I drove 14 hours and 1,000 miles and stopped once for gas and to go to the bathroom and once for a sandwich and to go to the bathroom.
This, I do not recommend. It was not my finest moment.
PhilBillPaul was frantic with worry. He had lived with my head injury emotional outbursts for almost all our years of marriage but I had never left. (Well, except that one time I caught the bumper of the car on the side of the garage and drove to the Kroger parking lot and sat for an hour.)
He called one friend to the north and one friend to the south. Apparently I have no friends to the east or west of me. Neither had heard from me because I was “enjoying” my quiet ride with my iPod playing and my cell phone turned off.
At about the six-hour mark, I decided to turn the phone on. I guess I decided I should check my voicemail. Soothing messages from Ann, friend in the north and Luci, friend in the south made me cry. They were worried and just wanted to help me.
I gathered what little composure I could find and called Ann first since she knew about my breakdown the night before.
Next, I called Luci because even in my mental state I was still worried about good manners. Luci owns an Alzheimer’s facility that she purchased so that her mother would have a place to live. This speaks volumes about her character and she is a caregiver extraordinaire. She asked exactly where I was and at that point I was approaching Louisville, Kentucky. Had I driven south I would have been almost to Tampa, where she lives.
She got on the internet and said she had a flight she would ticket immediately and I could go to the airport, leave my car there, fly to Tampa and she would get me any medical and professional help I needed and take care of me. It was all overwhelming me – this making decisions while I drove to nowhere. I hung up and wept.
It was beyond kind but I couldn’t get past my guilt about imposing on her life just because I couldn’t manage mine. I also knew, as Ann reminded me, that I would feel trapped if I didn’t have my car. (They were both nice enough to not point out that driving was probably not what I should be doing.)
So I declined Luci’s offer but I promised I would call her when I knew where I was going.
A few hours later, my friend Ann made the decision for me. She met me at midnight, three hours from her house, and got us a hotel room and took care of me. She opened her home and took care of me for 10 days while I slept and slept and slept. I did wake up to eat. (I wish I could say I lost my appetite…but no such luck.)
She gave PhilBillPaul updates. I talked to the kids almost every day.
I pulled my personal thing together. (Sort of.) We learned that the withdrawal from the medication I had been taking could be worse than heroine withdrawal for some people. I have no point of reference for that one. The doctors know very little or share very little. The patients, many times, continue to take low doses of this particular medication rather than suffer through the withdrawal.
This would have been helpful information before I started taking the drug. But then again, we didn’t know that I would have such a violent reaction to the medication and the withdrawal process.
All I can tell you is that I have never, ever felt so bad in my entire life.
I don’t name any of the drugs because I know everyone tolerates and responds to medications differently. My experience is just mine. Yours may be totally different. I tend to believe that my head injury plays a part in my inability to tolerate anti-depressants and they just don’t work for me.
What really saved me? Friends. Girlfriends, to be more specific. Lifelong friends who kept calling, emailing and checking on me. Friends who didn’t let me disappear into that Black Hole. They threw me a rope. Sometimes I threw it back and screamed I didn’t need it. They would just throw it to me again.
For the friends who read this and feel bad that they did not know…please release the guilt. I know that if I had picked up the phone, reached out for a moment to let you know, you would have helped me.
No code names for these friends who saved me. From my heart with all the love I can give, thank you…Ann, Luci, Toni, Kim, Colleen, Nancy…you are my heroes and you all really did save me.
To be continued…
If you missed part one, two, three, four or five…
Or to read part seven (which is the last one!) and my personal congrats for getting this far…