For-Profit

Hello dear reader(s)!

Watch any sports lately?  How about a cooking show?  See any commercials?  Were any of them for alcohol?

In a few minutes, I am probably going to have a special (cannabis infused) brownie.  (Tomorrow I have shit to do, or else I might tomorrow too.)  Part of it will be for my chemotherapy-induced neuropathy pain that is acting up.  Part of it will be to help my anxiety that is so strong this month.  Part of it will be to give me the appetite I need to eat dinner tonight.  Part of it will be because it seems to (seems to because I have no actual studies that show causation) keep my blood counts a bit higher than they are when I have not had any in a while.  Part of it will be to try to prevent some of the nightmares I get this month from coming tonight.

But part of it?  Part of it will just be to help me relax a bit.

And yet, on the federal level, this is a crime.  Jeffy-boy and company do not care for it one bit.  That’s fine, they don’t have to have any.  More for us.

Why is this a problem?

Do you know what I have never seen?  I have never seen a person under the influence of marijuana (and only marijuana) hit their spouse.  I have never seen a person under the influence of marijuana start a bar fight.  I have never seen a person under the influence of marijuana think they are invincible and can drive one hundred miles per hour even though they are too drunk to stand.  And most importantly, I have never seen a person turn yellow and die a slow, horrible death from liver failure because of marijuana.

Guess what I’ve seen from people under the influence of legal, advertised alcohol?

I use cannabis for pain.  I use it to help me relax.  I use it for many reasons.  Because of that, I don’t feel like I need many prescription drugs I would have no problems getting legally.  I had a prescription for heavy opioids before I started realizing the full benefits of cannabis.  You will never catch me at a park with a needle in my arm.  You will never catch me with a brown bag over a bottle.  I have something much safer that is so much more effective with fewer side-effects.

I think it is hilarious that the supposed free-market loving Republicans are against legalizing marijuana.   Taking money from the alcohol lobby and the pharmaceutical lobby to keep it illegal in order to protect the inferior products that are marketed and pushed to us like all the processed crappy food was when I was growing up.

And let’s talk about that food.  Remember when people thought butter was horrible, and margarine was the healthy way to go?  Or the “Low Fat” food was a good thing?  Or avocados were bad because they were fatty fruits?

We are living in an age of capitalism out of control.  When the need for more money puts a large number of people, even entire societies at risk, maybe there needs to be a different way.

It’s no secret that I have considered myself a Democratic Socialist long before I knew who Bernie Sanders was.  But as I see the horrible things companies are doing with our food, our medicine, our healthcare, and housing all in the name of profit, I am digging in even more than ever.  I wonder how these fucking pieces of shit sleep at night.  Maybe on all those dangerous drugs they bribe your doctor into prescribing.

I am not anti-medicine.  I do not believe cannabis cures most things.  I do, based on my own experiences and the studies that have been able to be conducted, believe that it treats and can help prevent many things.  And I am certain that it is only being kept illegal at the federal level in order to protect the profits of industries that trade off of inferior substances.

I choose not to participate.  I will do my own research, and I will try what I choose.  And if something works better for me, that’s what I will do.

I will not eat the artificial everything plus preservatives if I can find fresh and real.  I will not take the synthetic, physically addictive, mildly effective, side-effect prone pill if I know my natural medicine would do a better job of treating the condition.

My life is not for the profit of others.

The Most Difficult Story I’ve Told, Part 2

[From Part 1}

On Sunday the 5th, Hannah was still yellow.  We decided we would go to the ER that night, hoping the wait wouldn’t be too insane given it was no longer the 4th.  We arrived at about 9pm.  Hannah went to the triage nurse in the most packed waiting room I had ever been in.  I was exchanging masks every two minutes in an attempt to avoid getting sick because of my immune issues.  Hannah’s vitals were excellent, so she was pushed to the back of the line.  At around midnight, we asked how much longer they thought it might be.  They said they couldn’t say, but that there were 4 people ahead of her, and they were just about to discharge 2.  We waited.  They pumped a person’s stomach in the waiting room.  When the person next to me began picking his nose and threw up on the floor, we went to ask again how much longer it would be.  By this point, it was about 2 am, and there were again, 4 people in front of us.  Hannah wanted to go home, her vitals were good, so we decided they obviously weren’t concerned and we left.

When we woke up on Monday the 6th, Hannah’s color was a little better.  I called and tried to get her set up in a treatment program, but they wanted her to be evaluated for medial detoxification.  They referred me to a substance treatment hospital and we got in.

