“Stevie, what are you doing?” I asked, as I approached his position in the hallway, that connected the back entrance of the house to the kitchen.
“Nothing. Just go back to bed, Dad,” he barked.
Something was up.
But I couldn’t have known the hell Stevie was going through.
I thought I did, but no.
This was not Steve but someone else. Someone so secretive and purposeful that he had a shield around him. A shield not even a Dad and Mom could penetrate. A Dad and Mom who were desperate to help him – make it until morning.
Our position was one of helplessness.
The air in the house thick with despair.
Soon after I returned to bed, we heard Stevie return to his room.
At that point, the three of us in the house immediately sensed that no one would sleep that night.
No, we wouldn’t sleep.
As was sometimes our habit, Nadine and I got up to watch TV in the living room. It was about 1:00 am.
Stevie came out of his room again for another session of pacing – this time a full-blown panic attack, or what seemed like one.
“I don’t know what to do,” Stevie said. Strange admission for someone so self-contained. So in control.
“In a few hours we can get you some pills,” I added, weakly. “In the meantime, take deep breaths. You can do this Stevie.”
Nadine, Stevie and I had done this dance a hundred times. It was all about getting Stevie through the next few hours until the pills could rescue him.
And these days, he was burning through his scripts at a pace that was beyond his control. Stevie didn’t want to use more and more to squash the cravings. But it had been happening, just the same. And the refill intervals were already at minimum. So we would take Stevie to the ER to get more pills between the refill dates. Not just the ER of ONE local hospital but TWO. These visits were occurring at least twice a month. And sometimes more.
This had been going on for years. And we were all exhausted. Utterly.
On an eerie hunch that Stevie had grabbed something sinister from my tool box, I knocked on his door. It was 2:15 am.
Next – Final Solution