Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

Today was my third appointment with the lovely folks on the Eighth Floor of the old Victoria Hospital here in town. Pretty much the only floor left at the hospital that is still in use, other than the seventh which is used in conjunction with the eighth to warehouse their psych patients. Today was my appointment with one of their Psychologists. I've already been seen by a Psychiatrist and Occupational Therapist there as part of my assessment/treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder resulting from the attack back in May.  Their next step now will be for the three of them to sit down together to discuss what I talked about at each of their sessions and for them to put together some sort of attack plan to put all of me back together again! Today's session lasted just over three hours, the longest of the sessions so far. So far I've been most impressed with my "team" and have ended up feeling surprisingly comfortable and at ease talking to them. Color me shocked!

Jim will eventually also have to start some sort of this therapy but I think that his doctors want him to have some more physiotherapy to aid his physical wounds before they introduce anything new to his mix. His next physiotherapy appointment is not until Thursday afternoon so we've got a days rest between the two. Well, sort of cause tomorrow is "doctor" day at the clinic so not so much of a break! The only downside to his physiotherapy  appointments is that they are literally on the other side of town. Even though we only have to take one bus, we end up being on the bus for an hour and twenty minutes! The upside is his therapy is located beside a mall that I practically never, ever go to because of how far away it is from us. I take advantage of the time that he is with his Physiotherapist to do some shopping! Just a win, win situation all around.

Speaking of hospitals, this certainly has been the week for them in my family. My foster daughter, Katie, just got home from the emergency after getting treatment for her earlobe. She put a stretcher in her right lobe that ended up being too big or put too much stress or something that she got an infection as well as splitting her lobe. I had no idea in advance that she was even going to do something like this so by the time she showed me, it was already infected. She is over eighteen and allegedly an adult after all. Apparently once the infection has healed, they will be able to recommend a plastic surgeon to repair the lobe. Ouch!!!

Yesterday, my daughter, Sara, got a phone call from her boyfriend, Andre, around lunchtime to let her know that he was at the emergency because he got his thumb caught in one of the machines at his work and that he was about to go into surgery so that his thumb could be saved and repaired. He is over here right now and all is well with him and his thumb apparently. Thank goodness. Already too much excitement and its only Tuesday evening. The week isn't even half over yet! Fingers crossed that it will only be uphill from here!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Just Another Day In Paradise.

I so wish that I was more diligent with updating but lately I've been so not interested. Plus, whenever I actually do kind of feeling like being on the computer, one of the girls or Jim is using it. Of course, this really isn't a fair statement either as I also have my very own computer. In fact, I just recently bought myself a new computer so we now have three fully operational machines in this home. For some reason, though, I can't seem to get mine networked with the other two so technically it is only half operational. Of course, I haven't really given much effort to getting it networked either. Maybe this can be my weekend project!

For someone who isn't actually working currently either, I also seem to be able to keep myself fairly busy, so I don't always end up finding enough time to get on the computer. Plus, when I do find myself sitting in front of one of our two connected machines, I find that it is way more interesting to catch up on other people's journals rather than write about my incredibly dull and ordinary existence! OK, so maybe I'm being just a tad too brutal on myself right now, and there really is no reason for me to be treating myself this way. Other than life kind of being way on the dull side at the moment, I still must confess that I still am lucky enough to have a pretty remarkable life, all things considering!

Our recovery is going as well as can be expected - both sets of recoveries I suppose. I just started going to therapy to deal with PTSD and it seems to be helping, or at least, I certainly can see how it could very well be beneficial in the long run. Jim will be starting a similar therapy shortly but right now, he is pretty busy with his physical recovery and physiotherapy. Still legitimately away from work collecting WSIB benefits. 


Monday, October 06, 2008


I ask that you bear with me a moment or two until I am able to get my bearings, as I am literally still spinning from yet another attack against Methadone Maintenance Treatment from someone who doesn't have a bloody clue what it even is or entails! Grant me patience, now. First of all, I live in southwestern Ontario, Canada, and because of this location, I, as well as any other opiate addict also residing here, have very limited options available as far as recovery from this insidious addiction goes. Suboxone and its ilk is currently not available for prescription in this country. I will confess that it is more than possible that I may not be completely accurate with this declaration, but the last time I asked my doctor at the clinic about availability, I was told, not yet. Perhaps there are test studies being performed even as I speak, and sooner, rather than later, opiate addicts will actually be able to choose their poison!

Short of going cold turkey, to be properly detoxed and rehabbed from opiates, MMT seems to be an addicts only viable option if one hopes for a successful recovery. I absolutely am convinced that this treatment can and is, highly effective in keeping the addict away from abusing opiates. I know that there is the school of thought that maintains the addict is merely exchanging one addiction for another, but I find this argument simply too simplistic and terribly narrow. MMT does far more than exchange one of the same for more of the same, and I know that anyone reading my journal is well enough informed with what I am alluding to here that it isn't necessary for me to regurgitate all of this once again.

