trying one last time to get help

Old 07-06-2008, 07:51 PM
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trying to get help

I am not sure I can take it anymore.

Not only do I live with an addict, he is dying and very sick....he is bedridden and in constant pain as it is.

Last summer I tried to leave, go across country to my family. He ended up in a hospital a few weeks after I left, and they stripped 30% of his skin off due to an alleged necroflesh eating thing. ( a pin hole of gas in his arm) (the ambulance took him to the worse hospital in the area, they screwed him up). In the hospital he got a staph infection that has never healed. He was dirty and living in the streets after the surgery because they kicked him out of the hospital too soon. (I was sending him money to help from across country but I should have come back immediately) After about 5-6 weeks, I came back across country and set up a place so he could get off the streets and clean his wounds and eat. I was confused, thatís why it took me so long to get back. I was trying to get him to come across country to me, as I had better medical connections from my family but he couldnít get his ID together to fly, I guess I should have flown back and helped him but I was an idiot.

About a week before I did finally come back, he did end up in a shelter downtown but he would have to wait all day for transport to the hospital where he had to go for intravenous antibiotic treatment. Often he wouldnít get to shower or eat. They were only allowing him at the shelter for his treatments. There are very few provisions shelters or help where i live.

Heís been living here with me since November.

Itís been months he wonít heal and no matter what I try, he wonít go to a doctor, he just says there is nothing they can do, he has a staph infection that has spread to his blood. He says it will get worse and he wonít live too much longer. He has been trying to prepare me for months to realize that he is going to be gone soon. Everyday I have to hear about how much worse he is getting and he is going to die soon, he IS very bad, that is for sure.

He takes knives from the kitchen and slices his wounds (he says he is cleaning them). There is blood on knives and blood elsewhere. I was trying to keep the knives hidden, he uses scissors sometimes. He says he has to clean the wounds. But he wonít properly bandage them, though I have bought bandage.

So I make sure heís fed and has everything he needs. But he says because heís on methadone they wonít give him painkillers (itís true, methadone is so lucrative for doctors they put anyone in chronic pain on it now, even if they have no drug history, itís awful)

Meetings do nothing for me. I canít afford therapy and crises lines are of no help.

Now I just found out he told someone in our building he has cancer and they have given him until Xmas. I know he is sick and dying from a staph infection in the blood but I didnít know he has cancer. Although often he has told me he has until about Xmas if heís lucky It is his dying wish for me NOT to call the ambulance because they will take him to the area hospital which is known to be the worse hospital.

Please help - I am sick of hearing the hard line let him die that is WRONG. He has no family, I am it. You donít let sick people die on the streets, even if they are addicts.

Last edited by faithfully; 07-06-2008 at 08:07 PM. Reason: too negative and too long
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Old 07-06-2008, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by faithfully View Post
Please help or I will give up. I am sick of hearing the hard line let him die that is WRONG. He has no family, I am it. You donít let sick people die on the streets, even if they are addicts. And BS to there being help for people, there is no help here, the shelterís are full and government cut backs mean less and less help for the less fortunate, sick and addicted.
Yeah, it is a hard line, but no harder that realizing that I'm not Jesus, I can't save anybody. Period. It is a terrible fact, but we do let, as a society, sick people die on the streets every day. You can't put them away for their own good. It sucks, and you have my condolences, but there really is nothing you can do beyond telling the other what you think. The rest is up to them.
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Old 07-06-2008, 08:20 PM
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I am so sorry.... what a terribly horrible situation.

First of all, please stop beating yourself up. True, he needs help; and true, you may very well be all he has left. But the truth of the matter is that you had no way of knowing any of this was going to happen. You did the right thing by trying to get away from him. I commend you for trying to take care of him in his hour of need, but just remember that he got himself into this situation. Even if he was not trafficking as the charges say, he was clearly involved in something that should not have happened... this, just like anything else that happens to an addict, is his own fault.

Secondly, I know I sound like I have no heart. Let me assure you that I find myself pitying my sister, who is my addict, more than I care to discuss, because it puts me back into a depression. But why is it fair that you should beat yourself up over his choices?

