Karl (louderback) wrote,
Karl
louderback

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Suicide *is* painless

Tuesday 28 May
A conversation with my boss filled with innuendo. A dreary day altogether.

     I never thought I would write this. Even in my more outré fantasies, it never occurred to me that I would survive a suicide attempt. My contempt for those who do is abated. I had always thought the "bid for attention" by an inept attempt at suicide the ultimately pathetic expression of ineptitude. It may be, but I have seriously under rated the difficulty of taking your own life without extreme violence. Perhaps there is no peaceful way to die artificially. Perhaps had I done things in my usual style, having done some research, I would have succeeded. Perhaps I would not have tried. Perhaps . . .

     Tuesday following Memorial Day I had one of those conversations with my boss. Nothing much was said, but a great deal was available to be inferred. When somebody, anybody, talks to you, under almost any circumstances, and uses phrases like "reasonable effort" and "about everything" it is only natural to believe that they are reaching the end of what they will do. I add the emphasis because what someone will do and what they can do almost invariably fail to coincide. I took it to mean that I was going to have to find a way to produce or find a new job.

     I suppose I must lay some of the blame for my attempt on that conversation. Not, mind you, that I have a tremendous terror of unemployment nor that I need the job (though, I do). I think rather that it just sort of set the mood for what happened.

     I made it through Tuesday night without a bobble. I slept poorly, but that is hardly noteworthy. I've been complaining on that score for many months (Roaring Chicken: Many, many, many moons! Wild Eagle: You and your moons! Enough with the moons already!) Wednesday I seriously considered not going to work. I didn't feel like it. I was not looking forward to a full day of trying to read COBOL and choking down frustration.

     I didn't make it through the day. About Noon I called for my bus to take me home. My immediate supervisor Karen wandered in and offered me some alternative activity for my time. It was a matter of typing up some "cheat sheet" style documents for how to access various programs, perform some simple tasks, in ISPF. I guess it was a sop to my situation, allowing me to do something relatively productive. I remember listening to her attentively and assuring her that it would be easy to do with complete sincerity. When the bus arrived, there was a certainty in my mind that I'd never have to bother with that assignment. No decision, mind you to commit suicide, just an abstract recognition that that task didn't matter. I got home, watched teevee for a while then went to my room and took a dozen hydrocodone that I had stashed there.

     Y'know, the funny thing about hydrocodone (pain killer) is that it is heavy in Tylenol. Chris has inveighed against Tylenol and it's liver-destroying potentialities that if I had know it contained the stuff I wouldn't have chosen that drug.

     It put me to sleep (sorta) before five o'clock that afternoon. That was the plan - just go to sleep and don't wake. Plans immediately went wrong.

     Around six o'clock my mother woke me up to come and have some dinner. I ate something, I am certain, but I could not tell you what it was. I lay back in my recliner and thought how obnoxious it would be that I was going to die in the living room with my mother in the same room. I couldn't manage to get up and go back to bed, though.

     My stomach did for me what my brain could not - it got my body to get up and go to the bathroom. I spewed a thin mist of whatever I had for dinner into the stool, trying very hard not to urp my hydrocodone away. I didn't bring up much. I wiped my mouth, and turned right instead of left - back to the bedroom.

     At three o'clock Thursday morning, I realized that I hadn't actually slept yet. I never did sleep save before dinner. I went into some sort of vaguely hallucinatory forced-draft mode in which my heart beat very rapidly and my stomach churned. I couldn't think, couldn't move, wasn't functioning at all. Over a period of about thirty minutes (I was lying face to face with my clock) I realized that my over dose wasn't working. Somehow that moved me. I cried a bit and sat up in bed. Staggering badly, banging into the wall a couple of times, and completely blind instead of my usual dim vision I wandered into the living room where the drugs are kept. I rummaged in the basket of pill bottles and found the biggest one. The hydrocodone were 500 mg tablets and came in a very large bottle. I dragged myself into the kitchen, poured a Dr Pepper and finished the bottle, some 20 pills. I made my way back to my bedroom irritated that I had to go to such lengths.