Even to my own ears and eyes, some of what I am about to say sounds like a huge series of rationalizations and this may very well be true - after all, one must never forget that rationalization may be the addicts only real true friend and if not friend, most certainly companion! When I first started MMT in the fall of 1999, I was in pretty rough shape.

We had been doing heroin and some pills for a solid two years, and pretty much had been dedicating all of of extra money and time towards our addiction. Pretty much from the first time that I tried it, I was hooked. I certainly had found what I thought was my nirvana. It was wondrous and it didn't take long to develop a tolerance for it. Thank heavens we knew someone that could get us heroin. He was out of town three out of the seven days and he happened to be working in a place that was literally drowning in it so every Thursday night right after getting off his bus, he would drop by our place with our weekly package. Sunday night we would wave him goodbye as his bus left town, our money in his pocket. This went on for over a year.

It started to get quite expensive as all habits tend to but this one also felt different. Where before, I may have been a bit of a bitch if I couldn't get blow or speed, I could get by at least but not this time. When I was without I hurt, I felt sick, I was in severe pain. I couldn't or wouldn't want to go to work and I had always prided myself on never letting any of my vices interfere with work and to be honest, life in general. Suddenly I had become single minded, nothing else mattered but not feeling sick anymore. I had to have a hit no matter what. Came close to bankrupting us. Sad but at least we had a house to sell to get us out of debt. And selling this one, our favorite, meant that we still had two others left although they were nowhere near as nice and they were in a much rougher part of town but that didn't seem to concern us so much anymore. We moved. We had to. We had someone else very important in our life now that very much needed to be accommodated. I had never lied before but suddenly I found myself doing just that. When my family doctor confronted me I couldn't admit it at first. I was every which way of denial until I couldn't take it anymore. This drug eventually wears you down, strips you of every vestige of dignity and self respect. I fessed up and when he started talking about getting us into a methadone program, I pretty much said yes just to humor him plus he said that as soon as we were on the list, he would be able to help us out and get us from having to buy our dope on the street at ridiculous prices.

I had never actually intended to follow thru with the methadone. The moment we were accepted our doctor wrote us each a prescription for 30 dilaudid a week. It was as if we had hit the jackpot. Between us we had 60 pills that would normally have cost us almost $20 each - quite a savings. He said that he could keep us supplied until we reached a high enough methadone dose that could sustain us on its own. I figured that we would ride this out as long as we could. Looked like it would be at least eight weeks that we could get our prescription and I figured that was long enough for us to get our finances back in order. We would in theory save a lot by not having to buy opioids for a two month period. As it was we were spending about $700/week and that was barely keeping us from getting sick so I knew that we were living on borrowed time if we continued spending at that rate. We were long overdue for a financial break.

But a funny thing happened while we going to methadone. It started working. I stopped grieving for any of the others. I went a day without a hit, then two and then a week. A week turned into a month and then two and three and we were still going. Suddenly two years had passed and I no longer did anything except for my methadone. I didn't even drink anymore. I forgot about heroin and dilaudid and morphine - oxys had yet to make their appearance but that was only a matter of time. The methadone made me so very tired though even if it did seem to work a small miracle. I would start to nod off at the worst possible time something I rarely did while addicted to the others. I needed to stay awake. So slowly, we both started to taper down our dose and as we did this, the constant state of tiredness also started to seem to decrease.

Suddenly twenty seven months had passed. We were starting to get tired of the daily grind of having to grab our methadone. Yes, for the most part normalcy had returned to our lives. We fell into our own little routine. Gone were the hours upon hours dedicated to finding that one hit that would take away the pain. I could go back to work full time, we both could. Methadone gave our life structure once again. My credit card debts were now paid off. We had sold the other two houses and purchased a three story apartment building. Our self confidence and esteem had returned. We didn't want or need methadone any more. It was time to say goodbye. I had two weeks vacation at Christmas 2001 but a week before my vacation started I got a terrible flu. I was down to about 20mg of methadone a day. I felt so sick that I just didn't feel like grabbing my methadone one day and the next and the day after that. I just stopped going and when my flu ended, any withdrawal that I may have been going thru had also ended. It was hard to tell one from the other so I kept telling myself that there was no withdrawal just crappy flu symptoms.

Both of our tapers turned out to be successes. By the time that we had stopped taking methadone on a regular basis, our bodies had repaired themselves as best that they could. After  two and a half years, we were also able to beat the mental cravings as our bodies had essentially trained themselves. So, now both the physical and mental cravings seemed to have been put to rest. I knew that when I woke up each morning that the first thing in my mind would not have anything to do with opiates and so it continued for a number of years after we had finished with methadone.

I wish that I could say that we returned to abusing opiates because of some body and mind crushing craving and longing, but that is so not  true whatsoever. It was actually nothing at all, something so utterly innocuous in the end. Boredom and availability.


