After coming home to find my son Stevie still alive but lying face-up on the kitchen floor clutching a vodka glass in one hand and a folding knife in the other, I called Nadine and we brought him over the ER at Poudre Valley Hospital.
We had made plenty of other trips with Stevie to the hospitals in Fort Collins since 1996. In fact, we had made dozens of runs to Poudre Valley Hospital, then later, after construction was completed, The Medical Center of The Rockies (MCR). Our visits had become routine.
As far as Nadine and I were concerned, we were taking Stevie to the ER to deal with his stomach pain.
Here is what we didn’t know: Stevie was profoundly addicted to pain medication, and had been for years.
As his addiction grew worse – from the year of 1995 to about 2010 – he needed more and more product to get and stay loaded.
Of course as any parent whose son or daughter has been in addiction can tell you, there are two times during addiction that are seminal; discovering your child is a liar and a thief and understanding that no parent has ever beaten the drug.
This is how it was with Nadine and I, eventually, when years later, we made these two discoveries.
But years before, here in 2006, we lived in two states of mind: one when Stevie had enough product, and the other when he had run out before the refill dates on the bottles or his Oxycontin, Demerol or Dilaudid – depending on which he was taking. We lived between the refill dates, so to speak, not wanting to think about running short, then where and how much to pay to get more.
This trip to the ER was different.
“Dad, just let me go,” Stevie moaned, as our car speeded up Lemay Avenue.
“Don’t say that son,” we kept saying, “life can be good,” knowing full well how hollow this must have sounded to Stevie.
“Just let me die,” he said, several times.
We didn’t have the luxury of shoving Stevie across the worn carpet in the ER that day in a wheel chair. Instead,he went on a gurney. Nadine and I were plenty scared. Not if Stevie would pull through that day, but because of what our lives had become.
I considered our circumstances.
When would it end?