     I'm told that my mother and sister tried to wake me for work Thursday morning. I don't remember it. I have a vague recollection of bright lights. Eventually I woke up in the ambulance when they broke an ammonia ampoule under my nose.

     After that I was just tired. A doctor Rocket handled me in Emergency. He quizzed me about what I took (the EMTs did too) and was quizzical about the fact that I knew with some detail how many pills I took. He asked me if I counted them. Of course not, but what is difficult for him to understand about that my "stash" was twelve - a number one might be expected to know, I think. My estimate of the number of pills left in the bottle was an estimate, but what is odd about knowing that the bottle contained sixty pills when prescribed and that there was about a third of a bottle left. That's twenty pills. The math isn't that complex.

     Treatment consisted of making me drink liquid stench. The substance is called mucomist or something close to that. It smells like brimstone mixed with the worst hair perm you've ever smelled, the odor of rotten eggs, the aroma of a cheese long since gone to its reward and the stench worst fart you've ever been trapped in an elevator with. It tastes worse.

     You will never convince me that the stuff couldn't be cherry flavored and pleasantly aromatic. It was designed to be penance in a bottle. If priests handed out that stuff instead of Hail Marys there would be no venial sin. Liquid Stench bonds with Tylenol and flushes it out of your system. I had to take a dose every four hours 'round the clock for seventeen doses.

     I took two doses in emergency then got shipped off late in the afternoon to ICU. Not that I was all that near to croaking, it was a suicide watch. SOP. I actually felt pretty well other than when I had to drink that crap. My liver was on the fringes of shutting down on Thursday. By Friday morning in the ICU my blood tests (hepatocrit?) were coming back normal.

     I have to interject here that I met an unusual man in ICU. Father Rob, the hospital's Chaplain stopped by. He offered me a blessing. It was the first such offered me since my teens. It was interesting to me how easy I found it to "confess" to him, to tell him what I was thinking, to describe how I felt. I suppose I needed to do so and might well have unburdened myself to a social worker or whoever was about, but it turned out to be Father Rob. It is strange how the icons of our youth remain strong throughout our lives. Priests have a mystique that I thought I had long ago discarded. My suicide has stirred my mind, muddying waters that I had thought clear and sending bottom-feeders darting about like little shining fish scattered at the advent of a shark.

    I left ICU by four that afternoon. My destination was one that I hadn't thought about. Let me correct that ... it is one that I have thought about quite a lot. I was headed for 4 North - the psych ward. Until I saw the locked door, the restricted visiting hours, my family denied admittance, I hadn't realized where we were headed. I had supposed I was headed for something like PCU the post-cardiac unit.

     For long years I have had a fear of such a place. I've a morbid fear that I'll lose my mind. I can't prove I haven't mind you - maybe I'm still in that locked ward and pounding my fingers on the tray table of my bed. I hope not. There is no nightmare that strikes deeper into my soul than a fear of insanity. How hideous would it be to be so far gone from yourself you didn't know what you do? If you didn't know would it bother you? Would you know on some level? Would it claw at the under-edges of your mind scratching a little raw place in your consciousness? Or would you just be gone? Either way it terrifies me.

     I suppose I have watched too many horror movies. I expected a bedlam straight out of one of Vincent Price's flicks. Of course, 'tis not so. It was a fairly pleasant place. The staff was friendly and helpful. I got settled, got the first bath I'd had since Wednesday morning and collapsed into my bed. I slept until the wee hours. I woke early and stayed awake.

     That was probably my only really miserable time in the whole affair. Lying awake in the psych ward wondering how controlled my life was going to be and for how long. I have always been ragingly paranoid. I took it to new heights. They came in at six o'clock to give my morning liquid stench. They took my blood pressure. It was 191 /115 and my pulse was 124. It stayed over 150/100 and 100 until my release.

     The weekend in 4 North was not too bad. They did "group" all day which was nothing more than conversation. Nobody said anything significant, nobody said anything "personal" it seemed to me to be a vast waste of time. The inmates were interesting. I won't describe them nor name them even using the false names I give my doctors or any such. All were people with problems more dire than my own. I somehow failed to take any comfort in that.

