Kicking things on purpose
by knina strichartz
I could call my dad, tell him just about any story from my repertoire, and money would appear. I don’t want to call my dad.
Six minutes early, I escape into the single unisex bathroom at work. My six minute shield. Being early to work is not a reflection of my character. Within the past five years my mind has been retrained to believe that I am barely capable of handling anything which requires me to take self responsibility. My substance abuse is tacked on as one more failure. Just another character flaw in the eyes of my parents, and yet if I had cancer instead the moral failing they felt I projected would be nonexistent. Although I was a heavy user with no intention of quitting and all my research had suggested methadone as my best option, I was denied my request. In the interest of outward appearances my parents decided to go with a buprenorphine prescription, and knew enough people, and paid enough money to find a clinic which gave me one of the first prescriptions for Subutex.
I don’t bother locking the door. I crush three of the white pills.I use the lid of my prescription bottle as a ratchet excuse for a cooker. I add faucet water, creating pill powder paste. 100 cc of murky white liquid mixes with a flash of red and then disappears into my wrist.I’m fucked. I know I’m in precipitated withdrawal within the first ten seconds. I can feel what had been mild anxiety turning to full blown panic. I stumble forward out of the bathroom.
“I have to go to the doctor,” I say. I’m not sure who I say it to. I have only been at work for ten minutes. No one questions the fact that I’m sick, they had seen me almost fall leaving the bathroom. I look sick. I look awful. I was sick. I feel awful. Fucking awful. I grab my jacket and my purse. I can hear people asking me questions..
“What doctor are you going to?” “Where is your doctor’s office?” I can’t answer. I choose not to answer.
No one had explained precipitated withdrawal to me when I’d been given my prescription of Subutex. I had concluded based on the name it was simply “a withdrawal that came early”. No one told me it was hell. No one told me I would feel like I was about to die. I feel like I am about to die.
I am in the elevator. Our offices are on the 31st floor.
I reach ground level. I’m dancing in place waiting for the elevator doors to open. I don’t have much time. It’s a six block walk to the subway. There’s maybe 7 minutes of momentum left in my body. I am hauling myself on an invisible rope down 32nd street. I take a direct route straight through the crowd. People stop and stare at me, I stare straight ahead. I cannot engage. I cannot afford to lose the focus I have left. A few people cross the street to avoid passing me, My nose is beginning to drip mucus.I butt bump down the subway stairs. My legs have totally given up. I’m trying to formulate a dignified way I can crawl onto the train car.
I don’t actually end up crawling. I do start sneezing, making loud unpleasant noises. I’m lucky to have gotten a seat. After two stops I have three seats to myself and I’m able to lie down. More people become uncomfortable switching cars during stops, until finally, I have the entire subway car to myself for the rest of the trip . I perform the walk from my subway stop to the clinic in a black out state.
I must have lost one of my shoes at some point because I’m standing at a strange tilt. I yank off the remaining 4 inch Marc Jacobs platform, a gift from my dad, and throw it over an iron fence into a small park. It’s only the beginning of March, cold in New York, but I already can’t feel my feet.
I’m at the door to the clinic. I don’t remember walking the rest of the way. My mind is fuzzy. My phone is in my hand and I’ve called and texted my dealer sending both the clinic address and my order. I don’t remember calling or texting my dealer. I have no money to pay for any half of anything.
My parents have always been disconnected and disinterested. Society dictated they become even more disconnected after my substance abuse disorder came to light. My need for love and emotional connection was bought off for years with expensive gifts and money. This meant My parents refused to address my problems. The advice offered by “experts” stipulated that they refuse to address my person as well. Eventually my emotional, behavioral, and mental issues became so burdensome other people were paid off to address them. The one issue they didn’t pay to have addressed was my need for love. My parents were firm believers of the mindset “money can fix any problem”. I was a problem. I was alone.
As a person with substance abuse disorder it was believed I wasn’t responsible enough to consistently make it to the methadone clinic on time every morning, or even make it there at all, and as a person with privilege it was believed I shouldn’t have to wait in line. My father had paid an outrageous amount of money to the clinic director to ensure that I would be able to participate in treatment whenever and however I wanted to. What he couldn’t buy from the clinic was passionately caring for your patients and treating them with dignity and respect.
I cut in front of everyone in line and squeeze myself right up against the plexiglass window: “I need Dr. Sanchez to come see me. It’s an emergency. I need him to come-”
The dosing nurse cuts me off “I will have someone call upstairs for him. You can go sit down”. She points to the plastic chairs. I sit down in one of the plastic chairs.
“Excuse me ma’am,” the nurse spoke loudly through the plexiglass. “You need to get up off the floor right now. If you are not able to sit still quietly I’m going to have to ask you to leave and go outside”.
“Please,” I moan. “Call Dr. Sanchez, please.”
“I already called him, ma’am. If you are unable to calm yourself down you’re going to have to leave”.
My body spasms, and my leg kicks the little table to my right. My leg kicks it two more times in quick succession and the ceramic lamp sitting on top of it flies off, smashing on to the floor.
I wail. “Oh my god, please call him again. Pleasseeee.”
The nurse had turns to talk quietly to one of the male counselors standing behind the glass with her. “Ok, I told you what was going to happen” the nurse says, turning back to me.
“Now you can pick yourself up off the floor and you can also pick up the mess you made, and you need to leave right after my floor is clean.” I roll and rock back and forth, moaning. “Get up, now! ” I start to cry.
“Please, please call Dr. Sanchez. Oh my god, oh my god, please!”. I start hyperventilating.
“Andrew, go get her out of here!”I feel a man’s hand wrap around my upper arm;
“Get up or I’m going to yank you up. I am not dragging you across the floor.” I couldn’t get up. My muscles are locked together. I have no feeling in my feet. My vision has started blurring as my eyes tear continually, I don’t even think I’m crying. I am crying hysterically, and a string of large wet clear snot drips from my nose. Andrew lets go of my arm quickly in disgust, kicks me a couple times with the tip of his shoe, shoving me off to the side of the room. The door to the second floor staircase opens. Dr. Sanchez stands in the doorway wearing his usual white lab coat.
He wasn’t the prescribing physician at the clinic. He wasn’t an MD. He was the head counselor, not even a psychiatrist. He was the person paid off by my father to deal with me and manage my “issues”. I reach my arms up and out towards him pathetically like a child. “Oh my god. Help. Please help. Please give me something. Help me.”He walks up to my crumpled body and outstretched arms and stands over me, looking down upon a complete disaster of a person, on someone else’s child who is now his responsibility.
“I can’t give you anything, Knina, I don’t know what you’ve taken, and so for medical safety until we’re able to detect what is already in your system, you’re going to have to calm yourself down and wait. .”
“HEROIN!” I hiccup loudly, “AND SUBUTEX! Please, I told you, so you know now and you can give me something, please. Please. Please.” I grab at his lab coat with my hands and he steps back quickly, pulling away from me.
“Call an ambulance,” he says. The nurse picks the phone up from the cradle and gives me a sneering smile from behind the plexiglass. I look up at Dr. Sanchez. I want him to reach down and pick me up. I want him to hold me and tell me it’s going to be ok. I want him to be my dad.