It sounds like you’re living a very unstable life right now,” Roger observed. “How did you get addicted to opiates?”
“It all started in high school. I think I was around fifteen years old at the time. Opiates are not the first drug I ever took. I’m no angel. When I was twelve my friends and I started smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol. Sometimes we’d even steal some of our parents’ prescription drugs.
Then, at a party I met another girl and got into a physical fight with her. During the fight she pushed me down stairs leading to the second floor of the house. I fell all the way down the stairs until I landed on my back in the stair well. I lied there and don’t remember how long I remained unconscious. When I finally ‘came to,’ I was lying on a hospital bed. I could see a doctor and a nurse standing over me.
When he could see that I had regained consciousness, the doctor began to speak to me. He was an older man, probably in his mid-forties. His hair was short and was a salt-and-pepper color. He wore dark rimmed glasses.”
‘You are very lucky girl,” he said. “You took a very bad fall and could have been seriously injured. There are a lot of nasty contusions on your shoulders and back, but there doesn’t appear to be any paralysis or permanent injury to your back or spine. I will be sending you for some x-rays just to be on the safe side. How is your pain?’
“I tried to move and let out a scream of pain. ‘Very bad,’ I told the doctor. He took out a prescription and wrote me a prescription for OxyContin. As soon as I took my first OxyContin I felt wonderful. The pain was still there, but I felt like I was floating on a cloud. I didn’t have a worry in the world. From that point on I was an opiate addict,” Glenda said. “Roger, do you mind if I go outside for a smoke. A cigarette might help me to calm down.”
“No. go right ahead. Glenda, do you like dogs?
“I love dogs,” Glenda answered.
My old dog Buddy is in the backyard. He’s a very old black Labrador retriever, but he still enjoys going for a walk. Would you be able to take Buddy for a walk while you are having your smoke break?”
“Absolutely. I’d love to. I didn’t know that you owned a dog, Roger. I could hear some barking outside, but I assumed it was a neighbor’s dog,” Glenda replied.
“After your walk you can bring Buddy in the house. He is a little shy of people he doesn’t know, but after you’ve spent a lot of bit of time with him, he’ll love you. Especially, if you take him for a walk,” Roger said getting out of his Lazy Boy chair.
“You don’t need to get up. I’ll find Buddy on my own and I’ll take him for a walk.”
“Buddy’s leash is hanging up on a nail on the back door,” Roger said settling back down into his chair. Glenda grabbed the leash and opened the back door. Buddy looked up at her and began to bark. Glenda had owned a dog when she was living with her mother and was very good at handling shy dogs. She found a box of dog treats on top of Roger’s refrigerator. Glenda took a few treats out of the box to give to Buddy. She slowly walked up to the old black lab, spoke very gently to him and gave him a treat. Buddy took the treat very readily and Glenda didn’t have any problem attaching the dog’s leash. Buddy wagged his tail to indicate that he was more than ready to go on a walk with Glenda.
Roger got up from his easy chair and walked up to his living room window to look outside. He continued to talk to Glenda with his back toward her.
“I’ll be up front with you Glenda. I’m an alcoholic in recovery. I’ve only been sober a little past a year now. I got sober in Alcoholics Anonymous and recently received my one year of sobriety pin. Roger didn’t know why he was sharing such personal information with a stranger.
“Can I use your washroom, Roger? I need to pee.”
“Sure, the washrooms just upstairs, the first door on your right.”
Roger now had a couple of minutes to collect his thoughts and started to realize how bizarre this situation was. He had just invited a complete stranger into his home and was talking to her as if she was an old friend.
When Glenda came back downstairs, and entered Roger’s small living room, it was obvious that she had tried to clean herself up. She had washed her face and her mascara was no longer running.
“I know all about addiction myself, Roger. I’m hooked on narcotic opiates like oxycodone. I’ve also been diagnosed as having BPD.” Glenda said matter-of-factly.
“What’s BPD Roger asked. “I may have read about it.” asked.
“It’s a psychiatric disorder known as borderline personality disorder. It makes me act really crazy at times. I just thought that I’d warn you,” Glenda said.
Roger turned his head toward Glenda and looked her squarely in the eyes, “I’m shocked that you would tell me that.”
“Don’t be. I’m very straight up with people,” Glenda replied.
“Do you have a place to live right now?” Roger asked.
“Not really. I’ve kind of been homeless for the last couple of months. I just sort of couch surf.” Roger looked at all Glenda’s piercings and wondered if their installation caused her a lot of pain. Glenda’s midriff T-shirt was sleeveless and Roger observed a pentagram tattoo on Glenda’s right shoulder.
“What does couch surfing mean? Excuse me, but I’m an old man and I don’t get to learn a lot of young people’s lingo.
Glenda smiled and laughed, “It means that I stay for short periods of time, usually a few days, at other people’s places and usually sleep on the couch, or sometimes I sleep in my own sleeping bag.”