Remember the three C's: you didn't cause it, you can't cure it, you can't control it.

Even in regards to the doctor's visits, there is nothing you can do if he won't go.

Please don't be offended by me saying this, but how do you know that what he told this other person about having cancer isn't more indicative of his lack of a deadly disease? How does he know that the staph infection has spread to his bloodstream if he hasn't gone to a doctor? And lastly, if he really wants to die, so that he is no longer in pain, why is he "cleaning" his wounds (which I still don't understand if the infection is beyond his control)?

I know you don't want to upset him while he is so sick, but can you talk to him, and try to give him an ultimatum? If he's not going to take care of himself by going to a doctor, why should you put anymore of your energy into helping him?

Like I said, I really don't mean to be heartless... it's just that I would hate to see you fall any farther down his path of destruction. Either way, I'm praying for you.
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Old 07-06-2008, 08:32 PM
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down the rabbit hole
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I'm so sorry to hear of your struggles - sending hugs and prayers. I went thru something similiar with my father, though not nearly as extreme, and I wasn't living with him at the time. But after a few days of cleaning up blood, vomit and other bodily "items" - I said no more and called 911. He was in the hospital for a month, they told me he would die within a few days, but miraculously, he survived. Flash forward 3 years, and he is still doing the same old stuff he did that brought him to that low - drinking, smoking, poor nutrition, poor hygenie, no AA or therapy or any attempts to better his situation. My point being - you sound like a wonderful person and an amazing friend - but unless this man decides he wants help and wants to get better, I'm not sure what more you could do for him. is it worth your own sanity and peace of mind, to be surrounded by this constantly? If he's not even willing to seek help? Can you do anything to get some distance from this situation? To seek some help for yourself? Maybe a counselor could direct to some more resources that might be of help...
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Old 07-06-2008, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by faithfully View Post
It is his dying wish for me NOT to call the ambulance because they will take him to the area hospital which is known to be the worse hospital.
If you can't take it any more, the worst hospital is better than no hospital if he's that critical. They usually have social services departments and maybe you can call them, ask what are the options. If he's a danger to himself and it sounds like it, they might be able to keep him longer than usual.
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Old 07-06-2008, 08:51 PM
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I wish I could wave a magic wand and everything would be perfect.....BUT...there were some things that you said that struck me; things that I may be able to address, so here goes..........

"...Not only do I live with an addict, he is dying and very sick....he is bedridden and in constant pain as it is..."
"...he says because heís on methadone they wonít give him painkillers (itís true, methadone is so lucrative for doctors they put anyone in chronic pain on it now, even if they have no drug history, itís awful)..." ---- well, yes, methadone is used to aid addicts through withdrawal and early recovery,methadone IS also a pain medication.....just a li'll fyi....

"...Itís been months he wonít heal and no matter what I try, he wonít go to a doctor, he just says there is nothing they can do, he has a staph infection that has spread to his blood. He says it will get worse and he wonít live too much longer...Now I just found out he told someone in our building he has cancer and they have given him until Xmas..." ---- he says, he says, he says, etc., etc., etc. but like ladyamalthea said, how do you know what he's saying is the truth.....addicts lie ya know (lol), and I do believe I smell some porkies in his words....

"...He takes knives from the kitchen and slices his wounds (he says he is cleaning them). There is blood on knives and blood elsewhere. I was trying to keep the knives hidden, he uses scissors sometimes. He says he has to clean the wounds. But he wonít properly bandage them, though I have bought bandage..." ---- this one to me is the most is something against which you can work.....if he truly is harming himself, do you not have commitments procedures over there that allow family members to have someone else in the family committed; for a 72 hr observation time, at least....this may be very helpful, for both of you..... (o:

"...I am sick of hearing the hard line let him die that is WRONG..." ---- Unfortunately, with the exception of my last paragraph, we really don't have any power over others, especially addicts. I know that line comes off as very callous, but sometimes we have to back off and let the person do what they need to do, even if that is to die (....our own lives and sanity are involved too).

As other have said.....we didn't cause it; we can't control it; and we can't cure it.....

Thoughts & Prayers off 2u
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Old 07-06-2008, 10:42 PM
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Seems to be nothing then but to live in the horror

Thank you for everyoneís responses.

