Saturday, August 8, 2015

Tales from the Crypt

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. 
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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.
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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
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A friend of mine had to have open heart surgery from an infection caused by the filter of a cigarette.
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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.

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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 

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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.
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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. 

6 comments:

  1. Two years ago (when I was still shooting morphine) I woke up on a Wednesday to get ready & head out to work a 16 hour shift. Everything was the norm until when I got out of the shower my leg began THROBBING. I told my Bf that it felt like I got kicked by a sumowrestler & continued off to work.
    About 3-4 hrs. into my shift I had to leave b/c I couldn't stand on my left leg for even a fraction of a second w/o collapsing from the pain. Went to urgent care (not the ER b/c I am stubborn, ignorant, if just plain stupid I guess...but I hate Dr. Offices, hospitals, or anything of the like) they took my temp (102.7), drew a line around the quickly spreading reddish, purple color/swelling & told me if the temp went up AT ALL or the color spread ANY further I was to report to the ER. Oh, I also got a shot in the asscheek of an antibiotic.
    Went home for the night, was woken by my Bf telling me that I was going to the ER with zero choice in the matter.
    The Dr.'s were stumped as to what it was & my dumb ass totally neglected to remember that I had missed 1cc of morphine in my leg. Idk why but it didn't occur to me that that's what it was until I spoke to the anesthesiologist and he asked me what drugs I shot up (the nurse had a hell of a time finding a vein & made a" oh your ambidextrous" remark bc of my tracks on both arms...) that it was an abscess from shooting. Either way, within ten minutes at the ER I was being put under and having a chunk the size of a softball if not a bit larger sliced out of my leg. Prior to the realization of what it was, doctor's were totally stumped and one even brought up Necrotizing Fasciitis (sp?), the flesh eating disease so I was fucking freaking!
    I spent two weeks in the hospital with many different staff treating me many different ways. To some I was a junkie, to others I was still a human deserving of a second chance at life. But, apparently I didn't feel that way because I was giving myself morphine on top of the morphine drip I was receiving every half hour (but, let's face it-my tolerance was way to high at 300mg at least a day for their 4mg shots).
    In fact, this didn't even seem to phase the addict in me because once my dealer passed away from cancer that none of us knew he had I was straight fucked for a week until I found H. Then proceeded to use that for another few years. This disease is relentless and although my story isn't due to lack of hygiene it still reveals one of the many horrors behind it & the grip it can have on your entire being.

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    1. So much for the myth that shooting pills isn't dangerous

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  2. Get a micron filter if you are shooting pills. The amount of filler that gets past the cotton and into the shot is unbelievable! They are so hard to get thiugh v

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    1. micro filters are hard to get. needle exchanges have sterifilt which is a less expensive, more portable version.

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  3. Shooting pills can be horrendous. Honestly it seemed to happen to me a lot. After this episode I learned to have antibiotics all the time, when I felt the familiar pain I would pop them until it was gone. It was more so from the amount of substance I could miss whereas with dope you use a fraction of the amount of water but because it's much dirtier the abscesses happen all the same (&stinker! )

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  4. I REEEAALLY wish my old phone didn't shit the bed because I had some pretty gruesome pictures to go along with my story.

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