Monday, November 29, 2010

The Devil On One Shoulder An Angel On The Other

In the September of 2006 my husband and I relocated as planned to Te Mata, a lovely coastal settlement about 25 kilometres out of Thames.   Shane's employment problems were semi resolved so he remained in Pukekohe.   Without onsite drug testing available the allegations of drug use in the workplace couldn't really be established and I think Shane used this to his advantage.   But his work performance and quality of spray painting may have been his saviour as well.   Although no further action was being taken Shane said all the fuss had created a bit of tension between himself and certain members of staff, including management.   However, he was confident this would remedy itself in time and assured us that him and his job would be fine, so to go and enjoy our retirement.   I wasn't surprised by this employment outcome at all really knowing how clever and masterful Shane was at manipulating people and situations.   Not, usually, with a destructive intention in mind, but just to dig himself out of the holes his drug addiction constantly created for him.   His cunning never seem to desert him if his back was against the wall.   This move and our retirement had been anticipated for so long though that nothing could faze me, not even Shane's work drama's.

Oure home at Te Mata was situated in a small quiet clue-de-sac one street off the main coast road.   It was an elevated site so had amazing sea views over the firth of Thames from the front, and the rear of the property backed onto native bush and trees which was abundant with bird life.   The Tui and Wood Pigeons soon became our two most favorite birds of enjoyment.   We'd sit on our large back deck area and soak up the splendour of this wonderful place, and agreed that this was definitely like living in paradise.   We sold the alloy boat we'd owned for years and had replaced it with a slightly larger, fibreglass, cabin boat, in anticipation of all the family fishing trips to come.   Our retirement dream was shaping up well and, for the first time in many years, my husband and I were enjoying a life free of stress.   We quickly learned that the secret to relaxation was being retired beach-bums.

There were some days that Shane and how he was doing in Pukekohe was still foremost in my thoughts, but these days became less frequent as the weeks went by.   Having the distance between us and the lovely beach lifestyle also helped, and didn't allow me to remain negative or worry for to long though.   What will be, will be I continued to tell myself.   My contact with Shane was sparse, but not so with my daughter and eldest son living in Pukekohe, and they allayed my concerns as well in those early weeks.   However, Shane's life began to unravel about the November with another vehicle accident, and my concerns for him were resurrected.   Apparently there were road works in Pukekohe and Shane had failed to see the warning signage one evening when returning from work.   Shane's excuse for the accident was that the road work signs hadn't been placed in the correct position!!!!!   He wasn't injured but the vehicle did suffer extensive suspension damage and was uninsured, so once again he sold the car to the auto wreckers for parts in lieu of the towing fee.   Fortunately, Shane didn't have expensive tastes when it came to purchasing vehicles.   Transport to his employment was still viable through a co-worker who also resided in Pukekohe, so I guess that was something he could be thankful of.   I'd always had some concerns about Shane driving under the influence of drugs anyway.   But studies of recent years have also concluded that Methadone taken in high doses can impair driving ability, and that's without anything else being in the system so this accident and Shane not having a vehicle was almost a blessing in disguise for me.

Well, our lives in paradise were definitely in for a change because as the year 2006 was coming to an end, so was Shane's employment.   Shane said management had never really accepted the outcome of the work place drug use issue, so making him reduntant due to a slowing of the market was just their way of getting rid of him.

So it was January 2007 that Shane moved in with us at Te Mata.   Enrollment with the pharmacy in Thames was immediate, but until a Thames CADS caseworker was allocated his treatment case file remained with Manukau City.   Shane was always congenial and compromising, so he wasn't difficult to live with but his drug abuse was emotionally disruptive and this issue was adressed with Shane upon arrival.   For this reason it was reiterated to him that, from this point on, I personally, wouldn't tolerate any form of abuse where his Methadone or other substances was concerned.   Shane's reassurance that I needn't worry, that he wouldn't muck up anymore, was only semi comforting and, I guess, part of me did remain ever hopeful that this time he really meant what he said.   Shane was also instructed upon moving in that a serious, concerted effort to withdraw off Methadone was now expected, which he agreed to do, as soon as he was allocated a caseworker in Thames.   The last 3 months had been a time of contemplation regarding Shane's drug addiction and my options.   I decided my support for Shane in his bid for drug freedom would continue, but with a different, more resolute approach.

