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Medical Detox | Home Grown: Barely Breathing

Hi, it’s Recovery Rob here, and I hope you enjoyed the first part of Colleen’s Story. When I met Colleen years ago, there was something about her that was so familiar, but I just couldn’t place it. It wasn’t that we shared a similar background of time spent in medical detox, or even that we are both addicts. It was the way she spoke; not so much the dialect but the expressions. One day after a meeting I asked her and that’s when I found out she was raised just a few towns away from where I grew up. In country terms we were neighbors. Here’s the next installment of Colleen’s Story Home Grown.

“I don’t recall exactly what I felt the moment when I saw her slumped in the corner. From a distance, not that far because the house wasn’t all that big, it looked to me like she was just sitting there waiting for us. An odd place to wait, but then when we stepped forward and I called to her, she didn’t respond. My heart pounded sluggishly, a cool sweat dripped down my back.

“I let go of my little sister’s hand and quickly stepped to my mother’s side. Thankfully, I could see her chest moving, so I knew she was breathing. When I lifted her chin, saying her name gently, I saw blood on her chin. Maneuvering myself to block the view from my siblings, I told them to wait and back off, but just like most siblings they pushed forward. Carrie-Ann, the little sister’s hand I’d been holding, screamed so loudly it felt like a knife driving through me.

“’Go get gramma,’ I commanded to the other siblings, and then turned to Carrie-Ann, her eyes and mouth equally round in surprise, and told her to stop. She didn’t of course, at least not voluntarily. Her breath whooshed out of her soon enough and I grabbed her chin and moved myself in front of her face until she saw me. By the time I calmed her down, our Gramma Nan had arrived.

“She moved in quickly, checked my mother’s breathing and began barking orders like a drill sergeant. I did my part by hoping on my bike and peddling to the nearest neighbor’s house to use the phone. Believe it or not, not all homes had phones back then. It was 1975, we lived further than where the telephone lines were built – at least that’s why my parents said.

“I don’t know how long it took me to get to the next farmhouse, but I know I peddled just as fast as I could. It seemed an eternity, and when I arrived I jumped off my bike and it fell to the dirt driveway, a cloud of dust rose up around it. Out of breath, barely able to speak, I ran to the door and knocked loudly, and then opened the door. People didn’t lock their doors then; it was just polite to knock.”


Watch next week for more on Colleen’s story.