Welcome to my Blog - What Is A Blog?

A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. ... Your blog is whatever you want it to be.

For many years I have kept a journal, which I don't write in as much as I once did. I have an inner yearning to communicate with the world through writing and pictures Part of my motivation is to leave something behind to a world that has given me so much - a mom, dad, brother, grandparents, a loving wife, high spirited and gifted sons, close friends and loyal customers. Most of us have had some help along the way to get where we are. In my 12 step program, step 12 is about giving back to others. I hope there are posts here that will warm your heart, make you smile and make you think. That is what my blog is all about. I hope you enjoy it. Ken

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Getting Ready

It's Friday, March 23rd, less than a week before we leave for Kauai. Sam’s just been released from Omegon and is back in our home. Channa stays busy, as usual: She comes to work, exercises at the health club, and keeps up with the household chores. Now she’s added another item to her list; getting ready for our trip to Kauai.

Sam is always on her mind. At home, she’s trying to do five things at once (her usual m.o.). While doing laundry, she takes our big houseplant, with big green leaves off its rolling stand to water it inside the shower; it’s still frozen outside. Busy, busy, busy and thinking about ten things at once, she forgets about the plant stand sitting on the floor, in the middle our family room. She picks up a big basket of laundry to take upstairs. As she’s walking with the big basket blocking her view, she takes a step forward and her left foot lands on the plant stand (on wheels). The laundry basket flies up in the air and Channa crashes down. The aftermath is laundry all over the place and Channa lying on the ground; it’s been a hard fall. She’s hurt.

I’m at work. The phone rings. It’s Channa and she’s frantic. She tells me what happened; that she’s at urgent care to see a doctor. I can hear in her voice that she’s in a lot of pain. The nurse comes on the phone and says, “You’d better get over here as soon as possible. Your wife needs help and won't be able to drive herself home.”

I call my good friend, an AA friend. When he answers, I say “Bobby, I've got an emergency on my hands. Can you please help me by picking me up and dropping me off at the urgent care center?” Bobby says he can help and comes over immediately. He drives me to the Urgent Care center. When I introduce myself, a nurse ushers me into one of the treatment rooms. I enter the room and see my wife lying on the table. The doctor comes in and says she’s done some serious damage to her left leg. The XRays show no broken bones but he fears there may be muscle damage but won’t know until after she has an MRI. He’s given her Demerol to help kill the. The nurse instructs me to take her home, put her to bed, and make sure she keeps ice on her leg.

Meanwhile, Sam needs to be picked up from school. Thinking of others, as she always does, Channa has already called our good friend Sally. Her older son attends the same school as Sam. Sally is happy to pick Sam up and bring him home. When we get home, Sam acts empathetic to Channa. He helps her upstairs and into bed, brings her some ice and does his best to help her get comfortable. After we get Channa situated, I suggest that we go get Thai food so we can have dinner together. Sam is happy to go.

Although a real bummer that she’s hurt, Channa’s injury causes the boy to step up to the plate and help. I need both boys right now: Sitting down as a family, over dinner has always been important to me. This value, I learned from my mom.

As we're heading to the restaurant Sam says he’s not hungry; is it be okay if I drop him off at Target so he can meet his friend David. I ask him, "Who is David?" Sam says I know him – when he tells me, I say “isn’t he the kid who got kicked out of Omegon?” Now I remember who he is. His parents were in the family support group with us. I remember his dad sharing in group that David had been in trouble for awhile and was even using the needle at one point. I look at my son, straight in the eye and say “Sam; David is not a good kid for you to be hanging around.” Sam counters by saying David really is a good guy and if I really knew him I would think otherwise. I'm stressed over Channa getting hurt and am in no mood for fighting.

I decide to give him some “line” and see what happens. As we pull up into the Target parking lot, I recognize David with a girl I’ve never seen, behind the wheel. Sam gets into the car smiling and waves goodbye.

Zach and I go to the Thai restaurant and pick up our dinner. I’m disappointed but determined not to let Sam sink me. Sam is living in the moment and is only concerned with satisfying his most basic animal instincts. Although I’d like to be in complete control, there isn't much I can do to stop him.

I get a call later in the evening from Sam, checking in to tell me that David’s having a bonfire and asks if he can sleep over. I ask to talk to David's dad. When he comes on the phone he tells me not to worry, that he and his wife will be home all night and keep an eye on the kids. I worry. When I tell Channa what has transpired, she worries too.

It’s Saturday afternoon around two o’clock, I call over to David’s house. His dad answers the phone. I ask to speak with Sam. He says kids were up late and are still sleeping. I ask him to please have Sam to call me just as soon as he gets up. Later in the day Sam calls. He still wants to hang out at David’s house. Channa tells him that he needs to come home and pack for Hawaii. Sam says, “I will.”

Saturday turns to Sunday. Now both Channa and I are angry. It's time for Sam to come home. I'm out running errands and am in the vicinity of David's house - I call over there and his dad tells me that they have left and are on the way over to our house. In between the time it takes for me to get home, Sam shows up at our house with David and his girlfriend. He’s come home to change into clean clothes. When Channa asks him to stay home Sam says he wants to hang out with David.

“Absolutely not,” says Channa. “You’ve been out enough and it’s time for you to get some rest. You have school tomorrow and we’re leaving on our trip next week, and you haven’t even packed yet.” Sam gets defiant. He raises his voice and begins yelling. In less than 24 hours something’s changed: Sam’s acting like an addict again. He's being disrespectful, he’s angry, and is agitated. When Channa asks him if he's been getting high, he answers NO!

Sam gets antagonistic and Channa becomes scared to the point that she locks the door preventing him from coming into the house. While Sam is banging on the door to come in, David goes around back and starts prying on one of the window screens, trying to open it. Channa calls me on my cell: I sense her panic and upset, besides being in excruciating pain from her fall. Sam's takes the phone and before I say a word starts arguing all the reasons WHY it’s okay for him to keep hanging out with David.

I get a gut level feeling that he’s been using. Sam’s agitated. I ask him to send David and his girlfriend home. “You need to get some rest.” “You have school tomorrow.” But I can tell; there’s no room for reasoning. He’s unreachable. I tell him the same thing I said to him when he first came home from treatment: “We have room in our house for a recovering addict but not a practicing one.” The conversation ends with his getting mad and hanging up on me. He takes off again. He’s gone.

I once heard a story at an AA meeting about a Frog and a Scorpion: The Scorpion asks the Frog to carry him across the river. (Scorpions can’t swim). The Frog says, "No way," You'll sting me and I’ll die.” The Scorpion explains to the Frog that there is no way he will sting him because if he does he’ll die too. The Frog still refuses. But the Scorpion is relentless. Once again, he calmly explains he has nothing to gain and everything to lose by stinging him. Finally, the Frog relents and agrees to carry the Scorpion across the river. Halfway across, the Scorpion stings the Frog. The Frog says, "Why did you sting me, now we're both going to die?" The Scorpion explains that he is sorry, “its my nature.” Similarly, when Sam is using, the “nature” in the drugs he’s using take over. His personality changes, from a nice kid to someone I don’t want to know.

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