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…
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