Tired of pretending: Part One

Thursday, July 22, 2021 (when I started this entry): It’s been one of those weeks. The past 30 hours feels like 30 days…

Per usual, I have thought a lot about writing blog entries over the past couple months. I’ve even started a few. But they sit in the queue, unfinished.

I’ve written before about how I have 10 total brothers and sisters, but I only have one full-blood sibling. Only one sibling that has been with me through thick and thin and back and forth between our parents houses until I graduated high school. One sibling who knows pretty much everything about me, and vice versa. Our roles were set when I was six years old. I am the older sister. I am the grounded one. I am the caretaker. My sister has always been mentally fragile.

Things were going pretty well, until they weren’t. People living with personality disorders, either their own, or a loved one’s, can probably relate. Medications can work, until they don’t. Therapy can work, until it doesn’t. Life seems manageable, until it isn’t.

I’m sitting here with a pile of empty prescription bottles. Prescription, as in legally prescribed to my sister by her internist. And all prescribed and filled within the past two weeks. Empty. My sister has had this same doctor for many years now. We found out she doesn’t go to a psychiatrist or psychologist anymore, and apparently that’s okay with this doctor. Apparently this doctor can do it all, and her way of doing it is to prescribe my sister tramadol, lorazepam, zolpidem, and oxycodone, all at the same time. The doctor doesn’t have permission to talk to me. Until last week, I hadn’t ever spoken with her.

On Saturday, July 10, my sister took a near fatal dose of benzodiazepines and opioids. She was unresponsive. Her partner (a veteran 15 years her senior, and 10 years older than me) has issues of his own. Two Saturdays ago, he wheeled my sister into a local emergency room, and left her there. By this point she was responsive, but incoherent. A couple hours later, no purse, no phone, no wallet, no keys, she showed up at their apartment, furious, and violent.

She had left the hospital against doctors wishes, and convinced some innocent bystander to take her home. She’s very persuasive when she wants to be. The partner called our Dad, who was at his wits end having been dealing with these two for a couple weeks prior.

Sometimes my sister does this. She seriously abuses prescription meds and then her partner experiences his own psychotic breaks. He’s supposed to take his own meds, but he rarely does. A few weeks ago he was wandering the streets close to their apartment, bloodied and crying, after my sister had thrown him out. My dad picked him up. He had convinced himself that mean tattooed hoodlums were chasing him down the street. He lost a sandal, fell, cracked his head open requiring stitches. They kept him at the VA hospital for “psychological evaluation,” but let him go the next day. Of course they did.

So back to two Saturdays ago. When my sister showed up at the apartment, the partner called our dad, and our dad called us. We decided something must be done immediately and Blue Eyes and my dad went about researching local resources. At the same time they both came across a crisis center, and they both called and were talking to different staff, unbeknownst to each other. They were both encouraged to bring her in. My dad called the partner and gave him the address and asked him to get her to the crisis center asap. Blue Eyes agreed to meet them there, and good thing he did because once again, my sister’s partner dumped her at the curb and drove off. But this time, Blue Eyes was waiting and he got my sister securely checked in. Blue Eyes ended up with some control over the situation as my sister faded in and out of consciousness and when she did speak, it was gibberish.

Blue Eyes now understands my sister much better. Although Blues Eyes was a secret and high functioning addict, he knows how it feels to want to check out for a while using a drug of choice… his, clandestine sexual encounters, hers, gobs of prescription benzos and opioids. I would have gone with him, but The Peacemaker and I were knee deep in mud and weeds in the garden and Blue Eyes was ready to go. That’s where I go to check out, my garden where my companions are butterflies and hummingbirds and glorious dahlia blossoms.

Blue Eyes waited in a sterile room at the crisis center for information on my sister. Turns out, their immediate assessment was that her blood pressure and pulse were dangerously low. She would need to go by ambulance to the nearest emergency room to be stabilized before they could begin her evaluation and detox. They told Blue Eyes that because she had left the emergency room earlier that day, against the wishes of the ER doc, that they were going to put her on an involuntary hold so she wouldn’t be leaving the hospital or the crisis center that day.