I know lots about Methadone, and have done much research. It is supposed to be a painkiller however, not only is it the most addictive substance in the world and harder to get off than heroin, it is not very effective for pain for many people (if not most people). However, it is very lucrative for doctorís and pharmacists and that is why they are trying to get people who are NOT ADDICTS put on it for chronic pain - $$$ speaks so much louder than true caring.

I have done LOTS of research into chronic pain and the war drugs and the witch hunt on doctors who give out painkillers. It is a very real, very horrific issue right now in Canada and the US. The denial of people to have painkillers when they are in pain is so cruel I cannot even imagine. And then to profit on their pain by giving them a substance so addictive as methadone....itís sickening.....

Re: Social services, there is very little if any help out there including social services. I have talked to social services, hospital social workers, including staff at drop in centres, shelters etc. many times. You are VERY LUCKY indeed if you can get a social worker that has time/resources to help. Like all other public, medical facilities in Canada, they are understaffed, overworked and underpaid.

I have time and again heard exasperated social workers tell me that yes it really is very hard for anyone, especially in the area I in live in, to get help. Unfortunately I cannot afford to live in an area where there are more provisions.

As for the hospital, first, never would I ever, go against somebodyís last wish. Nor can I legally. I am not married not family.

Secondly, as for staying in that hospital (or most hospitals now) it is NOT SAFE - as they are all extremely dangerous for MRSA for anyone who is old, very young or has a compromised immune system, it is dangerous for these people to have long hospital stays. They are constantly having front page news about how the hospital ONCE AGAIN gave someone MRSA staph infection. I could cite you numerous resources but you get the idea.

I understand not wanting to see the horror. I understand wanting to believe that methadone and social workers and hospitals can help. I understand that the whole idea of turning our backs and letting them die so we can actually really help them could appear to be the right answer. I understand wanting to protect ourselves first, before helping another. I understand that believing that letting someone die in pain seems to be the right thing if they are an addict.

Thank you, for listening and sharing and that I appreciate more than you can ever know.
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Old 07-06-2008, 11:07 PM
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I think you are misunderstanding us. No one here is saying that it is right to let anyone die in pain, addict or not; nor are we disillusioned about whether or not there are resources out there that can help your friend. It's just that we, as friends and family of addicts, have been trained by naranon, alanon, and other support groups to try to put ourselves first. After all, are we any good to the addict if we ourselves are not taken care of?

Please understand that there is nothing in the world wrong with helping yourself first. While it may sound selfish, in a case like yours, taking care of yourself can be the most selfless thing you do. You may not realize it, or want to hear it, but you are almost definitely enabling him somehow. The tone of your posts gives it away. Being there to clean up after him so that he does not have to see just how disgusting his habits have become is not helping him. It may seem like it, but that just means he does not have the consequences of leaving urine-filled bottles and puddles of blood all over the floor. No consequences= no reason to learn to do better. Ever heard the phrase, "why buy the cow if the milk is free" ? Well, for an addict, that becomes "why change as long as there is someone around who will keep me from falling" ?

So, are we suggesting that you should turn your back and let him die so that you can actually help him? No. What we are suggesting is that you don't deserve to be making yourself so miserable by putting yourself in this situation. I don't care how bad that hospital is... if that hospital is so bad, get in a car and drive to the closest one that is acceptable. Not all hospitals are as bad as the one nearest to him. And if he is that determined to not find a better one to go to, then he has made his choice, and you are only harming yourself by staying put.

We really have your best interest at heart; honest, we do.

*hugs and prayers*
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Old 07-06-2008, 11:43 PM
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Have you seen the actual lab results on him?

He sounds like he is telling a grandiose story about a treatable staph condition... then exxagerating it even more to the neighbors by telling them he has cancer... all the while knowing that the story would get back to you so that he can further control you by keeping you freaked out.

If he is cutting his skin, that is a suicidal tendency of a "cutter." Not only has he endangered himself even more, but the risk of you getting the staph infection is giant-huge. Don't fool yourself... Although he has a medical condition, if he refuses to go to the doctor he is playing you, using what little he really knows about his own condition to manipulate you and blow up your fears and inflate his own irrational beliefs, and you are buying into it.

