The Sunday New York Times this week has three front page stories that disturbed me:
President Claims Shooting as a Hobby, and the White House Offers Evidence
By PETER BAKER and MARK LANDLER
In a photo released by the White House on Saturday, President Obama is shown skeet shooting at Camp David in August 2012.
This somehow feels like pandering to the creeps. “See, I shoot guns too!” Ugh. But then, I suppose this is what is necessary to reach the level of ridiculous but scary, gun people who cling to this archaic 2nd Amendment of the Constitution. Whatever.
In Hard Economy for All Ages, Older Isn’t Better … It’s Brutal
Susan Zimmerman, 62, has three part-time jobs.
Then this article – of course struck close to home because, um, that’s me they are talking about, at least, could be. Of course, as that annoying mantra goes: I’m “lucky to have a job”. In fact I am lucky to have a job that I love – but when I thinking of my fellow ‘boomers’ under or unemployed and struggling, it sucks. And, as bookstores struggle to survive against the Amazon tide, who knows how soon it might be me.
Drowned in a Stream of Prescriptions
By ALAN SCHWARZ
Before his addiction, Richard Fee was a popular college class president and aspiring medical student. “You keep giving Adderall to my son, you’re going to kill him,” said Rick Fee, Richard’s father, to one of his son’s doctors.
But this article affected me the most. Beautifully, it was given front-page-center.
Unlike Richard Fee’s, my husband’s addiction was kickstarted not by doctors but by the choices he made during his life-in-the-fast-lane 1980s. But the story I share, along with so many families across the country, is how we were so badly failed by the professionals who were supposed to help us, and how tragically undermined we were by the pharmaceutical industry.
Before I knew why my husband couldn’t keep a job, slept for 12 hours at shot, spent too much money and behaved so erratically, we went, upon my insistence, to a string of psychiatrists who prescribed a rainbow of drugs, including anti-depressants. He happily took them, adding them to his other cocktail of cocaine, Nyquil and whatever else. When I found out about the cocaine, we went to another shrink who prescribed more pills including anti-psychotic drugs that he popped at an alarming rate — I admit, I counted them. When I called the shrink, he brushed it off despite the dire warnings on the bottle. Once I brought went to a walk-in clinic and ranted at a doctor who’d prescribed oxycotin. “He’s an addict!” I yelled. “You just hand this shit out like this?” Yes, they do.
A few months after my husband’s suicide, the posh rehab place where my husband had spent a (useless) week, sent me a bill of a few hundred dollars not paid by insurance. I insisted they send me his records first, then I’d pay the bill. (If I recall correctly, I had to send them a copy of his death certificate.) Reading through the fat file was heartbreaking for it’s lack of information. Multiple choice boxes as diagnoses, rarely a comment and rarer, any insight. He had the doctors, (who I remember he said, he rarely saw) as he had me for so long, completely snowed. They’re good like that, addicts are.
I understand that an addict must want his recovery. My husband saw those doctors only because I insisted he do so. He wanted to appease me, to keep things going – the illusion of a normal life. I think he thought one day he would be able to quit, that he’d get his life back – but twenty years was just too many – the man he had been, might have become – was gone.
I don’t mean to bash the entire psychiatric or pharmaceutical industry as I have benefited from both — but I have many questions and suggest that everyone should.
One thought on “I Read the News Today, Oh Boy.”
Oh Tricia. It is dangerous to the soul to read the news, isn’t it? I try to screen, knowing myself, but it gets through. I walked with a friend today whose mother is elderly and had been acting “funny” recently. Her kids took a look at her meds-cocktail and pushed for a reduction. She’s more herself now. Why does medication monitoring fall to family members? Love to you… XO