Sunday, October 17, 2010

All Good Things Come To An End

In mid 97 Shane moved out of our flat and into his own rural accommodation on the outskirts of Pukekohe.   The flat on the property was always intended as a seperate living space for my husband and I, which Shane was aware of, hence why this move after eighteen months took place.   Shane's earnings were moderately high because of the shift work, but his expenditure which was presumably on drugs reflected this, so I hoped that this move with paying more rent may help to at least curb his drug abuse.

Shane's addiction had remained the same, some weeks were reasonably good, and others weren't, depending on whatever drug or pill he was using to top up with.   The more I tried to understand Shane's drug addiction, the more it grated on me.   He'd had this drugged look or appearance almost since being on the program, and that I'd semi adjusted to, but not the 'nodding-off' or 'blobbing' part of of his drugged behaviour.   Shane could 'nod-off' while eating a meal, rolling a smoke or in conversation, it was brief and only lasted a few seconds, then he'd come to and carry on eating his meal or whatever like nothing had happened.   Shane was totally unware he'd 'nodded-off', but it was really quite bizaar and distrubing to witness.   I'd questioned this part of Shane's behaviour at our meeting with CADS, but this question was also brushed off without explanation.

To keep some form of normality in life you have to try and ignore some of what goes on with a drug addicted loved one, or you'd go 'nuts' if you didn't.   But there were times that Shane's drug abuse and drug habits really did piss me off, and that was usually acknowledged and most times vented to Shane.   I'd got to the impatient, irritable stage of Shane's addiction and treatment, and I used to hound him about the program and his withdrawal rate off the Methadone.   So at this point, I think Shane and I were more than ready to put some space between us, well, for a while anyway.

Shane's visits to us were quite frequent, and in the first year or so of his move he seemed to be managing ok.   I still prodded him on visits about his treatment progress and Methadone withdrawal, but got very little information from him in return.   The break of not having Shane's addiction constantly in my life was good and it revitalized my spirit and emotional well being.   Our break though came to an abrupt end in late 99, Shane had a car accident going to his afternoon shift.   He lost control of his vehicle swerving to miss a goat on the road that had broken loose.   Thankfully, he wasn't badly injured and no other vehicle was involved, but his car was a write off and he'd let the car insurance lapse.   Shane couldn't get transport to work from his rural accommodation, so he moved into the flat with my husband and I, and signed his rural rental over to a friend.   There was plenty of room in the main house but Shane didn't want to encroach on our daughter and family.   The car accident was just the start, there was more upheaval to come as in early 2000 Shane also lost his job.

However, Shane wasn't terminated, he was deemed mentally unfit for work by his CADS doctor, and this wasn't a surprise to those around Shane.   Apparently, on two previous occasions Shane's demeanour at work had been questioned, and he'd also taken an extended lunch break without authority for a caseworker appointment.   Shane disclosed his recent entry into The Methadone program at a meeting with management and severe restrictions were imposed on him to retain his job.   Shane was searched, urine tested and examined by on-site medical staff before commencing his work duties, which was understandable from an employers perspective, but it was embarrassing and it became mentally stressful for Shane.   Up to this point, drugged or otherwise, Shane's work record of nearly 5 years was clean, and he was known to be a diligent, safe, hard worker.   His drug addiction had escalated though over that 5 years, so I guess Shane was lucky to have retained his job that long.   Fortunately for us, his stress levels did slowly abate with not having to deal with the pressure of his employment.   So with that chapter of employment closed, I wondered what the next chapter or phase of Shane's addiction might bring.

My saving grace in times of turmoil were my grandchildren, Shane's usually was drugs, but this time there was a lady in the back round showing interest in Shane.   Shane however, was very wary about relationships with his addiction.   He'd stated way back in 94 that drugs had ruined the few relationships he'd attempted to have, which he said was fortunate because he certainly didn't want, or plan to put his 'shitty' drugged life on a wife and kids.   At times I felt sad that Shane only had the love of his family in his life, and not the love of a good woman.   Which was a shame because he was a really nice, respectful guy, whom had good values in life, and he was wonderfully patient and loving with his little neices and nephew, so there was no doubt he would make an excellent father as well.   Even so, I was thankful that I didn't have the added burden and worry of a wife and grandchildren regarding Shane's drug addiction.

In mid 2000 our daughter and her husband brought our share of the proerty out, and my husband and I relocated to Te Puru, a lovely sea-side settlement along the coast of Thames.   Te Puru was only 1 hours travelling distance to Pukekohe, so we both retained our employment obligations in Pukekohe with our move.   Shane stayed and resided with our eldest son in Pukekohe, and he eventually did acknowledge this ladies intentions, and after much discussions with her regarding his addiction, they attempted a relationship and Shane moved into her home.   However, the relationship only lasted about 1 year, so Shane's reluctance and intincts about love and addiction proved to be correct, and love and women while addicted was never to be approached by Shane again.  

In May 2000 Shane moved in with us at Te Puru, his case file was transferred to the Thames CADS clnic, and he was enrolled with a Thames pharmacy for his Methadone.   Shane's abuse of other substances with the Methadone had always been a worry, but from here on, his drug abuse went to another level, it was to become very dangerous and destructive.   But on the 21st of June 2002 and within weeks of Shane's arrival a huge weather bomb hit along the Thames coast line and surrounding areas, and our property along with hundreds of others was completely destroyed by the flood that followed.   Many homes including ours were deemed uninhabitable, and we lived in a motel with Shane for 4 months while our home was being repaired.   The intial first 2 weeks after the flood my husband and I were very fragile, and Shane was to be our saviour at that time.   He showed empathy and understanding of our feelings, and it was his positive and helpful attitude that kept us grounded in those early weeks.   So Shane can certainly step up and be relied upon when needed.   His drug addiction at that time became secondary to our own problems and flood dilemma.

I soon established the reason for Shane's pattern of Methadone withdrawal and why it had fluctuated over the years, with the rate decreasing then increasing.   Negative urines are a sign of drug abuse and a participants instability, and CADS deem this to be because their daily dose of Methadone is to low.   The participant is notified of negative urine results, at this point a meeting with their CADS caseworker and CADS doctor is initiated, and the participant is ecouraged to increase their daily dose of Methadone.   The participants Methadone take-home privilege is also revoked for 2 - 3 weeks upon a negative urine result.

The Methadone programs protocol for withdrawal certainly requires reviewing.   Drug abuse is a major problem with withdrawal, however, participants withdrawing off Methadone shouldn't be permitted or encouraged to increase their dose.   A proposal will be forwarded with my campaign suggesting a time frame of 3 - 5 years be introduced for all participants to withdraw off Methadone and exit the program.   In that time, with regular therapy, constructive support and encouragement, partial Methadone withdrawal could be safely achieved under the present guidelines.   The final and tricky withdrawal phase of 3 - 6 months could be safely accomplished within a residential rehabilitation facility.

I do appreciate the comments that have come through so far from followers regards my postings.   If my story about Shane's drug addiction and Methadone helps just one person then telling it has been worthwhile.   I am hoping to have my campaign and proposals regarding The Methadone Maintenance program ready to be forwarded to the NZ Government, Addiction Professionals and the appropriate District Health Board Officials in the very near future.  I will keep you posted on the progress of my campaign further down the track.  See you all next week with another posting.

No comments:

Post a Comment