Blue Eyes came home confident that my sister would not be able to check herself out of the hospital this time. I wasn’t quite so sure. Our system is broken and she has walked out of hospitals, barefoot, many times before.

To be continued…

Sent from my iPhone

11 thoughts on “Tired of pretending: Part One

  1. Thinking about you. None of this is easy. I live with someone who now has mental illness, technically, though it’s been managed pretty well since the serious breakdown in 2016. He’s not on any of those controlled drugs at all. Take care, Kat. Wrapping you up in some love and hugs. Grateful Blue Eyes could help. 😘

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi SW! Nice to hear from you! I hope life is treating you well! The doc isn’t even a therapist, just a general practitioner, and yes, a fool! I’m gathering the energy to write the next installment. It takes a lot out of me. The verdict is still out, but my sister is in a safer place right now. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That internist has a lot to answer for…
    I really hop that your sister stays at the hospital and gets the help she needs. Then manages the detox. But I know that’s easily said and not so easily done.
    Take care.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Kat I am going to take a different approach.

    You are not responsible for her.

    I have felt responsible for my brother his entire life, since I was only 3 and a half. I can’t begin to describe how much emotional pain this has caused me over the years. But I have finally let it go. He is (shockingly) an anti-vax conspiracy theorist and I actually kind of understand why. Covid has hurt his chiropractic business significantly and he is just bitter. But for some reason, as I have seethed over his selfishness regarding this issue, I have finally come to see and accept that I am not resposible for him (he is 56, married, and has 4 kids, youngest is 17). It is such a relief to have let go of a lifelong burden that I recognize has been self-imposed; I have detached.

    I have checked in here regularly to see if you’ve posted, and have wondered about how the summer has been going there for you with the crazy heat. Happy to see you here but of course wish it was not about pain. I am sure you are suffering like I am with the inability to travel. A few weeks ago I canceled a trip to Israel for October and rebooked to France. Highly doubtful I will actually be able to go. I am now thinking about Plan “C”, probably some shitty domestic trip.

    Take care of your own well-being Kat ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know I’m not responsible for her, much therapy has convinced me of this, however, I am equipped to help, and I will. I’m once again learning to keep my emotions in check, but it has been difficult over the past three weeks or so. There’s more to the story, I just haven’t had the energy to write it out, but I need to. It’s part of my healing process.

      My sister isn’t high functioning. She’s been on disability and state health plan for about 20 years. She can’t really afford to live that way, my parents subsidize her. But they are at a point where that’s not as practical anymore. My 77 year old mom has early onset dementia and that’s taking a toll on my step dad. Less stress is crucial, for all of us. We are setting boundaries and conditions.

      The heat here has been brutal. Those days of 110+ were unreal. The garden took a bit of a hit, but not bad. My dahlias have all come back and are spectacular. We planted tomatoes, hot peppers, cucumbers, herbs, and winter squash, which are all loving the heat. We’re heading into another heat wave, 90’s-100’s, but we haven’t really had any days less than 80-85 in the past 3 months. Just crazy, and scary. Our water bill is also scary!

      I desperately miss travel. In May we took a road trip to California, and that’s it! We’re supposed to go to Japan in November, but not sure that will be possible. I’m also waiting on my passport renewal… it’s been 12 weeks, and it’s just a renewal! We spent most of June at the beach house, a consolation prize.

      I’m trying to practice self care, but it’s been tough! How’s your job, still going well? I hope you get to France! 🤗❤️

      Liked by 2 people

    • Since dday, I’ve kind of backed off where it comes to my sister as I just didn’t have the energy or reserves. Now it’s time for me to take over for Geo. We’re creating a family plan while she’s away. ❤️

      Liked by 2 people

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