If his MSRA staph is so bad, the CDC and Mayo clinic really need to know about it. It would seem that the doctor that he did see would be legally obligated to report it. Doctors don't stay in business by hiding lethal staph cases... but most staph are treatable.

If he is deliberately cutting himself, he is exposing you and anyone else that comes into your place to that infection (which could be perceived as a malicious attempt to harm or do even worse to you by exposure...), and deliberately making things more difficult than they need to be.

Sorry to be so blunt, but you are really being played by this guy. I'm not saying to throw him out into the streets, but all this drama is not necessary. Staph is a treatable condition and people recover from it all the time with appropriate medical treatment. I should know... several years ago my child developed staph that grew from the sinus' into the skull. That is the worst kind and with the right treatment my child is staph free for eight years now.

This guy is a drama king and has you under his manipulation. You might tell him that you are going to follow up with his doctor to report the case to the CDC or Mayo clinic just to see what his reaction will be, but he will come up with some cockamame story to try and persuade you to not do that (you see, he doesn't want all his exaggerations to be found out).

He sounds like he has a lot more problems with mental illness than with staph... and cancer? Come on... he just wanted to get more sympathy from you. Do yourself a favor and quit justifying his deplorable behaviors... there is no excuse for him taking the chance of exposing you to staph like that... get him out of your home if he is cutting himself because you are really opening yourself and anyone else that comes to your place up for contamination.

His behaviors and medical conditions are not your fault. Your responses to the extreme situation that you are continuing to allow yourself to be party to are the only thing you can do something about. You are "buying into" his unrealistic thinking... Don't be naieve... the risk factor for contamination and infection to you is too great... He needs professional help and this perception that there is no where to turn and hospitals are all bad... well, for you, the risk of getting him appropriate medical help far outweighs the liability you are taking on with a cutter living with you, spreading his infected blood all over your utensils and household items, and possibly cutting himself so he bleeds to death in your home... what do you really think your life would be like if you got infected or had a suicide on your hands? If you know he is cutting himself and do not talk to a qualified professional to see what your options are to interrupt the bad pattern that is taking place in this situation, how would you feel if he cut just a little too deep one day and ended up not living through it? Guess what? That is exactly where this is headed if somebody does not interrupt this cycle!

Tough reality check, I know, and sorry to be so forceful about this point but you reached out with this information and I could not sit idly by and not at least try to offer thoughts to help you understand the liklihood of contamination to you, shed some light upon the path of his self-destructive self-mutilation/cutting behavior, and let you know that there are some very serious and lifelong consequences you are holding in your hands right now. Be wise in your decisions and gain an understanding of the consequences of them... do not base your decisions on pity. Pity is not wisdom.

I hope the best for you.
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Old 07-07-2008, 12:02 AM
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Do you have Hospice care in your area?

Prayers for peace for the two of you
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Old 07-07-2008, 07:48 AM
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I too wanted to suggest that you check into Hospice. He could be cared for at home and would be evaluated by a doctor.............

but my primary concern from your post is YOU, if he has MRSA you must know that it is highly infectious and you are putting your own health at risk................please be careful wash your hands and clean all surfaces with 1/2 strength bleach..................
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Old 07-07-2008, 08:30 AM
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If he is taking knives and cutting himself, that is called self-mutilation. Look it up on the internet and see if it fits his situation. Might give you another angle on what is happening with him. It sounds like he really needs to be somewhere that he can get professional help. You are not equipped to deal with his issues no matter how much you love him, care about him and feel sorry for him. You can't help because he won't help himself. I hope you find a way to take care of you. Your life is just as important as his. Sending prayers, Marle
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Old 07-07-2008, 02:56 PM
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I would think if he has a blood staph infection, he would be running a fever, and very very sick indeed.
In my opinion, as soon as he has difficulty breathing, or has any change in his status, I would call 911.

And I am sorry but since being duped over and over by various drug dependent people in my close family, I lack a good deal of trust. I sure would be attending those Drs. visits with him, and ask him to sign a release of information so I had access to all his records.