Well, my new approach worked in the interim but slowly that crumbled as Shane's 'topping-up' spiralled out of control again.   Confrontations between myself and Shane regarding his drug abuse with the Methadone were many, his sorrow, guilt and promises though always spurned me on.   One night in April 2007 after one such confrontation, Shane, packed his bags and left, it was about 7pm so it was dusk.   He had a large canvas army type back pack on and was carrying a smaller pack.   Walking with all this weight on, and in an extremely drug induced state was dangerous, but I was still reeling from our confrontation, so the stongest emotion I was feeling at that time was anger and frustration, not protection.   However, I reassured myself that Shane would be safe enough to walk the 2 kilometres to Tapu, he'd hold up in the reserve there, reflect on his actions and return home.

About 10pm that night a vehicle stopped at our gate, I went out to investigate and saw Shane slowly making his way up the driveway, he was hobbling, in terrible pain, and his clothing was saturated.   Questioning Shane about what had happened was met with some confusion.   The only thing he seemed to be sure about was that he had a bloody sore leg, and foot.   Once inside I could see the damage and injury, his foot and ankle was extremely swollen and going black, but it wasn't until he took his wet jeans off that the full extent of his leg injuries became apparent.   He had this huge, open gash, it was deep, right down his shin bone, from just beneath his knee down to his foot, and it was the same leg as his ankle injury.   Hence, the Thames Accident & Emergancy department was immediately contacted to prepare for our arrival.

The trip into Thames from our home takes approx. 25 minutes, this gave me time to establish how Shane had obtained his injuries.   Shane stated he sat in the Tapu reserve for a while, he wasn't sure how long he was there for, but it was dark when he decided to continue walking into Thames.   He remembered walking some distance on the coast road and the next thing he was in the sea, almost drowning.   He realized his foot was jammed between rocks and his back pack was weighing him down in the water.   He took his pack off, but had to yank and pull really hard to free his jammed foot to get himself out of the water.   Once out of the water he then tried climbing back up the steep rock face to the road.   Feeling his way up the sharp rock face in the darkness of night was difficult, and he fell, three times back into the water.   Shane said he knew he'd hurt his foot bad and was terrified he wasn't going to get back up on the road until morning.   He said that fear must have created an adrenaline rush and, with determination, his forth attempt to climb up to the road was successful.   Once up on the road he hobbled only a short distance when two nice, young guys picked him up and brought him home.

Shane's account of the event left me feeling flabbergasted and speechless.   The stretch of road that Shane fell off, is very narrow, windy and it drops off some 25mtrs onto a rocky foreshore, and at high tide it is very deep water all along there.   If Shane had fallen a different way and hit his head on the rocks, he would've been knocked out.   If that had been the case, then there is no doubt, in my mind, he would've drowned.   Once again anger filled me at his stupidity and disregard for life.   Frankly, I think he fell off the road because he dropped off to sleep while walking due to all the drugs in his system.

Shane's leg injuries were serious, and he was admitted into Thames hospital that night and transferred to Waikato hospital the next morning for surgery and specialist treatment for the leg wound.   Shane required 3 surgical procedures and spent 1 week in Waikato hospital.

It was 1.30am when my husband and I finally left the Thames hospital that night.   The night was dark and calm, and driving along the coast road was quite spooky.   We realized approaching Tapu, in the darkness of night, just how treacherous this section of the coast road is.   My husband stopped the car and turned the lights off, then the darkness of night time and the road was just horrifying.   Shocked and in disbelief I remarked to my husband.   "What the hell was Shane thinking, attempting to walk this road at night?   He's just dam lucky, with the injuries he sutained, that he even managed to climb back up the rock face onto the road, but even luckier then that he didn't get hit by a car.  You know, somebody up there, or whatever, was really looking after Shane tonight".  

