piling up inside me for years. I would literally spend days crying. I holed up in the house and didn't really see anyone. I needed to get my head right. My life was a shambles. I went to one therapist, he told me I was suffering from penis envy, and what I really wanted to be was a man. WTF?????? I don't think so.
Went to another one, she told me that all my problems stemmed from my drinking. No bitch, I started drinking to escape my PROBLEMS! Dont any of these so-called professionals listen????
Finally, I was referred to this woman, Kim, and SHE was able to help me sort through and face my problems. She listened to me, she didn't judge me, and more important, she never tried to label me. She just took each new issue and we dealt with it. In the end, I was able to see a true and honest picture of myself. It was the first time in about 10 years that I was able to do that. Can't say I much like what I saw either. I was a dried up, burnt out shell. I didn't even know if Tina even existed anymore. My family was still a mess, but I was now able to see things more clearly, and more importantly, I was finally on the path to getting my life back, and finding out who I was.
It would be nice to say I became clean & sober too, but I didn't.
I was just more honest about my reasons for doing them.

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