Tag Archives: friends

An Overdose

Some know basic details, few know the full story. It’s hard to explain what happened to me on that night. There are two perspectives of the story: One from my point of view and one from my friend Cheryl. Cheryl’s perspective paints the fuller picture but for personal reasons I am not going to write from her perspective because I find it too disturbing. So, as confusing as telling the story from my perspective will be, you’ll be able to enjoy the confusion I felt as it was happening.

I had relapsed back into my addiction with crystal meth, though it’s hard to say whether that played a part in my overdose or not. See, I technically didn’t overdose on crystal meth. It was on a drug that used to be legal in Australia two years ago, a drug that is still legal in Canada:

Synthetic weed.

Cheryl and I had just arrived to her house after watching a concert. I had a couple glasses of wine at the concert and I was keen to get stoned. She grabbed the bong and told me where to find the marijuana – it was in the coffee table drawer. The drawer was filled with all kinds of things; papers for rolling, lighters, small trinkets. In the back of the drawer I found a little bag of what I presumed to be weed. I brought the baggie to my nose and inhaled; it had an odd, chemical-like smell. I didn’t think much of it.

We went out onto her balcony and I sat on a chair opposite Cheryl. I packed a bowl for myself, sparked the lighter, and finished the cone in one giant hit. It tasted like bleach and I thought of how weird that was. It was hardly a few seconds before I felt something was wrong. I remember saying to my friend, “This is really strong.” She chuckled. But right after I said it I thought, this isn’t strong, this is really bad. Something is really wrong. I tried to scream for help but nothing came out of my mouth, instead Cheryl slowly blurred out of my vision. Everything went black.

The next part is hard to describe and I can hardly understand what happened myself, but after everything went black I still knew what was going on. I couldn’t feel anything, see anything, smell anything – all my senses were switched off and I was all alone in my own head. I seemed to be in my head for a while, wondering why everything went black, wondering why I was unable to feel anything. Was I dead?

Suddenly a flash – my vision was blindingly white. I could hear a familiar voice say, “He’s going to throw up.” I felt like I was spinning around in a dryer. Something was rammed down my throat and my whole body wretched. Everything went black again.

After an unspecified time of total darkness a white speck appeared in my vision. It was so tiny I hardly noticed it at first. The appearance of the speck was accompanied by a high pitched sound that sounded like the dial tone of a telephone, just at a higher frequency. The dot started moving in slow spirals. The movement of the dot caused the noise to grow louder. The dot started moving faster and faster and the noise began to get louder and louder. It was hell. I was sure of it. I was in hell. The noise became so loud I couldn’t even bare it anymore. It was splitting my mind apart. I was being ripped to shreds because of it.

I thought it couldn’t get any worse until a second dot appeared, this time accompanied by another high pitched wail. The old speck started to vanish but the noise it made remained at the splintering frequency. This new dot started spinning like the first, it’s noise also getting louder. Now I heard two different frequencies that were so unbearable I wanted to die. I actually was wishing for death. I’m not being dramatic or overreacting, the sensation was so powerful that I was hoping it was the prelude to death. I only wished for silence.

The sequence repeated with a third dot. And with a fourth. And with a fifth, and a sixth, a seventh, an eighth, ninth, tenth, twentieth, fiftieth… it seemed never ending. I was lost in eternity with a hundred different frequencies that looped over themselves.

But then there was silence. There was darkness. I was relieved. Maybe now I was dead.

The first sense to come back to me was my hearing. I heard a bunch of voices, one of whom seemed to be yelling at me but the words were muffled.

Next I was able to feel. I couldn’t move my arms. What the fuck is wrong with my arms?

I was underwater. I’m drowning, I’m fucking drowning. Air wasn’t passing through my oesophagus.

What is that fucking noise?

It sounded robotic.

Suddenly, I could see light. It was so white.

Someone was still yelling but the words didn’t make sense to me. I thought I heard a female voice yell, “Breathe Cody! Keep breathing!”

How can I breathe when I’m underwater?

I tried to move my arms again but I was still unable to move them. I felt claustrophobic and started to move my body around violently.

“Stay still, Cody!” The voice said, “And remember to breathe…. BREATHE!”

I was holding my breath. The voice got closer but I could only see white light. The voice said, “Cody, I know it feels weird, but you need to breathe. You have a breathing apparatus on which is why it feels weird.”

Something was ripped from my face and I could suddenly see blurry figures. A woman was bent over close to my face and she said, “Hey Cody, did you hear me? You have a breathing apparatus on and I need you to breathe. You need to inflate your lungs and deflate them. It’s weird because you can’t feel the air but I assure you everything is fine.”

My head hurt so much and her words took a long time to make sense. I stopped holding my breath and I could feel my lungs expand even though air wasn’t passing through my mouth.

I realised then that my mouth felt like it was pried open. I could feel something down my throat.

