Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Well That Bites.
In good news, I woke up without a headache this morning.

That cheer and happiness lasted right up until I crossed the threshold into work, when Irritating C, the busybody to end all busybodies, greeted me at the door with, "That client you saw last month? She died this weekend." Great, thanks, how about I take off my coat and sit down first?

So, she's my first. The first client I've seen that has died "suddenly at home." I don't actually think it was suicide; we won't get the medical examiner's report for another few weeks, but it sounds like an accidental overdose. She never threatened suicide to me, she was instead very focused on getting benzodiazepines - Klonopin, Ativan, Xanax, whatever. The ones that you hear them talk about on medical shows when someone has a seizure or flips out and needs to be chemically encouraged to sit down and be still. In lower doses, they're good for anxiety, whether it's an ongoing nightly thing or a semiannual dental phobia. In much higher doses, like everything else, they'll kill you. I believe this woman had an addiction, and I think that addiction killed her.

The horriblest part of it all, even worse than the fact that she was less than a year older than me and in good health and should have had her whole life in front of her, is that she had three kids. Her oldest is similar in age to Emily, there is a 4ish-year-old, and the baby is about 8 months old. How often do you suppose the word "poor" is going to be applied to those kids just this week, alone? And now they're left with a family that is chaotic - stealing each other's drugs and threatening each other on the weekends, to start - and a mother who was never really there for them before and now can't fix that.

Just horrible. Overwhelmingly horrible.

And yet not. I'm here at work, no tears, no new headache, no guilt. I don't feel any personal responsibility, because I did my very best to reach that woman and she would not be reached. I'll go home at lunchtime and chat with my husband, and I'll play with my kids tonight, and my life will go on. If I let this actually be as horrible as parts of my brain want it to be, I'd be on a steep slope toward a place I don't want to go. Sometimes part of being human is not being human all the time.