     Saturday night was horrible. The mucomist kicked in big time and gave me horrible diarrhea. In conjunction with that the anti-depressent-cum-sleeping-pill left me so very groggy that when I had to shit I couldn't get out of bed. I finally roused myself too late and made it no farther than a trash can near by. It was an incredible blowout. I won't describe it. After falling asleep on the toilet where I was trying to clean myself up, I wandered back to my room and collapsed until awakened around two o'clock for more liquid stench. Shockingly I went back to sleep and didn't wake until the 6 o'clock dose arrived.

    Time in the psych ward was measured by intervals of stench. I can't begin to tell you how foul the stuff was. The nurse brought a dose into the day room and people got up and left. Seriously, no exaggeration, they left.

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      At the end of the day Saturday I begged a pen and paper and began a diary. It will be found one day soon in a community I am going to create called 4North. It will be for anyone who has ever been an inmate in a psych ward. I don't know if it will be interesting or not.

      Sunday found me conversing at length with a number of people. With some I hit it off and with others I did not try. Several people there listened to me rather more avidly than I liked. I am incessant and implacable when it comes to offering unasked advice. This was a place that wanted more than I had to give. One of the inmates actually held me up as an example of what a counselor should be in group and lambasted the facilitator that was present. I don't know what to do with that.

      It was, and is, disturbing to me that I fit in so well in that environment. I don't know if you're supposed to enjoy your time in the psych ward, but I actually did. It was an angsty, hyper-ventilated sort of forced-draught pleasure but it left my mind more rested than the hours of snoozing that I wanted.

      Monday brought a long talk with my psychiatrist. They were considering releasing me (the health insurance was getting antsy). Did I want to go home? No, I didn't. I asked for another day and got it. I can't tell you why. I'd have stayed a month if I could have. Protected environment? I don't know. As well as I fit in and all, I can't say that my enjoyment of the situation made the place at all attractive. You can see I am ambivalent on the subject. I can't figure out how it is that I relaxed there and never calmed down.

      On Tuesday I left around Noon. I gave a couple of people my number. They haven't called. The psychiatrist made me an appointment with a psychologist, one George Blender. My session with him was uninteresting. We talked about anything but suicide. I don't know what happened. I've never actually discussed the whole thing with anyone - not my family, not the shrinks, nobody.

      My homecoming was not notable in any way. Supper and teevee and to bed early. Not any sort of discussion. There was really nothing to say.

      Wednesday was dull beyond toleration. Westerns on teevee and nothing to do. My computer, once my friend, has become a tool. My interest in many things is altered by my stay in 4North. The only event of the day was a phone call from my work. I felt incredibly stressed by the call though it was utterly friendly in tone and conveyed needed information. Somehow calling CORE (the people who handle time off and such) seemed a nightmarish chore. I didn't get around it for another week despite being urged to do so quickly.

      Thursday brought a visit from my aunt. I was terrified of the visit. I know she has had problems with her grandson since his suicide attempt. I didn't want to hear recriminations from her, they would have crushed me utterly. She was so much in my life as an infant that she was "mommy Muriel", a definite surrogate mother. She has said nothing. I wonder if she knows? I don't want to find out. There's another stress point.

      On Friday my sister's boyfriend (it seems to call quadra- and quintra-generians "boyfriend" and "girlfriend") showed up. He is a real relic of the 70's, a quintessential biker with the big beard, the tattoos the do-rag and the whole schtick. I have had only a few days of exposure to him but he is a man of considerable depth. He stayed at the house a few days and was on his best behavior, trying to make a good impression on the family of course. It worked. My sister says he has had little education, but I know an educated man when I talk to one. If he's done it himself, it speaks well for his intellect and for his character. I like the guy.

      I visited Doc Pontiac on Friday as well. Our resident biker was a little miffed that I called my bus instead of letting him take me to the doctor. I wanted to see the bus driver. We are becoming friends. I don't know if we will stay that way. The doctor gave me some extra time. We talked over my medications at some length. and I got to describe to him my heart problem. My pulse has remained high and my blood pressure high as well. Neither is extraordinary but both are high for me. It might be my anti-depressant or a left-over from the hydrocodone. I hope it goes away and doesn't come back.