The blurry figures were slowly coming into focus. I tired to lift my head but the woman said firmly, “Don’t move your head.”

I tried to yell at her but something was pressing my tongue to the floor of my mouth.

I finally understood why I couldn’t move my arms; they were tied up. I started to panic again and began to pull at my restraints. Tears rolled down my cheeks. The woman said to me, “Cody, don’t pull at the ties. We had to restrain you because you kept ripping out your IV’s during your seizures.”

My seizures? What seizures?

The woman continued, “I’m gonna untie you now though, but please don’t move around. Can you do that for me?”

I obviously couldn’t answer her but I stopped struggling.

“Ok I’m going to untie you now.”

As soon as my one hand was free I brought it up to my face, ignoring what the woman said. A large apparatus protruded from my mouth, it felt plastic. The woman grabbed my hand and said, “We will remove the breathing apparatus soon, but please keep your arms by your side.” I put my arm back down. My vision was coming into focus and I could see that she was in a nurse uniform. The nurse untied my other hand. There were two other people standing around me as well: one looked like a man and the other was definitely a woman.

“Cody, we will remove your breathing apparatus now. We just need you to hold still please.”

Someone unclipped something close to my face. I felt a pressure being relieved around my mouth.

“Ok, we are going to remove the tube now. It’s going to feel really uncomfortable so please don’t struggle. Ok, removing it now.”

I could feel something rip up from inside my body right out of my throat. It scratched as it rose and made me unable to breathe for a second. I coughed as air passed through my mouth for the first time. I was catching my breath and trying to speak, my voice was weak and hoarse, but I managed to say, “Where am I?”

The one nurse got close to my face and said, “You’re in the hospital. You had some seizures and are coming out of a medically induced coma.”

I was too fuzzy to even try to make sense of what she was saying. I lifted my head slowly and saw three IV’s coming out of my left arm, two coming out of my right.

I noticed I had two hoses going up my nose as well and I realised there was something snaking up my leg and right to my… FUCK! I thought, NO NO NO NO! It was a catheter.

I slowly drifted from being fuzzy to slightly less fuzzy. I was exhausted. I wondered where my friend Cheryl was. The nurses were trying to get my medical insurance details from me but I was hardly in the mood for formalities and didn’t know where my insurance card was.

The nurse handed me a phone, it was Cheryl on the line. She said, “I’m so sorry, Cody. I had to go to work and I thought that Shane” – another friend of mine – “would be there when you woke up. I’m so sorry.” She offered to go to my house after her work and look for my insurance card. I understood why Cheryl was unable to stay, she had a very prestigious job. She’s an amazing friend for keeping me well until the ambulance arrived when I first started having the seizures. I love her to bits.

Shane arrived not long after the phone call and sat with me all day. He’s the greatest friend I could ask for.

Aldo brought me flowers and came to see me even though he was hungover. He’s so special to me it’s insane.

My friend Kathleen brought me underwear (I woke up naked and in a diaper for gods sake! They had to cut all the clothes off me in the ambulance.) She’s like my fairy godmother.

I was visited by another friend and he brought me some soul food… McDonalds. It was awesome. There was a couple other’s as well who came and I am so happy they did.

The doctor came when all my friends were by my side and officially explained what had happened. He said I had about sixteen seizures in a row and was placed into a medically induced coma to stop them. When I arrived to the hospital in the ambulance I had stopped breathing and was a code red (I can’t remember what the code was actually called but lets just say it was ‘red’), which meant that all the doctors in ICU had to stop what they were doing immediately and come help me. All up I had eight doctors trying to save my life. I thank them for their work.

When I heard the story from Cheryl’s perspective I was deeply disturbed. What happened during my seizures is something I never would want to witness myself and I am deeply thankful to Cheryl for keeping her composure.

I am thankful every day for the friends who came to see me after I woke out of the coma. They’ve always been like family to me and I keep them close to my heart always.

I am now predisposed to have seizures. Because I am more susceptible I have a blacklist of things I’m not allowed to do to my brain; including taking crystal meth. So in a way, my overdose on synthetics saved my life. I’ve been free from crystal meth for a year and a half now.

The first day I was discharged from hospital I was with Cheryl and we went to this market that was outside in the parking lot. In the market I saw two earrings: A bird and an elephant. I bought them and wore them for a year and a half. I thought of them as my ‘healing earrings’. This weekend I took them out for the first time and replaced them with two new earrings: A peace symbol and a diamond.

May I never overdose again.

The Truth: Part 19

One day in Koh Tao, Thailand, I was walking drunk back to my hotel late at night. Blaire and I just had partied and drank copious amount of cheap alcohol that mainly came in literal buckets. Blaire went to back to the Swedish guy’s hotel for what would end up being her missing for almost two days, later found out to be that she had two days of ‘fun’ with Mr. Sweden. It was a nice night, so instead of getting transportation to my hotel I decided to walk. It wasn’t that far of a walk to the other side of the island, the only pain was getting over the monstrous hill. The road was secluded and empty, houses turned to forest as I made my ascent. 

