At the age of 22 I was in a bad car accident and broke one hundred twenty-three bones in my body. The paramedics who arrived first said that by the looks of the car they guessed no one could have possibly survived. Somehow I did. I was awake when they found me and I remember saying something about my phone being off the hook and I needed to call my dad. I had no feeling in my legs.
A few days later I came to in the hospital with a very limited range of movement. 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 struggled to hold back tears as she told me I would be confined to a wheelchair for a while because my spinal cord had been badly damaged. I knew when she said, “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 still 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. The nurse soon came in and told them to come back in the morning after I’d been through some tests.
The next few days were excruciating. The burning feeling below my waist got worse and worse with each passing day. Morphine was my only hope.
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 school soon dropped out of the picture because the drugs were too heavy on my mind. I sank into a black hole of 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 without legs. Or the things I could no longer do. The pain I was to endure for eternity melted away with the mere sight of a needle. I did a pretty good job of hiding my heroin habit from my family. They were so used to seeing me depressed and on drugs that they could barely notice the imposter in my pain medicine.
Heroin became my new priority in life. 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, shooting junk, and watching children play with youthful legs.
One morning around 3 a.m., I woke up on my parent’s dining 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 defeated eyes I had ever seen. Heroin, my lady in white, 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 junk 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 wanted to cause you so much pain or cost you so much money. I have betrayed you. But Mom and Dad, if you can find it in your souls 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.