      Saturday and Sunday were boring days. I spent a lot of time sleeping. I have been sleeping about twelve hours a day just out of boredom. My nights are erratic so I nap frequently during the day, snoring in my recliner. My pulse and BP remain high. It is uncomfortable to awaken with pulse racing as though after a bad dream. My dreams have been epic. I will put some of them down in baddreams but have not done so as yet.

      Monday brought a letter from my other aunt. Filled with Jehova's witness references and an offer of video tapes and the like, I found it most unpleasant. I could not avoid her by ignoring the letter, she phoned a few days later. Ick. This is the woman sent twenty-five dollars a week to Oral Roberts for over a year to pray on my behalf. This was at a time when I was living on skid row and twenty-five a week would have more than doubled my income.

      Tuesday morning was bad for me. I realized that I was going to have to go back to work at some point and it spiralled me into a bad place. My conversation at three o'clock with George Blender picked me up quite a bit. I enjoyed his discussion of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming - it has nothing to do with computers) and Ericksonian hypnosis. I didn't know anyone besides me knew who Erickson's protégé's were. Riding home on the bus my funk returned and turned blue. I enjoyed my conversation with the driver (a different one) but it was so "ordinary" it bothered me. I can't say that is a problem. I think that I somehow feel that I have been cheated out of a life-changing event. Somehow killing yourself unsuccessfully should have more impact on your life. I'm just back to the same old shit.

      Wednesday Dr. Pontiac called with my liver-test results. All good. I am in no more Tylenol danger, it appears. We also adjusted my diabetes meds. I have been rather badly out of control for a while, though the haemoglobin a1c came out 7.9. They like it to be under 7, and 7.9 evidently indicates an average blood sugar around 170 (80-160) is "under control." The rest of the day was spend dozing and crying. I keep doing that. I just burst into tears at any sappy movie moment or just for no reason. It is become a bore.

      Thursday was the day I could finally put this together and begin writing about it. I don't know why this has come out now or in this way. I am really reluctant to post this in my diary but I can't see the point of doing it at all if nobody is to read it. Certainly it doesn't feel at all therapeutic to me save that it is good for me to write at any time.

      I went for another MRI today (Friday) and am finishing up this text. I don't know if the formatting will be a pain or not. I am not sure who I will allow to see this. I'm on the fence about the whole thing. I expect it will be all or nothing.

Wednesday 29 May
Half a day at work and a sop to my vanity that came too late. The day of the long sleep.
Thursday 30 May
"Try, try again . . ." The day it didn't work. An awakening in the ambulance.
Friday 31 May
A day in ICU where I met Father Rob. A night in the psych ward.Relax! There's no religion involved in this post at all.
Saturday 1 June
My first day as an inmate of the psych ward. A day of "group". The night of the blowout.
Sunday 2 June
I began to fit in on 4 North. It's a little disturbing to enjoy your visit to the loony bin.
Monday 3 June
I begin to think of going home. I stayed an extra day, though. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Tuesday 4 June
Homecoming. A conversation with George Blender. Why didn't we discuss the whole thing?
Wednesday 5 June
The phone call from work. The pressure starts to build.
Thursday 6 June
A visit from my Aunt. A day of floating. Heart and pulse problems.
Friday 7 June
Bikers in the house. A visit from Jim-Bob. A trip to Dr. Pontiac. Pulse Racing.
Saturday 8 June
Pulse still racing. A quiet day.
Sunday 9 June
Loafing with a pulse of 110.
Monday 10 June
The letter from my other Aunt.
Tuesday 11 June
A time of hideous reflection. An unpleasant realization. A pleasant conversation with George Blender. A conversation on the bus.
Wednesday 12 June
A call from Dr. Pontiac.
Thursday 13 June
The day I could write about it.
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  • Karl/Bob Louderback

    It is my sad duty to report that my Brother Bob passed away from a heart attack on 1/31/13. I know he had many followers on Live Journal. I thought…

  • I spoke to Lutron today

    I spoke to lutron today. That would be the person, not the corporation. He was on his way to D & D. I haven't done that in more…

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