That night though, I vowed Shane's demon's weren't going to invade him much longer.   I would get him clean of drugs myself one way or another by taking over his life, well, the addiction anyway.   So this accident was the turning point that changed the boundaries of Shane's battle for drug freedom.

To fear the unknown is to be fearful of life itself and, at my age and in my lifestime, I thought I'd experienced all the unknowns in life.   But the following year to come, dealing with Shane's final drug addiction battle, was testament to how truly fearful the unknown can be.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Retirement Brings Lifestyle Changes For All

Sorry about this posting being late, had to catch up on all the tasks I've put on hold of recent weeks with Blog and Campaign. Nothing constructive to report as yet re: Campaign. Now on with posting.

Shane's whole family, not just me had accepted and embraced his drug addiction from day one, and he was loved heaps regardless of it, even when overly drug induced.   That's not saying we accepted his drug abuse, in fact it concerned and saddened us because of the risks involved but we understood it was part of his addiction, therefore we didn't love him any less for it.   Also the addiction hadn't altered or effected Shane's personality or nature, he was always caring, obliging, and respectful of us and others, so it wasn't difficult to overlook his addictive flaws and love him anyway.   And that's the reason why his dad and I and his family had stuck by him all these years and never cast him out, because Shane was a nice, genuine guy, he wasn't an 'asshole' type person.   Another reason was that Shane had nobody else in his life but us.   That was mainly because Shane didn't trust a lot of people regarding his addiction, he felt they may judge or ridicule him for it.   He knew we accepted him for what he was, so he felt safe and comfortable with us.   Also the less people in his life meant fewer apologies he had to make for what his addiction may cause.

We were well into 2006 and although Shane was still employed, he was encountering work related problems so his employment at this stage was on very shaky ground.   Apparently Shane and two other co-workers had been questioned about drug use in the work place.  I didn't know the other two lads but it didn't surprise me about management being suspicious of Shane.   He could be quite remiss regarding his drug abuse anyway, but of late it was the cocky attitude about it that I knew was enventually going to be his downfall.   I guess the more you offend and get away with it, the more confident and cocky you get.   I'd also quizzed him on occasions myself about using at work because of his drugged demeanour and his excuses for it were always the same.   Paint thinners, lack of sleep or simply just not feeling well.   The lack of sleep reason was semi acceptable because Shane did suffer from insomnia, but that was due to his drug taking anyway.   It wasn't the Methadone though as that tended to make him blobby, it was all the other drugs like 'speed' and medications he used that kept him awake.

The reasons given for managements suspicions and him being questioned were so typical of a Shane excuse, but as usual almost believable.   Shane attends the pharmacy twice a week to pick up his take home doses of Methadone and he is required to consume that days dose of Methadone in the pharmacy.   So Shane was at the pharmacy and one of his co-workers had witnessed him consumming his dose of Methadone.  Shane said at that point, he had no alternative but to acknowledge being on the programme when approached by this person, whom had promised him confidentiality, but obviously he hadn't.   Because it wasn't long after this incident that Shane was accused of drug use in the workplace and questioned.   He did accept that trusting another co-worker about The Methadone programme was a foolish mistake, in fact a real bad slip up for him.

Shane had vehemently denied the accusations when questioned of drug use in the workplace and having any knowledge to The Methadone programme.   He told management that it was just a spiteful rumour and workplace gossip, in other words 'hearsay'.   Shane was very clever and cunning when it came to his drugs, so I knew that management could question him for hours about his drug use or demeanour and they still wouldn't get the truth or right answers.   He'd cleverly spin his web of deceit and rely on their gullibility and possible lack of drug knowledge.