We arrived at the hospital and were buzzed into the locked waiting room where we saw a man with obvious alcohol poisoning get evaluated and taken via ambulance to a major hospital because he blew a .35 and had his last drink within the half-hour.  Hannah by comparison, was extremely composed although she was shaky filling out the forms.  Her color was changing back to the yellow though, and I was concerned.  We met with a doctor who asked her questions about her drinking.  How long it had gone on, when her last drink was, and when she first noticed the jaundice.  I was stunned when she said she had been drinking roughly 750 ml of alcohol a week for the last 10 years.  She blew a 0, and since she said she had not had a drink since Thursday, the doctor concluded that she probably did not need medical detox.  He did tell us to go the ER because of the jaundice, and they would give her a “rally bag” and make sure she’d be okay.  We went to the other major area hospital’s ER and she walked in on her own two feet.  I ran to get her food and met her in the waiting room.  The wait was not long, and after meeting with an EMT and triage nurse, she was taken to an ER room.

In the ER room the doctor asked how long she had been drinking heavily, and this time Hannah told the doctor that it started went she went away to college.  Now it was 12 years.  The ER doctor said he thought her liver was cirrhosed, but said as long as 20% was okay, there was a good chance she would recover.  She was given fluids, and admitted.

The following day, Hannah was told by a hospital physician that she would die.  She was told she would not make it through the next two weeks.  He told her that she should have responded better to the treatment and the fact she did not meant there was no hope.

When I found out what he had told her, and saw first-hand the manner in which he said it, I demanded he be taken off of her case.  After more fluids all day, along with some other medication, there was good news with her numbers.  The GI Specialists came in, and contradicted the hospital doctor’s words, while still saying that it was touch-and-go.  For a while, she made steady progress.  Her prognosis was raised from very poor to poor.  I stayed with her as much as my body would allow.  I missed three nights because I was getting sick and did not want to end up dying on the floor below her.  Her friends and family stayed when I couldn’t.

The GI Specialists wanted to put in an intra-nasal nutrition tube, but Hannah resisted.  She was extremely anxious about it, but finally relented after a couple of days.  We all believed that it would kick her progress into high gear.  Her mother called me from the hospital the night before they put the tube in (because I was sick) and told me she thought that Hannah wasn’t trying anymore.  I told her she was likely just anxious or tired and that it would be okay once they got the tube in and she didn’t have to force down calories required that not even I could eat.

I don’t know if it was the anxiety about getting the tube, or if there was always just too much damage, but Hannah had indeed taken a turn for the worse when I arrived in the morning.  The tube was in less than a day, when her numbers went so far in the wrong direction that Hospice came to visit.  She was in and out of lucidity on Wednesday, July 22nd, when I had to make the decision to put her on comfort care and sign a DNR.  I let her know what was happening.  I told her not to let go of hope, but that there was nothing else medically they could do.  She understood.  I told her I loved her, and if she needed to go, she could.  She slipped into a coma before they even started the morphine.

I lost her that day, until she briefly came back to say goodbye Sunday, our anniversary.

This story shows some of the puzzle pieces that went unplaced when it was not too late for something to be done.  If you notice any of these in a loved one, start looking into whether there is something wrong.  Let that person know you will try to help them, as long as they try for themselves.  Let them know that their problem is not something you will stop loving them over.  I always thought Hannah knew I loved her unconditionally.  I tried to not only tell her, but to show her every day.  And maybe she did, but the disease was too ingrained in her before I ever entered the picture.  I don’t know, but I don’t want anyone to ever have to go through what Hannah, her family, her friends, and I have gone through.

If you or anyone you know needs help with an addiction issue, there are many resources you may want to look into.  Here are just a few.

SMART Recovery

Alcoholics Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous

Hannah was not a weak person.  She was strong in so many other ways.  She was a great person with a problem.  She was sick.  I am not angry with her.  People struggling with addictions are not necessarily bad or weak, they might just need to know they will be loved despite their problems.

Please share this message.

The Most Difficult Story I’ve Told, Part 1

When the 3rd of July comes around next year, I hope that I am either out of it, or am surrounded by enough people to keep me from going off the deep-end.  The story I am about to tell you is the hardest story I have ever told.  It was a story I debated on ever telling, but recent events have convinced me that it may be able to help people.  Given that anyone close to her already knows, I figure that at this point, there really is no concern for her privacy.

