This breaks my heart.
What makes a person, a teenager, drink so much that they pass out? Or wander around in the rain and snow, passing out in the center of the road? What is the attraction? Is this fun? Do other teenagers find this cool?
They are dragged to the emergency room, kicking and screaming. Restrained, catheterized without any hope of discretion because they are in a busy ER, people milling about. To add insult to injury, a couple of male EMT's had to hold her down, spread her legs and jam a tube up her urinary tract.
Yes, I said her. Somehow makes it worse, doesn't it? Not something you want to tell your grandkids, eh? Five times the legal limit I think they said. Five times! Was she looking for bragging rights? How lucky she was that she was picked up. It was raining and snowing when she passed out. If she had made it behind a building or passed out in a field somewhere, we could be discussing this at her wake.
She fights the treatment the nurses are trying to give her. She screams profanities at the top of her lungs. She scratches and tries to hit them. A nurse looks at me, "Mum, do you want to come in and calm her?"
I look at her horrified. "She's not mine!" But I go in to help calm her. There but for the grace of God, I think.
In the ER she screams for her friends, I say, "What friends? What kind of friends would leave you in this condition? You could be dead right now." She begins to scream again.
I lean close so I don't have to raise my voice. "You shut the fuck up or I will have one of those nurses cram a tube down your throat! There are real sick people here and they don't need to hear you." If she was looking for sympathy, she wasn't getting it from me.
Down the hall a family sits, wringing their hands, their little girl, 6 or 7 years old, has seized 3 times waiting for the air ambulance to take her to Sick Children's Hospital. They sit and pray that she makes it in time. All the while, a drunken teenager is down the hall screaming for the nurses to get the fuck away from her, yelling for her 'friends'. If their little girl dies, this will be part of their last memories of her.
What would make a person want to be totally out of control like that? With total disregard for their own life or anyone else's for that matter. Do they think at all of who they might be hurting? Not just themselves. Had she been hit by a car and killed. What of the person who hit her? Can you imagine going through life knowing you killed someone, no matter that it was an accident?
Suppose a person like this, not to say this was her intention because I have no earthly idea what her intentions were, but just suppose a person with this total disregard for life, was suicidal? So, maybe not suicidal, but didn't really put much value on her own life, well at least not enough to want to actively safeguard it in the most fundamental way. Suppose the worst had happened.
Who does she hurt? Herself? Maybe for that split second before she dies. But do people like this really think about the people who really get hurt? Her mother of course. Her other family members, surely. Her so called friends who left her to wander alone. The person who may have inadvertently killed her. The EMT's who have to scrape her brains off the asphalt. The nurses and doctors who would have had to work on her.
Me, sitting here looking at a picture of this beautiful, intelligent kid. Tears welling up in my eyes, thinking of how easily I could be writing about this child's death. Tears of disappointment for a kid who I know in this world could be anything she wanted to be. Accomplish anything she ever wanted to. If only she believed in herself like her mother believes in her. Like I believe in her.
What of that little girl, air lifted to the children's hospital? Her family, crying bitter tears for a child who clings desperately to life, while a teenager down the hall carelessly tosses hers away.