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.

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