“You are not going out with that boy unless his parents are driving and that's that. I'm not just Spitting Grits here, young lady!”

. . . My father, John Thomas Cravey, USAF, to me in 1956.

Drug Addiction’s Parallel Universe: Wednesday, April 21, Part III

Note: Part I (dated April 29) and Part II (dated May 11) are archived under Drug Addiction.

I could finally sneak back home with Joanna Leigh. My stress level was still overheating. I could not fathom that our drug addicted daughter was out of jail after only a month and with an $115,000 bond. What would we do now?

No, it’s no way to live. If someone can tell me how not to live this insane way, I’m listening, I thought.

I was determined to keep our granddaughter away from her, but how? I had tried to allow them something of a relationship, but when we learned Mary was cooking meth, selling it, and taking it, we knew the moment had come for a complete separation. Joanna Leigh was not going to be a part of her mother’s drug universe. I also knew the baby’s grief would come, and Mary’s release would simply prolong it.

The Days

Sure enough, she showed up Friday at Joanna Leigh’s pre-school. Even though I parked in a different place, went in a different door, and came out a different door, Mary must have seen me and was waiting outside when I brought Joanna Leigh out of the building.

I was beyond angry.

Joanna Leigh ran to her arms. She was so happy to see her. I just stood there. I said to Mary, “Ok, now what?”

She had no answer.

On Saturday, Martha, who often cares for Joanna Leigh, took her to the park and other places so that I could get together my part of the bridal tea I was co-hosting the next day, Sunday afternoon. I felt as though I was sitting on dynamite.

Meanwhile, we learned that Mary had shown up at her cousin’s house, despite knowing that the cousin’s son had warned his mother NOT to allow Mary to stay there ever again. Not hearing from her Friday night or all day and evening Saturday lulled me into complacency. I got all my la-la tea stuff – silver trays, silver serving pieces, marinated asparagus, avocado, linen napkins, and more -- loaded up or ready to be loaded up for Sunday’s tea.

Sunday, April 18, was my husband’s and my 40th wedding anniversary. I don’t know what he was thinking when he agreed to get married in April; it’s the middle of wild turkey season in Alabama. It takes a special breed to be a turkey hunter, and he’s one. First, you have to get up before sunrise to get into position. It’s also snake season, so that’s what’s out there with you. Then you have to sit there almost without breathing and be patient, patient, patient. I’m not patient, especially not with turkey hunters and their whining about being tired. Inconveniently, they spend the rest of the morning sleeping because they had to get up at 4 a.m.

Now, I ask you. . . .

On Warn

Then came the warning. Right in the middle of turkey season, at 7 a.m., my husband walks in the door. I said, “Well, you all must have gotten a turkey.”

“Nah, we just saw some.”

I kept loading the car. Then got appropriate clothes on. Then several other things. Then the bombshell. Gee, another happy anniversary.

“I have to tell you this. I got a call at 5 a.m. Mary overdosed and was taken by ambulance to the hospital, to the ICU. They don’t think it’s life threatening right now, but they had to restrain her because she was crazy and violent. She’s out cold, and they’re going to keep her out until she gets the stuff out of her system. She didn’t respond to me at all.”

Getting out of jail or treatment after being off drugs for a while is the most likely time for overdoses. And many addicts who overdose and are with other addicts often die because the others won’t call for help. But Mary was at her cousin’s, who called for an ambulance.

I was determined to go ahead with my part in the bridal tea, but I sneaked out about midway to run to the hospital. I looked through the small window of the door to the ICU. It was shocking to see her arms tied down and her head lolled back on the pillows as if she were in a coma. I started to cry, even though I would have to return to the tea. I didn’t want to go up to the bed.

I asked the nurse what happened, and she looked at me as if to say, “Are you kidding? What do you think happened?”

Instead she said, “It was a typical way that meth addicts come in – fighting and flailing around. Hasn’t she been living her life this way for some time?”

“Yes,” I said. I wonder how she could tell. “Do you know when the doctor, the psychiatrist, will come through?”

“Do you want to commit her?” asked the nurse.

“God, yes”, I answered. “No one needs it any worse. She’s likely brain damaged from her years of drug use. But I know how hard it is these days to have anyone committed.”

“Oh, it’s not hard if you work with the doctor,” she replied. “She’ll probably be transported down the hall to North Harbor [the psych and addiction ward at the hospital] when the doctor releases her,” she added.

All I knew at that point was that she would be gurnied down the hall through the locked doors into North Harbor. At least it was a reprieve. And now a window opened a crack to let in the possibility of commitment.

But how would we keep her off the streets? I secretly wondered if we should even try. It has been an insane way to live.

(To be continued in Part IV.)


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