I lay on a metal gurney inside an emergency room. A hospital gown covers my pale, thin skin. My mother is driving over to meet me at the hospital. Until now, the severity of my drug addiction has been a secret to her and the rest of my family. They were aware I suffered from bulimia in college but they believed I overcame it.
The on-call cardiologist is about to break my denial and my mother’s denial regarding my addictions. He enters the dark cave housing my metal gurney and announces the results of my blood test.
“It shows here you were admitted to the emergency room with a toxic amount of cocaine in your system,” he says.
“I went at a party. I tried cocaine for the first time. I didn’t realize how much it would affect me. I did too much,” I replied.
“So, you want me to believe that this was your first time using cocaine?” the physician asked. He took a good look at my 5’8”, 115 pound frame and rejected my lame excuse.
“Do yourself a favor young lady and get to a 12 step meeting as soon as possible. There are plenty of them in South Florida. You have a drug problem and, you may have done permanent damage to your heart.”
My attempt to con the doctor angered him. He didn’t appreciate my wasted life. In his profession, he had seen one too many addicts drink themselves to death or die from an overdose. He wondered how a nice Jewish girl with my upbringing ended up on a metal gurney with IV lines protruding from my veins. He wondered how such a serious problem could go undetected by my family until now. He wasn’t the only person in the room wondering. Even I did not have the answer to that baffling question.