Kind of Friends

We get called for an OD. A young woman took all her psych meds at the same time because she was depressed. Her ex-boyfriend broke into her house and stole her cell phone. And her best female friend committed suicide recently, so she was just feeling a little overwhelmed. She had a past history of suicide attempts, but she said she wasn’t try to hurt herself this time — she just wanted to chill out. Sitting in a chair in the kitchen she was slurring her speech, and when she tried to stand, her balance was poor. At first I thought she was in her late thirties. I found out she was just thirty.

We got her out in the ambulance and she lay down on the stretcher, and despite the wear and tear on her face, I could see she was actually a fairly pretty girl. It didn’t hurt that she was wearing a tank top that showed off a decent body — one that she said she used to spend a lot of time in the gymn toning — lifting weights, doing cardio. She had a flat abdomen with a navel ring, and a chest that certainly would have had the guys in the gymn checking her out when she walked past. She had beautiful long hair.

I told her I had to do an IV and when I looked at her arms, I could see track marks. “Good luck,” she said. “My veins suck. When I used to work out they were bulging ropes. Not any more.”

“Where do they sometimes find a vein?” I asked.

“Between my toes.”

No, she didn’t actually say that. She said, as she turned her wrist at a peculiar angle, and then with her mouth, kissed the inside aspect, “Right about here, if you wap it a couple times, a little one might pop up.”

I couldn’t find anything there. Instead I found a vein I could put a 24 in in her forearm. It was hidden from view, but I could feel it beneath the surface with my finger tips. I sunk it and filled four blood tubes.

“You’re good,” she said.

I was impressed with myself. I was thinking maybe she’ll invite me to shoot her and her pals up at their next house party. But…

When we were talking about working out and why she hadn’t been in the gymn, she said she stopped going after she got burned. She’d had to go to rehab instead. She told me how her ex-roommate — a woman she’d met in N.A. — a woman who she said was “kind of paranoid” — had poured boiling water on her one night when she was sleeping, and said, “You’re not so pretty now, are you dearie?” For a couple years after that she could barely lift her arm above her shoulder, although it was better now.

Not the kind of friends I would want to hang around with. It was amazing she wasn’t scared more badly. You could see the burns on her neck, but her face with the help of grafts and a damn good surgeon, made her look okay considering.

Hard life.

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