You sound extremely kind and caring. Hopefully he is as ill as he states, but seriously I have a hard time trusting without secure, and positive evidence that what he states is true.
Please remember, if he has MRSA and he is using your knives, and whatever to secrete body fluids, YOU are at risk of deveoping the disease, also.

He also is NOT eligible for Hospice unless he is deemed terminally ill by a physician, and Hospice care is ordered.
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Old 07-07-2008, 04:35 PM
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One time a few years back my younger sister had breast cancer. Now she really did have the surgery and the chemo, etc. At that time my mother was living with her and taking care of her two children. When my sister was seeming to get better my mom was going to move back to her hometown. Well my sister could not lose her live-in babysitter and so she developed terminal brain cancer. Told everyone that she would die within a year. Had my mother beside herself trying to do everything to make my sister happy. My mom would watch the children on weekends while my sister visited her boyfriend in another city. My mom would call me and tell me how she was worried about my sister having a seizure and getting into an accident while driving. To make a long story short, my sister did not have brain cancer, she was not going to die. She just wanted my mom not to move away. She was manipulating. I later asked my mom if she ever went with my sister to her appointments and she said no. Could be something similar is happening to you. Hugs, Marle
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Old 07-07-2008, 05:45 PM
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i am so sorry you are in the situation you are in. i feel so bad for you. i have to agree with the others tho, you can do nothing for him if he will not help himself. i thnk i would tell him that he has to go to the dr so he can be treated.YOU really need to know what is wrong with him instead of him just telling you. please do this before you are sick yourself. i will say prayer for you both.
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Old 07-07-2008, 06:10 PM
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I am very sorry for your pain. It sounds to me like this man has a serious mental illness. I have posted a link here for you.

Cutting is a hallmark of borderline personality disorder, as is addiction and the general 'victim' mentality. I'm not saying this is his problem, just that some of the information you may find here may help you. I am not trying to be cruel, just realistic.

It seems to me that you are taking way too much responsibility for the mess this man's life is in. You are not God and you cannot save him from himself. Why do you feel like you owe him your life?

What about YOU? YOUR life? YOUR health?

You are not married, you are not family. Why is that you think all this is somehow your fault and you are the only one who can help him? Is that what he tells you?

IF he does indeed have MRSA, he is putting you in very real danger. Why is that OK with you?
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Old 07-07-2008, 08:59 PM
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your pleas are well advocated and your an uncommon person. i too wish i could offer a magic wand. as it is, from all the caring posts already offered, there is nothing that i can add that has not been said already in a careful manner. i am sorry for the days that you and your friend are living through now.

your love for your fellow being is remarkable and strong. I can offer that in your strength please look also at your own humanity. when we give ourselves in service like you have chosen it is only sensical to see that service through to a completion that is worthy of your original efforts.

please allow yourself a decent appraisal of your complete goals with your friend. realizing difficult truths is never a failure no matter how powerless we seem to be in the face of it all moment to moment.
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Old 07-07-2008, 11:27 PM
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Thank you again, you are all very caring. I thank you so much for taking time out of your lives to offer your words of experience and sharing and caring to me a stranger. I do wish you all the best. I will read and reread the posts. I know that taking action will be near impossible. But maybe I will find the strength. I do feel I may be getting sick myself. Not from the staph (I am actually very very careful, wear disposable gloves when cleaning, do not share any personal items and all utensiles are cleaned and double cleaned in a very hot dishwasher. I bleach door handles etc and clothing and bedding and cover all cuts with prescribed antibiotic cream and bandaids as well as wash my hands many many times throughout the day). I feel I am getting sick just from depression. I have completely isolated myself. I have no energy and cannot make decisions. I know you all have felt the same thing. I truly believe that the understanding of addiction is so primitive and that judgementalism gets in the way of finding true solutions. When I hear of people 4 and 5 times in rehab I think that rehabs don't help. Maybe harm reduction helps. I also think that the government and powers that be (cartels etc) want there to be drugs on the street. It is sick but true. They are making huge dollars and simply are tied in to very high levels of powerful money people who are also tied into high levels of government, policing and the army. Sorry but I am a bit of a conspiracy theorist. The drugs are so readily available where I live that you can order up crack and down and get it in less time than pizza delivery.
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Old 07-08-2008, 12:00 AM
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I hope you can detatch from the conspiracy theory thinking long enough to realize that regardless of whether there actually is or is not some kind of great big conpiracy picture going on ... it doesn't matter because no conspiracy can touch what goes on inside your head and in your day to day decision making process. The conspiracy thinking is something you most likely started believing because you heard it so much from your addict. Now that same irrational thinking is what you are using to manipulate your own personalself! Your mind is following the twisted pattern of thinking that your addict had laid out for you... bless your heart... I would encourage you to detatch emotionally from your situation for a moment and really seek clarity regarding the circumstances that you have surrounded yourself in.

