Father's be good to your daughters;
Daughters will love as you do
By Charlie G
Week-ends at a detox center are usually pretty quiet,
Barring any new intakes.
This one wasn't.
Not by a long shot.
Patients tend to 'clique up', depending on when they came in,
And what they're detoxing from.
Some detoxes take longer than others.
Methadone, for example, takes a hell of a lot longer,
Than, say, alcohol.
So if two patients came in together, but are detoxing from different chemicals,
They might not bond as well.
One is starting to feel better, while the other is still sick.
But, when they start cleaning out, and cleaning up, their systems,
About the same time,
The Cool Kids Club.
They are getting confident,
They've 'got this'.
They are cocky, giving the newer patients their sage advise.
It is usually staggered.
When they come in, and when they leave.
But some times...
I was driving home from my 'Sober at 6',
My 6pm AA meeting. On the radio,
Delilah, the 'Queen of the sappy love songs,' gets a request for a song,
A girl's Quinceanera is coming up,
In Cuban, and most Latino communities, a girl's 'quince' (15) birthday party,
Is a religious and social occasion that ushers her into womanhood.
It is when a father's 'little girl'
Becomes his daughter.
During the ceremony, the Quinceanera's father changes her shoes,
From flats to heels,
To symbolize the transition.
The first dance is performed by the birthday girl/woman,
And her Dad.
The Mom on the radio was asking for the perfect song,
For a Father's last/first dance,
With his child/daughter.
Deliliha, the queen of the sappy love songs,
picked one, and it started to play;
"Fathers be good to your daughters.
Daughters will love as you do."
"Lovers become Mothers... so,
Mothers be good to your daughters, too."
Joy's Mom was Cuban,
Joy would have celebrated a Quinceanera.
I would have danced our,
last/first song, with her.
I thought of this as the song was playing.
Would she have been a happy person?
Loving? Being able to both give,
And receive it?
Would she have loved as I did?
Would it have been enough?
I thought of that week-end at the detox center.
When so many girls, at the same time, were close to leaving,
So their meds had been reduced,
And with nothing to numb them,
Their personal demons,
Are right under the skin,
And without the usual drug of choice to cover them,
The masks slip.
The Cool Kid's Club is gone.
In it's place is a wounded, scared,
No matter how old she is.
When a patient is close to leaving,
They suddenly feel that they are not done detoxing.
They are still sick,
I explain to them it is the body's, 'flight or fight' reaction.
Going into the unknown,
If they are going on to treatment, or a recovery house.
Or, just plain fear,
If they are going home,
Back to where they had used,
Because while they did not like detoxing,
Being so sick death does not seem as scary.
The fact is that while being so sick,
They had techs and nurses, checking on them,
Giving them medicine and telling them they weren't alone.
And new friends,
Who were going through the same thing.
They had a common bond.
Listening to them,
They felt safe,
And for a lot of them,
It is a first.
Betty Boop, a Cajun lady from Louisiana,
Had finally, finished a very rough detox from oxycontin.
She had been up and about the last few days,
Now, a day away from discharge,
Med seeking, complaining of detoxing,
And asking for more codone.
Then, she told another patient that she had tested the bathroom towel bar.
To see if it would hold her weight.
The patient came and told us.
Talking with Betty Boop, she admits it,
Looking at us expectantly, waiting for our reaction.
She doesn't like it.
We have to call the police and have her taken for a psychological exam.
We have no choice,
Waiting for them, she begs us not to make her leave.
She wants to stay there.
She wants to pay extra to extend her stay.
But she doesn't need us.
Another patient, Eskimo Joe, from Alaska,
Detoxing from morphine,
Has an array of medical problems,
Including a post in her chest, to feed nutrients into her.
She had been grossly over weight, and had, had a gastric by pass.
She has chronic pancreatitis.
She could not hold food down.
She has been to so many hospitals,
Happy here, in her environment.
She came to me complaining because the nurse wouldn't give her meds, early.
You have to wait till it's time, I told her.
"Then how much is it for a cab to the hospital?" She asks.
"Why would you want to go to the hospital?" I asked her.
She pulls her shirt aside and uncovers the bandage over her port,
It's bleeding a little.
Not a lot, but she wants to go to the hospital, a specific hospital.
I explained that her insurance would not pay for that hospital, again.
We would take her to a different one.
But she had already called and gotten approval.
She wanted to go to that particular hospital,
Because she'd been there before.
And got attention,
After transporting her, a third woman,
No nickname for her,
Is also leaving in the morning.
While taking the vitals at 2am, she is awoken.
She is not happy.
She demands drugs to go back to sleep.
The nurse gives her something mild for sleep, but that's not what she really wants.
She is leaving in the morning,
She yells at the nurse, "You Bitches!" When they will not give her more meds.
She screams at me, What an asshole I am.
This lady who I've talked with, for so many nights.
Waking up other patients.
I speak to her, calmly,
Asking her to calm down, think of the other patients.
She does not care.
She goes on for hours,
Calming her down.
Giving her attention.
Returning to her room,
Only to build another head of steam,
And come back out, bitching about everything.
Until morning, and her husband arrives.
Then a transformation.
She greets him,
Starts a litany of complaints,
But he stops her after the first.
Harshly. He's seen this side of her.
As soon as he snaps at her, she is quiet.
The caring and understanding,
Back to reality.
What happened to these women?
What kind of childhood did they have,
That a hospital, or a detox,
Is more appealing than home?
What kind of love did a father show his daughter,
That she would marry, and stay with,
A man who has no empathy,
To show her?
My sponsor taught me,
'When you speak to someone, talk to them as if you are speaking to someone with a broken heart.
You probably are."
'And when someone upsets you,
Wonder what happened in their life to make them the way they are.'
I try to apply this in dealing with people,
Especially at work.
It might be the only positive attention some of them get.
So many damaged people.
So easy, to make it easier.
Writing this, and thinking of Joy, and,
'What could have been.'
I want to add a caveat to what I said about,
'If someone bothers you, before getting mad, wonder what happened to make them that way.'
I lost my daughter Joy, almost 23 years ago, at the age of 3.
And it has scarred me.
If your child bugs you for any reason today,
Before you snap at them,
And you will help teach them to love as you do.