My husband and I had retired in the May and were relocating back over to the Thames coast in the September to pursue our old coastal lifestyle.   It was a move we'd yearned for since leaving Te Puru in 2003.   Because of his employment commitment Shane was planning on staying behind in Pukekohe, but with this work related problem cropping up that plan could change.   Although I was excited about our relocation to the coast I was also apprehensive about leaving Shane behind in Pukekohe to live on his own.   That might sound smothering or being over protective of me, but it was the risks that Shane's drug abuse presented that was concerning me, especially if he'd used excessively.   But he had two siblings and their families living in and around Pukekohe, so that eased my concerns a little.

Shane never really understood why his drug addiction effected us so much, he used to tell us constantly it was his problem, not ours.   And as much as he loved us, I think at times, he felt belittled and angry with our involvement, especially mine.   So I convinced myself that maybe it was a good thing to leave him behind in Pukekohe.   It would give Shane the opportunity to once again take responsibility for his own life, and hopefully redeem his self worth.   What will be, will be I told myself.   Shane must walk out of the darkness of drug addiction soon.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Insurance Drama Ends Our Coastal Lifestyle

Shane's pre-hunting drug abusing binge had left me feeling frazzled and intolerant.   I so desperately wanted to believe his promises of 'never going to do it again', but because Shane's an addict I couldn't.   Shane's intentions and words were always sincere, it was the addict within him that wasn't.   However, time spent alone while the men were hunting was good therapy, and that drama was as usual past tense by the time they returned.

Another drama though was fast looming up in the back round for my husband and I, which usually tends to put Shane's drug addiction drama's into perspective.

The weather bomb in 2002 that hit the coastline and surrounding areas of Thames had left 100's of properties severely flood damaged.   All insurance companies had without a doubt met their obligations to policy holders, and had repaired or rebuilt all properties affected by the floods.   However, the financial cost of the flood repairs to insurance companies had been huge.   Hence, insurance companies were now reluctant to renew insurance policies in 2003 on properties that had been affected.   So we waited with abated breath for our insurance renewal notification to arrive, which was due in the April.   And like most in the community, our insurance policy was renewed but flood insurance for the property was being excluded.

Our property and area in Te Puru had never been flooded prior to that night in 2002, but do we stay and take a chance that we would never get flooded again, or not?   It was a dilemma that most property owners in the community and surrounding areas were all effectively faced with, not just us.   The weather experts deeming the flood of 2002 to be a 100 year event, was of no consolation at all.   "These so called weather experts" I said to my husband, "get the weather forecast wrong most days, nobody can be that sure, and predict what the forces of nature will do".      I still had in my possession the paper work that the flood damage had cost our insurance company, it was over 100 thousand dollars.   This figure was for rebuilding the interior of our home, the replacement cost of damaged contents, and the motel accommodation for 4 months.   So it was understandable why the insurance companies weren't prepared to risk having such claims as this repeated.   However, understanding it didn't solve our dilemma.

Complete insurance cover is required on properties by any lending institution you have a mortgage with, so informing our bank about the insurance dilemma wasn't an option.   Refinancing to lift our home for flood protection wasn't an option for us either.   A builders report stated that the top storey of the house had a flat, not cabled roof so the house couldn't be safely lifted.   The prospect of selling our home was upsetting, but frankly, we weren't prepared to stay and take the risk of possibly flooding again without having insurance cover.   The property was reluctantly marketed in May and it sold in the July, and we relocated back to Pukekohe.   The property sold quickly as buyers were flocking to these coastal locations for bargins.   Unfortunately, as picture perfect as our property was, the flood reflected the figure it sold for.   It was a sad, sad day for us and our family.   They had all worked so hard, coming over for weeks helping us re-landscape our section after the flood, especially our daughter and her husband.

But luck happen to smile on us with our next property purchase in Pukekohe.   It was a 12 year old home, so reasonably new for us, and the property was in a good area of Pukekohe within walking distance to the township.   The property had previously been rented out, so it did require a bit of TLC here and there, but nothing major or expensive.   Shane had to once again transfer his CADS file back to Manukau City, and be enrolled back with the pharmacy in Pukekohe for his Methadone.