You are not trapped by this person, nor are you a victim of circumstances or conspiracy. I would encourage you to stop focusing so externally... you have named lists of reasons why things are so bad for him and for you... bad hospitals, corrupt doctors, government corruption, the bad neighborhood, the army... you and your addict are not victims of any of this... you are simply two people who are going through tough times and are also dealing with difficult consequences that occured because of decisions you made along the way.

You could probably write a novel on outside forces you feel are working against you or your addict, but until you deal with your inner issues you will remain stuck and spiral deeper into the abyss of addiction. Please remember, addiction is a lethal disease that seeks to imprison, destroy and kill any life it touches... you must start using the tools at hand to combat this horrible disease... the 12 steps are a good start.

Bring it down, sister, and say the serenity prayer until you can mumble it in your sleep:
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference."

Start working the 12 steps and leave the excuses and justifications behind. You can do it.
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Old 07-08-2008, 12:51 AM
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I feel I am getting sick just from depression. I have completely isolated myself. I have no energy and cannot make decisions. I know you all have felt the same thing.

Some of us have gotten sick to the point of hospitalization - many of us have ended up with medication. I ended up with a heart condition from the constant adrenaline in my system. THIS is why we say take care of US first... we can't help them if we die first!

Of course none of us wants him to die - but like Moose, I've discovered something about "them" and "us"....they lie and we believe the lies.

His absolute refusal to see a physician is very, VERY suspicious to me. He keeps you entirely in the dark about the true nature of his condition, and does not for even a MINUTE consider the danger he might be putting you in, if he really did have a blood borne illness? Leaving bloody knives around... that sounds like grandstanding and drama - letting you see how much damage he's done. And now, telling neighbors information that he won't give you directly? What is up with that?

Rehabs are not intended to "cure" anything - they are like little schools of instruction that help addicts understand addiction, break through delusion and denial and get some tools to help them with relapse and recovery. Repeated rehab says to me that the addict WANTS help... not that the rehab has failed.

Meetings only help if I am willing to take the information handed me. I was told I didn't cause addiction, that I couldn't CONTROL addiction and that I could never CURE addiction. Seems like a simple concept, but I find myself falling back into believing I CAN control it from time to time - that is a natural bent we codependent people have. That is OUR illness, which conveniently fits quite nicely with the addicts self-serving need to be cared for.

You sound very much in pain... just as the addict who lives with you is very much in pain. It sounds like you could use a break.... just as your addict could use a break. Most of us have found some help in the 12 step recovery programs - both codies and addicts. But what we cannot do is make anyone "willing".... neither your addict, or you.

For me, that willingness came from pain. MY pain. MY desperation. MY fear. MY loneliness. In that way too, we are like the addict. We come into recovery for selfish reasons.

I wish I could give you the name of a program that could guarantee addiction recovery... but I can't, because recovery is personal and up to EACH PERSON. And it comes from within.

You came all the way across the country to rescue him... yet he was somewhat ok in a shelter when you arrived. And it was from information you got from HIM that made you jump to try and fix his mess.

Addicts are sly, wiley, crafty and wise. They can manipulate and manage others very well - that is how they survive in the horrible world of addiction. Knowing that helped to let my children go, when I had to, knowing that though they were in a dark place - they were not alone. They each have a Higher Power, and they each have some very good basic survival skills. From the sounds of it, your addict friend has those skills, too. He may be dying - but then, aren't we all?
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