Addiction can take a toll on our bodies. I learned that the hard way. When I got clean one of the hardest things for me to accept was the changes to my appearance and health that years of heroin/ crack use did to me.
During my addiction I lost so much weight. In 2015 I went to jail and prior to the arrest I could not hold food down for weeks. I just kept using to mask the pain. My first night in jail was hell. I was up all night throwing up, shaking, and scared. My cell mates were scared that I may not make it through the night. The next morning a C.O. and a nurse came to get me to complete a blood test and urine test. The nurse tried over 10 times and could not find a vein because I was so dehydrated. After 3 hours of drinking water and throwing it up I was finally able to provide a urine. The nurse looked at the cup of black liquid and asked if it was pee or coffee. She was concerned I could tell but the C.O. said “she’s just a junkie with-drawing.” and forced me back into my cell. Hours went by and I was hallucinating, cover in blood that I threw up, and I was worn out. With tears in my eyes and fear in my heart I asked my cell mate to tell my kids that I was sorry and my family I loved them. I laid on the floor and decided to die. Minutes later I started falling out of consciousness. The Doctor finally came in to the jail and the nurse asked him to check on me. Within Seconds I had C.Os shackling me and placing a “spit bag” over my head. They threw me onto the floor of a van and took me to a local hospital.
Once in the hospital I was handcuffed to the bed and nurses were assessing me. I was trying to close my eyes and let the doctors fix me. The C.O. named Bill stayed by my side the whole time. Many blood tests were taken, CAT scans and medications given. I was admitted to the hospital for pancreatitis, Pseudocyst, a small tear in my gallbladder, and my appendix burst. I was rushed into surgery. The doctors and C.Os were arguing because the C.Os insisted I remain shackled, handcuffed to the bed, and have 2 armed guards present during the surgery but that was not ideal because handcuffs and shackles are not sterile. Doctors got their way after 20 minutes of back and forth fighting. After my surgery I was admitted and taken upstairs to recover. All I wanted to do was call my family (They did not know I was in the hospital). I wasn’t healing as I should and I could not eat without getting sick. So the doctors decided to keep me and insert a NJ feeding tube in my nose and into my small intestine. One night the warden came into my room and said You are no longer incarnated, call your family. My mom had no idea I was locked up ( over a traffic violation) so she tracked me down and bailed me out. I never felt more loved in my life knowing my mom had searched for me when no one else had.
I spent the next few weeks getting better but had to deal with the emotional trauma of facing the scars of my surgery, gaining weight, loosing my smile to methadone and drugs. I had such a fucked up way of thinking in my addiction that I was angry I was no longer sick because when I was sick I was “skinny”. Now that I have been clean and have a clear head to think with I look at my weigh gain as a sign of being healthy, my scars are proof I survived and my teeth are slowly being replaced. Time heals and I had to accept that I wont always be skinny, or have perfect teeth but I am alive and for that I am thankful.