July 3rd, 2015.  The refrigerator had been broken for almost a month.  I had been looking for ways to fix it, and finally broke down a day earlier and called my dad.  Because of the Independence Day Weekend, no repairmen could come until Monday.  Hannah and I were miserable.  I believed Hannah was suffering from a deep depression, or perhaps the effects of all of the trauma brought on by my cancer fight.  She wasn’t eating well, she wasn’t sleeping all night through, and she had no energy.  She spent most of the days of the previous month lying on the couch.  I made an appointment with a psychiatrist for her, and she cancelled it behind my back.  I urged her to see a doctor.  We had signed her up for Medicaid because she wouldn’t let me pay out-of-pocket.  She cancelled one of the appointments.  The next one available was not until August 11th.  I wanted to take her to the ER, but she refused.  A week earlier, I told her I would, whether she liked it or not; if she didn’t start eating more again.  She gradually ate more each day, and so I let her wait for the regular appointment.

On July 3rd, I was also feeling rather sick.  The combination of allergies, the heat, eating out all of the time, and the stress of watching my wife in misery with seemingly no explanation was just becoming too much.  Days had lost their meaning, and life just became one long slog.  I told Hannah I thought we had made a mistake in moving back.  She agreed that it was not what she was hoping for, but begged me to give it longer to work out.  I actually believed that where we lived was the cause of most of the issues; given the decline I had witnessed in her when we got here.  I told her that I had never been more worried about her.  She cried and apologized, but I was not looking for an apology.  I just wanted her to let me help her get better.  We were sick of bad food.  We were also on a budget, so our choices without a refrigerator were limited.  After way too much back and forth, we decided to settle on Wendy’s because they had salads.

After an emotionally exhausting day, we returned from Wendy’s to eat.  I am not a big drinker, but I thought that after this day, I would have one.  I went to the cabinet where the big 1.5 litre bottle of Seagram’s 7 I bought a couple of weeks earlier was kept.  Pulling it out from the cabinet, I saw it was about 90% full; which made total sense given the last time we had any was the day I bought it.  I popped the top on my lemonade and went to pour a little in when I saw the water come from the bottle.

Suddenly, everything negative I had ever thought about Hannah in our entire relationship became like puzzle pieces in a puzzle I never knew needed to be solved.  The missing small amounts of money from store trips I always told her she could just ask me for but I needed to track.  The lack of appetite.  The getting up at 4 in the morning only for me to find her asleep (or passed out) on the couch when I finally woke up.  The weight loss.  And the-oh my God-the yellow eyes she convinced me were just allergies when I freaked out about it a week or so earlier.  She even pulled up an article online about how allergies could make the eyes appear jaundiced.

When I confronted her, (she must have seen it coming), I almost feel like she was a little relieved.  I can’t imagine the amount of energy it must have taken her to keep that hidden.  I trusted her implicitly, and I thought she trusted me too; so the betrayal was like a punch in the gut.  I knew if she was refilling bottles, she must have had other stashes of alcohol.  I had her take me through the rest of the house.  I’d never gone through her things, and there were bottles everywhere.  Part angry, part devastated, and part extremely worried; I told her I needed to get out of the house.  I texted the two of her friends she would most likely go to and told them the situation and not to let her drink.  I went out with my friend so I could tell her and she could talk me into staying, because that is what I wanted to do anyway.  6 hours later, I came home to an empty house.

I texted her a message that said I would try as long as she would.  That I was scared for her and would be by her side to get through it as she was by my side.  I told her I loved her, and would not leave if she tried.  I told her we needed to get her to the doctor’s because I knew her yellow eyes were probably not allergy related.  I opened up my Facebook to learn that an old friend had died.  I knew in the past he had struggled with addiction issues.  The fear of being away from Hannah that night while she was at her friend’s house was beyond anything I thought I could handle.

It was only the beginning.

She came home the next day.  Her friend did not let her drink.  But on the 4th of July, it wasn’t just her eyes, all of her skin was now yellow too.

While her color was bad, she seemed to be doing fine otherwise.  Given that it was July 4th, and there were no doctor’s offices open, we knew the ER’s would be packed.  We discussed getting her into treatment.  I asked her to let me take her to the ER and wait, but she told me we could the next day.  Since she was agreeing to everything, and seemed fine otherwise, I agreed we could.

The only exposure I’ve had to alcoholics were the “Whatever, I do what I want!” types who did not hide their drinking problems but celebrated them.  I’ve also seen those alcoholics go jaundiced before, and when they cut back, they got better.  With Hannah seemingly otherwise okay, we did not think there was a medical emergency.