Its been a long week at work and I have not have any time to be on the farm or do much with agriculture this week and you can guess by the title and pictures with this blog that my work week has not gone so well. It is very hard for me to see the damage done to families when they loose family members to drug and alcohol addiction. It used to be maybe one family in five had a problem with some type of addiction. Now, here in upper rural Tennessee, with little improvement from the hard economic downturn, drugs and alcohol are the easy way out.
Now, it is far too common for children not to know where, or sometime who, their parents are. These children are being raised by grandparents, Aunts/Uncles, or Cousins if they are lucky, and the state foster system if they are not. These are the 12-15 year olds that smoke, have drank at parties till they are drunk, and more than likely have tried drugs and sexual activity.
In my job, I see the tired, lost looks on the faces of the older family members, as they sit and wait outside of critical care waiting rooms and emergency departments more times than they can remember. Waiting once more to hear if their grown child has taken one to many pills, or mixed the wrong pills with some new drug for a high that may end up being their last. I see the faces of the not so elderly family members, aging days and years in a matter of minutes, as they too sit and wait is the same drab waiting rooms, for news about their teen children, brought in by the local police, or worse, found “unresponsive” at a party. But, of all these faces, the ones that remain in my mind, and haunt my sleep, are the faces that remain frozen in ageless grief, when they realize that after this night, they will fight no more with their loved ones addiction, and there will be no more need to wait, because this night, their love one became another statistic to be quoted in blogs and newspaper stories about the “problem with prescription drugs” in America.
For me, this blog post will always be way too personal. Even though, there are pictures and graphs in this post, they are simply here to remind me of the faces of cases that I cannot share, but will never forget. Families, who have lost a very personal battle, in a very public war with prescription drug abuse. I hope that the next time you are thinking about this topic you remember that somewhere there is a family that stood around a lonely grave, burying someone that meant all the world to their family.
I guess, I am just feeling morbid over these thoughts. And I will freely admit, I don’t understand the mindset of addiction very well. (I mean, yes, as a physician, I understand the pathophysiology of addiction as well as any other physician does, but as a human being I just don’t get it!)
I don’t understand how being blasted drunk or so high you cannot think clearly is in any way a good thing. And as a Mother, I will never ever understand how there is any drug, drink, or substance on this Earth more important to you than being able to care for and protect your children.