Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Little addicts

So I'm sitting here sweaty as hell, in old jeans and a fluro orange singlet, smudged with flour and cocoa and sticky with egg.
Yes, there's a cake in the oven.

When I first came back to my hometown I brought some drugs with me, to tide me over before I could meet with a doctor and get scripted. However, as it goes with drugs, they didn't last the distance. I found myself loitering outside the one pharmacy in town that dispenses methadone, looking for a friendly face. After an hour or so of embarrassing myself, feeling pretty desperate and fading fast, Sarah and her six year old pulled up.

Sarah! I recognized her from one of my group therapy meetings (great place to make new contacts!! heh... just joking) and knew she used to work at the local needle exchange. She was heavily pregnant. She had to dose twice a day, on site, due to her pregnancy, so she couldn't personally sell me anything. However, she invited me over, made several calls and went and picked something up for me, reluctant to even take the 10 bucks I gave her towards gas. She really saved me that day, and ever since I've dropped by to drink coffee and talk shit with someone who understands. My dad does not approve.

Yes she's pregnant and yes she's a drug addict. I know many of you are probably judging already. Well, that's what humans do. But first, let me tell you her story.

She has been on the methadone program for over three years. For the last two and half she stopped getting her period (that happened to me too when I was on the 'done) and assumed she couldn't possibly get pregnant. She got pregnant.

As soon as she found out, she raced to the doctor and asked to come off the methadone. He said no. Coming off opiates while pregnant causes such severe stress to the body that she'd most likely lose or harm the baby. Instead, against her wishes, he INCREASED the dose, to cover the extra passenger. Methadone as such isn't bad for the fetus, but there is the risk the baby will be born an addict.

Her lovely little boy was born three weeks ago, heavily addicted to opiates. She is still in hospital with him, and probably will be for another few weeks, as the doctors wean him off. So far, he's doing extremely well. He's a little more unsettled than most babies, and has wires attached here and there, but he's got chub and a little grinning face.

One of the nurses is a tiny overly-muscled woman with ridiculously short legs, a blond perm and a hard face. Another has frizzy grey hair pinned tightly to her head, coke-bottle lense glasses, an oversized, sloppy body and a permanent sneer. These are just two of her many nurses, all who are obviously and vocally angry with Sarah for "inflicting her child with an addiction." How professional. Silly me, I always thought a nurses job was to care, not judge.

Sarah knows better than anyone the enormity of what she has passed on to her child.

It is awful. But the truth is, she did EVERYTHING SHE COULD bar having an abortion. Is that what the nurses would have liked? Why does it even matter what they would like?

So, I go up every few days, so far with chocolate afghan cookies x2 batches, banana bread, peanut butter cookies and today, with a banana chocolate cake.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


8:23 PM  
Blogger Michelle's Spell said...

Hey Tui,

I find people are super judgmental when it comes to children. Really drives me nuts. I know I wouldn't last two days under other people's attitudes about what I should or should not be doing with a baby. I'll be sending all good thoughts to your friend and her baby.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I'm a pregnant heroin addict, and soon as I found out I got on methadone and they're doing the same thing to me. They keep increasing my dose (not that I'm on a high dose to begin with). They want me between 60mg and 90mg until I have the baby- what's up with that??? I like your writing but haven't been here in a while. Good work girly.

12:46 PM  
Blogger ranjini said...

Thanks for sharing, I will bookmark and be back again

Methadone addiction

4:37 AM  

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