Some one sent me a message in the past few weeks asking me "how important is it to have safe supplies?" In other words, really Tracey, what is the worst that can happen. These are responses I received on social media. Real stories on what happens when you don't practice harm reduction or get a bad batch. Please feel free to add yours.
I was in a coma from heroin laced with fentanyl, during which had 5 strokes. Have hearing loss (wear hearing aids now) and neuropathy down entire right side of body.
One stroke was a brainstem stroke, put me in a "locked-in syndrome" state until I broke out of it.
II've got really bad cellulitus and have a big open wound on my right forearm and on my left I had the same but it healed and is a huge scar
Like people thought I got a hold of that krokidille (however you spell it) stuff BC of how my arms looked...kinda like a nasty zombie bite or something
A friend of mine had to have open heart surgery from an infection caused by the filter of a cigarette. _____________________________
Let me tell you about the 24 year old kid named Cody who died from endocarditis, AIDS related complications and a type of fungus that you find in Kansas called histoplasmosis. I found his mom and paid for her out of pocket to come see her baby die in my ICU from Texas. He had lesions on his lungs. His mom sobbed at his bedside and I held her. What's sad is that it was his addiction that killed him. Heartbreaking. I wish people could walk a day in my shoes, Trainspotting is a cakewalk compared to what I see. He lived on life support for 8 weeks and we did everything we could to keep him alive. He pooped blood out daily and could not clot and we put enough blood product in him that if took from another person they would be dead. The night he died, a doctor friend held his hand and told him it was ok and that he could go, at age 24...24. The kid shed a tear I heard and he died. He died because he wouldn't get help for his disease. At 24. His name was Cody. Don't be Cody. There is always help.
I had MRSA in my face, scar now. The next part might not need to be shared.... While I was quarantined in a private room, big sign on the door with warnings and rules. I was having a friend bring me dope and injecting it in to my IV. I've had regular cellulitis 2 other times on my face, and once on my breast.....that was extremely nasty and extremely painful, could have lost my breast. That scar is really funky! I was diabetic before I used and always had clean needles. Obviously I didn't have the greatest hygiene then and had a habit of picking at my skin. Insanity. __________________________________
I shot up with water from the cat bowl because i was lazy and had an anaphylactic reaction because i neglected to think of cat backwash and the fact that i'm allergic to cat spit. almost died in my dorm __________________________________
Dirty works and no hygiene lead to Cellulitis infection to the point of sepsis. My body was so infected SFGH doctors had to perform emergency surgery to clean the wounds and cut abscess from my neck wrists and hands. When they had me in triage the nurse could not find a vain for an IV, I became so violent they restrained me, then tilted me so my head was down legs up and forced the IV into my femoral artery. I was so sick they called a surgeon and a priest. This was a level of pain I could not have imagined. My lower legs look like I was severely burned (18 years later the scars are still there) and my neck around my collar bone looks like someone tried to stab me to death. I am missing knuckles in two fingers from the surgery. 3 weeks in the hospital, mostly in the burn recovery unit. I was lucky that I ended up in SFGH, where the trauma care is the best. I still get aches in my joints and can't totally close all my fingers. Hygiene is no joke and the consequences for me are lifelong. I thought I was indestructible. ________________________________________________
How about gangrene in my fingers? I'll never have full use of them
That's as straight as my ring and pinky fingers on my right hand will ever get.
I was just looking through my "this day in the past" thing and it was five years ago today I was sitting in the hospital with the gangrene, waiting to find out if i would lose my fingers, go home, or be transferred to a nursing home because they refused to send a junkie home with a central line, and I needed antibiotics every six hours through it. It's my story, it's my past.