Thursday, September 20, 2012
Another Memoir Piece...Continuation, of that Methadone Call
Clutching the phone, I made my way to the kitchen, began digging through the cabinets, the drawers, I know there is a phonebook here. Dumping kitchen contents all over the floor, my head swam to fast to even realize they dropped. I pulled cookbooks off the baker’s rack, pulling them to only clatter the floor, sending tiny papers flying everywhere. No phonebook. I fumbled around, before spotting it in a bottom drawer, just under the cutting boards.
Picking my way back through discarded shit all over the kitchen, as I walked through the shotgun towards the front room, picking my way through the mess in each room, tingling gooseflesh in front of the air conditioner, somehow making me shiver so hard that my eyes momentarily lulled closed. I sat slowly on the blue velvet couch, as the mid-morning sun streamed through the thin, sheer curtains.
The paper pages of the phone book felt soft in my hands, fragile and soft, fingering the edges, slowly at first. Paper thin and soft, until I began flipping a little faster, and faster, flipping the pages with gusto, looking for the letter M. Methadone, flipping so fast, the page tore and the sharp sound of the tearing seems to be the only sound that surrounded me, as I slowed down my fingers just a little.
One swift move, just a little to the left, and slice…the thin, fragile paper managed to slice the edge of my hand, and the pain singed through my soul, as my body had no response to pain, twitching in withdrawal from opiates. A small sliver of blood smeared the side of my hand, stinging ever so slightly, sending the message of shear terror all the way down my spine.
My finger finally landed on the work Methadone, as I scanned the various clinics on the page. Fingering the still page, I noticed the softness once more, sliding my finger back and forth over the smooth, and almost slick and shiny pages, running it up and down the various names. I had not realized there were so many methadone clinics in New Orleans.
The insanity in my dope sick brain scanned the names, flipping them over in my head like flash cards, that I hoped held all the answers. I had no idea how this program even worked. Could they get me in right now? Would they tell me to rush in down and get a fat dose of methadone?
I had taken methadone many times before. I knew were to get it on the street, but right now the streets lay empty, and my twitching hand lay resting on the number for potential relief. I dialed the dope man once more, listening to the sad and lonely ring go on and on, with no kind, medicine man answering in his local accent with the single word, Hello?
Slowly, I paced the floor through the shotgun, as the sun filtered through my bedroom window, making the dust dance on its edges, spinning and swirling in the sunlight, as the light catches the edges, to create a tiny little reflection, flashing back and forth between my eyes. I picked up the phone, and hit send, sending the number through. I rocked back and forth on my feet, as I waited for the ring.
One ring, two rings, and I sigh because I feel like I am just listening to the endless ring of the phone, when no one is on the other end of my desperation. A soft, older black voice answers the phone, comforting me slightly with just the sound of an understanding voice. My story spilled out, I was an addict, and I was in pain, and I needed help.
“How much do you use?” the woman asked me. I stuttered and stammered trying to come up with an exact amount, I guess I did not always pay that much attention to my daily amount. I tried to turn a blind eye, I guess, counting my bags merely by the minute, thinking of only the next fix, unable to even see the picture of the whole day. Well, I guess I was using between 2 and 5 bags a day.
“How long have been using?”
I stuttered slightly before answering, “Six months.”
The voice on the other end sighed a deep sigh, “Sorry, honey. You have not been using long enough to get on methadone. We only allow those who have been using for at least a year.”
“Oh.” I answered. “Well, thanks, then.” The kind voice on the other end did not say anything else, as I hung up the phone. Looking back on it, from a lens of recovery…I think the clinic should have offered some kind of explanation to this policy. Such as, “Oh, honey, we only take clients that have been using for more than a year. Methadone is strong, and can be just as addicting as heroin, not to mention it stays in your system for a long time. If you have only been using for 6 months, then we do not want to flood your brain with methadone.”
Today, I think that the answer to my situation would lay in Suboxone, but they did not have that when I first called this clinic. Buprenorphine was still a number of years away at this point, and I was simply turned away.
Did I think about the medical side of it? The reason they told me no? No, of course I did not. Did I think to call another clinic, and lie about my time using? No, I did not. My mind reeled with the news of no methadone, and reeled even more with the madness of the sickness. Instead, I hunkered down on the couch, determined to get dope and continue using for at least another six months before I called the clinic back. Did I even think about kicking, and walking away from this shit forever? Hell no, that thought never crossed my mind.
Curled up, still clutching the phone, shivering with all my might, as I moaned and groaned, just begging the thin air for some fucking relief, end this fucking madness in my head, make it all stop, the dancing thoughts, the moshing ideas in my mind, the rumbling stomach, the vile vomiting, the incessant shivering, I just begged for it all to end, as I sunk deeper and deeper into the madness of my dope sick mind.
My thoughts suddenly ceased, as the lone ringer sound reverberated through the ransacked shotgun. I jumped, at the sound I had been waiting on for more than a day. Jumping, the portable phone clattered onto the floor, diving for it like it was a baby; I clattered off the couch in order to get the precious telephone in my clutches.
Turning it over in my shaky hands, my finger dove for the green button; I took a deep breath, and answered, “Hello?”
The soft, reassuring voice echoed on the other end. “Hey, baby, what’s up?” the man cooed.
My voice shook before it whispered,” Can you come now? I am really sick.”
“I am coming, baby. Just got out of lock-up, and I gotta re-up. Then, I will hit you up.”
“Please do not take too long.” The kind voice at the other end softly laughed, before reassuring me it would be okay soon. I breathed a sigh of relief and the symptoms seemed to subside. I slowly paced the room for over an hour, still calmer, just knowing it was eventually coming.
I flopped onto the couch, turning on the television, and flipping through channels, as my anxious mind refused to settle on anything concrete. I tossed and turned, before I stood up to slowly pace, until I heard the thunderous knock of the dope man.