Up ahead I saw a dog, which wasn’t a rare sight on Koh Tao; there were wild dogs everywhere. The dog was sniffing the road, searching for garbage for scraps of food. I paid no attention to it and continued walking up the hill. The dog was joined by two more and they became conscious of my presence. I was only a few meters away when two more dogs ran out of the bushes to my left, stood in front of me and started growling. The three dogs up ahead barrel down the road towards me and stop just behind the two. Five altogether growling and barking. Aggressive and protective. 

One dog in particular, a brown male, stepped forward, teeth glistening in the moonlight. He growled deeply and would then bark while stamping his two front feet, slowly getting closer. I dared not to break eye contact as that has been known to spur on attacks. I had to confront the dogs head on. 

I debated calling for help, but knew that my yelling could initiate the attack and no one could get to me on time if they heard my cries. I took a step back, and the dogs would take three steps forward. It was an intimidation game. 

I started talking to them in a soothing voice. I put my hands out in front of me, I don’t really know why I did but it comforted me knowing my hands were between their mouths and my face. I slowly took a baby step forward. The dogs growled even harder simultaneously, but none of them stepped forward. I waited a few seconds, and then took another step, slowly going forward and veering to the right. My plan was to slowly inch my way around the dogs without breaking eye contact. I would step, they would growl, I would wait ten seconds, and then I would step again. We danced like this for the better part of half an hour before I was around the dogs and far enough away that slowly, one by one, the dogs lost interest and started scavenging around the road again. 

This is the tactic I had to use with Deniro. 

Step by step I managed to get back inside the house and shut the door. Once the door was closed Deniro turned back around and continued eating. There wasn’t anything I could do about it but tell Scott once I was at Knight Call. I gathered up the rest of my things and headed into the city. 

I told Robert the story once I got to the brothel and he chuckles, “That dog is gonna kill you when Scott is away.” 

I made Scott go into the smoking area with me, not wanting to make a scene about his dog with the boys around. 

“He did what?” Scott asked, seemingly surprised. I told him the story again and Scott says, “He’s never done something like that before.”

“I closed the door so Deniro is stuck outside right now.” I said. 

“Good. If he does that to you again when I’m away just keep him outside. He’ll learn his lesson.” 

Later that night when Scott and I got back inside the house Deniro was pacing back and forth outside whimpering. Scott opened the door and caught Deniro by the collar. 

“You be nice to Cody when I am away!” He yelled, “Understood?” He lets go and Deniro runs up the slight set of stairs and down the hallway. 

The next morning Scott left for the airport and I went to work. Nick and I were the only ones there from the friend group who were doing a daytime shift, along with a straight guy named Blake and a Brazilian named Carlos. Blake was an enigma. He said he was straight, yet he worked in a gay brothel. He was good looking, which didn’t seem to give him confidence as he bumbled around the brothel. In a way I felt bad for him. He never seemed to quite fit in with the brothel dynamics, everyone passing him off as some straight imbecile. In truth Blake had a good heart, and regardless of his questionable sexuality he was a nice person. Him and I became friends. Once you got to know him he was intelligent in his own way, and I think the hardships of being a straight man in a gay brothel affected him mentally beyond the point of repair. In reality is affected all of us boys permanently.  

I like to imagine that all of us boys ended up alright. As much as I know some of us have been damaged beyond repair, I have a glimmer of hope that we can all make it. Even the boys I hated, I wish them all the best of luck. I need to know that we can make it out alive. 

That night Scott calls me from Cairns and he is very drunk. He tells me over and over again that he loves me, and I can hear someone laughing in the background. He tells me that he had a sex dream about me.

“Sorry babe I am drunk,” Scott slurred. 

“It’s ok, it sounds like you’re having fun.”

“I am. I hope Deniro hasn’t been too much trouble.” 

“No, he’s been good so far.” 

“That’s good. I’ll talk to you soon. Love you.” 

I was very uncomfortable so all I said was, “Ok talk to you soon.” 

 A few days pass and I didn’t hear from him again until one day I was sitting alone in the smoking area and got a peculiar call from an odd number. 

“Hello,” I say with the phone to my ear. 
The man introduces himself and tells me that he is a friend of Scott. 

“I have some very bad news,” The man says, his voice dropping to express sympathy, “Scott was in a very bad car accident and won’t be going home anytime soon.” 

Stunned, I let out a with a bite, “What?” 

“He was hit by a car and has been in a coma for the past few days. He is in a Cairns hospital and has just woken up. He needed me to tell you that he won’t be able to go home for a few weeks, so you need to take care of Deniro and the house for him.” 

I was silent for a few seconds, “Ok.” 

“Save this number and call me if you need any help. Scott will be in contact with you once he feels better.” 

We ended the phone conversation and I sat by myself in the smoking area and finished my cigarette.