Friday, October 03, 2008

Reach For The Sky

I have managed to taper my methadone dose down to 50ml, an amount that I am quite pleased to be at. I still have no cravings or any sort of withdrawal symptoms, but am now finally regaining energy that I felt I had lost when I was at the higher doses. Without any other sort of aids, I am now finally feeling as if I have managed to find a normal "sleeping" routine. I no longer feel that I need to lie down for a rest midway through my day or need twelve hours of sleep each night. More than anything else, when I wake up each morning, I don't feel as if I am overly medicated. Any aches and pains or stiffness that I might have, I feel are truly my own! This is proving to be quite a liberating feeling I must confess and something positive in an otherwise kind of crap year. I now am able to see that proverbial light at the end...

About a week ago, just before 8am, there were a series of rather loud knocks on our front door. I dragged myself out of my nice warm bed wondering who would be stopping by at this unreasonable hour. When I opened the door, there was this nice elderly process server with a subpoena for both myself and Jim for us to give material evidence at the trial of the three men charged with attacking us and stabbing Jim. Their scheduled trial date is at the end of January of next year and it looks as if all three of them are to be tried together. I understand that the actual trial date on this subpoena will probably change as they will most likely look for adjournments, etc but I am prepared for this inevitability. Obviously we want this resolved asap for a number of reasons. I know already that my testimony is going to be one of the most important of this trial. I also know that as it gets closer, I will become more and more nervous about the whole thing but at the same time, I also know how important it will be for me to get up there to give this testimony. What they did to Jim and myself and ultimately my entire family needs to be addressed and answered and hopefully resolved.

In the end, these three guys have utterly no idea yet the longterm effects that their actions will ultimately cost my family. The physical damage that they've done to Jim is obviously apparent. He has scars now all over his body from where he was stabbed, not to mention this two and a half foot scar down the middle of his chest and stomach where they had to cut him open to perform emergency surgery to repair his lung and liver. These scars will ultimately fade with time and hopefully his body will be able to near fully repair itself given enough time also. Right now though, he can no longer lift or move the same heavy objects that he could less than a year ago. Along the right side of his head, neck, shoulder and arm, he has next to no feeling yet. They haven't been able to tell him yet if this will even return. I could go on.

What hasn't been taken into account is the effect that this has had on our family financially. Our income has been reduced substantially as a result of this attack mostly because neither one of us has been able to return to our jobs. I am currently away from work being treated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It hasn't been a fun ride. We have now finally gotten our WSIB straightened out - remember the attack took place on May 12, almost five months ago! I have yet to receive a cheque for the correct amount. I'll most likely be back to work before this actually happens! I did get a cheque today covering the shortages of my two previous cheques so that was a most pleasant surprise.

I also received another email from one of the attacker's sisters. I think that I'll let it speak for itself:

It's Riel again, any new conditions on your husbands state? We hope for the best.

But another reason Im emailing you is regarding my brother Marol. He called us today and is telling us that there were no further statements made against him regarding the stabbing or his part in the crime, but there were of course witnesses but none of them are willing to step up and explain Marols part. So this is where Im asking you to step in and help us out since the main reason there were no updates made to HIS part in the crime were because of lack of co-operation with the witnesses. If theres any statements you could make regarding Marols part since he was not the stabber, than please do, it may seem like Im trying to say that Marol has'nt done anything nor is he responsible for your Husbands injuries, but thats the complete opposite of what Im trying to say. I agree with you that they should be punished for what they've done but each be punished seperatley instead of "throwing all of them into the pit". So if theres anyway that you could explain to the investigators who the stabber was and explain the other twos parts aswell than please do. But from what Marol's saying, he makes it seem as like he contributed the least to the injuries.

So once again, if theres any way that you could help us out than please do. It would take alot of grief off of my parents if there was any update to the case regarding Marol. This is'nt the first time one of my brothers has gotten in trouble with the law, so I know alot about the Ontario Justice System and they're state of mind regarding immigrants coming into they're country and just causing complete chaos rather than taking advantage of the education thats being offered to them along with the success it offers in the future. Like right now, my parents have to deal with my older brother as well named Chol, who was also involved in past crime, and hes currently facing Deportation. My mom was just distraught when she found out. It's basically suicide to be deported back to Sudan which was where we had immigrated from due to the ongoing war with our neighbouring Arab's.

If immigration deputies get involved in anyway than theres a sure chance that Marol will be facing deportation aswell which would just fuel on to the grief my parents have to deal with. My parents in no way, expected any of this to happen. They brought us here to a safe,war free and education filled country but in return they get this from my brothers. Like right now, Im only 14 years old and Im highly taking advantage of all the education thats offered to me and it seems to be making my parents proud than ever.

So if theres anyway you could help us out than please,please do.

Thank you for reading.
Sincerely, Riel.