In 2000 I was in a terrible car accident and broke 123 bones in my body. By the looks of the vehicle, anyone who saw it guessed no one could have possibly survived. Somehow I did. I was awake when they finally pried me out and I remember saying something about being late to my brother’s soccer game now. I had no feeling in my legs.
A few days later I opened my eyes in the hospital with limited movement capabilities. My head was cloudy and pumped full of morphine. From my waist down felt like the pins and needles of hitting your funnybone. My mother and father were sitting next to me. My mother wept quietly as she told me I would be confined to a wheelchair for a while because my spinal cord had been badly damaged. I knew that by, “a while” she meant the rest of my life. I told her not to cry, that it would be o.k. She kissed my forehead.
My father stood stoic in the corner of the room, with a sad look of fear that I had never seen on him. He sat down at the end of the bed and told me how much he loved me and how thankful he was that I was alive. Soon the nurse came in and told them to come back in the morning after the doctors did some tests.
The next few days were excruciating. The pins and needles below my waist got worse and worse with each passing day. Morphine was my only solace.
I was released from the hospital 3 weeks later with a host of prescriptions. The pain would never go away. I went back to school in a wheelchair, but soon dropped out because the drugs were too heavy on my mind. I sank into a dark depression and not long after, replaced my morphine prescription with heroin. Heroin, she was exactly what the name describes. She was my heroin. I no longer thought about life as a cripple. Or the things I could no longer do. The pain within me melted away with the mere sight of a needle. I did a pretty good job of hiding my junk from my family. They were so used to seeing me depressed and on drugs that they barely noticed the shift in my pain medicine.
Heroin became my only reason to live. For years after I first got my wings, I would wake up from a nod and call my “friends” to come pick me up and take me to the park. I spent countless hours in the park panhandling, mainlining, and watching children play with youthful legs.
One morning around three a.m., I woke up on my parent’s living room floor covered in smelly black puke and a needle in my leg. My mother was on the phone and my father was sitting on the couch with his head in his hands. They thought I was dead. When I groaned, my father looked at me with the most thoughtful eyes I had ever seen. Heroin, my heroin, the relief of all my pain and hopelessness, had become my death knell. The ambulance picked me up and I spent another two weeks in a hospital before being shipped off to a treatment center.
I have been off the juice for 6 months now, thanks to this place. If my mom and dad are reading this, I just want to say I’m sorry. I never intended to cause you so much pain or cost you so much money. I have disappointed you. But Mom and Dad, if you can find it in your hearts to forgive me, I will do everything in my power to repair all the damage and become the son you once had. I love you.