Shane was still abusing other substances and meds, but so far he was keeping his abuse somewhat under control.   His abuse did still piss me off though, and this was periodically vented to him.   So it was obvious my tolerance level and understanding was waning a little with Shane and his drug addiction.   But we'd had a lot thrown our way in the last year, with the flood, and then having to sell our lovely sea-side property because of it.   Knowing there were 2 new grandbabies due in the September of 2003, and in June the following year, helped put a silver lining to my cloud of doom and gloom.

I truly believe good people have good things happen, but I guess, to keep us all grounded we've got to experience the bad stuff, to help us appreciate the good in life when we do get it.   My life would be almost perfect if I could just get Shane to beat his drug addiction.   Having him drug free would be a dream come true for me.   It had been 10 years that Shane had been on The Methadone program, and my dream still seemed to be a long way off yet.

However, in March of 2004 Shane did gain employment.   The firm specialized in making large, expensive wooden gates.   The position was for an experienced spray-painter, skills that Shane had, and drug testing wasn't a prerequisite for applicants.   Methadone being an Opiate based drug may be detected in work place drug testing, so testing was usually a barrier for Shane.   I had hoped that Shane gaining this position was a good sign of better things to come, but it wasn't.   Working or not, Shane still abused other substances, and this was obvious by the state he arrived home from work in.   Shane used to blame his demeanour on the paint thinners etc he was working with.   But I'd been involved with his drug abuse for to long to be sucked in by that excuse.   Even though Shane was a good worker and a skilled spray-painter, I didn't foresee him holding this employment position very long term.   Shane knew drugs had created problems in his life, but he still never saw himself as the addict we did.   I don't know how he didn't see what we saw, it was obvious that Shane didn't look in a mirror on his drugged up days.   Sunglasses work a treat though.   The eyes are a dead give away for an active addict, but with sunglasses on they aren't visible, so Shane used to wear them a lot, sunny or otherwise.

My dedication and determination to Shane's drug addiction had never wavered, it was not knowing how to help him end his addiction that had always been my stumbling block.   Over the years I'd gained adequate knowledge of the addiction itself, and The Methadone program.   But I lacked understanding and information on what avenues were available to procure an end to drug addiction.   But all that changed with the investment of a computer.   Having this new technology certainly did increase my knowledge but also my fears.   It became apparent then that Shane drug abuse with the Methadone could  have serious consequences, so would he live to end his addiction.   This new information altered my thoughts, dreams and journey of Shane's addiction.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

An Update

To date three letters of acknowledgement to my MMT Campaign have been received from those it was forwarded to.   The wheels of progress turn very slowly when dealing with persons of higher authority and Government Officials.   Readers will be kept informed of the campaigns future progress.

This is an answer to a question that was forwarded to me:    The privacy of campaign supporters emails will be respected.   The Hon. Jonathan Coleman, the Ass. Minister of Health, NZ Government will be the only person besides myself that will be privy to supporters names and addresses.   So continue to support this campaign with confidence, your privacy will always be respected.   The old saying ' it takes a village to raise a child', applies also to those trying to make changes within that village.   One person alone cannot effect changes, but lot's of people together can.

Individules entering into The Methadone Maintenance Treatment program are flawed and vulnerable persons due to their drug addiction.   If a treatment program is going to operate for them with flaws, and without conscience, then it allows failure without justification.   I have had brief contact with other participants whom have been on The Methadone program long term, and their experiences with Methadone regarding their drug addiction are the same as Shane's.    Indications are, that only about 20% of participants using Methadone deem it as a successful treatment option for their drug addiction.    Personal experiences and views of The Methadone Maintenance program from other participants, ex-participants and, or their families would be welcome and appreciated.    You can remain anonymous by contacting me privately by email.

I will be loading a normal posting on blog tomorrow.