Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Regrets

My friend overdosed last week.

She was addicted to pills; a week out of her second stint in rehab. Before she went the first time, we hung out together on a few occasions. "I'm always home," she would tell me as we said goodbye. "Come over anytime!" But I didn't.

As she lay unconscious in the ICU, I picked up her children from daycare. We played on the floor of their home until her oldest looked at me and asked for his Mommy. Then I scooped him up to sit close and read The Big Red Barn. I didn't know what to feed him. Can a two-year-old eat regular food? Can he go up and down the stairs by himself? I've forgotten.

Her heart stopped, and was started again.

When I saw her, she had finally regained consciousness. She still couldn't breathe on her own, and a tube stretched down her throat to keep her alive. Her lips were dry; her arms in restraints. She looked at me with big doe eyes that rolled back into her head, and I wasn't sure whether she recognized me or not. As I spoke to her, she writhed in discomfort, and for a moment she reminded me of a baby animal.

"Get better," I pleaded as I said goodbye.

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