The Toxic Balloon
(Page 3 of 4)
“Rick!” his wife said from upstairs where she had apparently logged on to their bank account from the family’s desk top computer.
“What?” Rick said from the living room where he was putting on his shoes as fast as he could, given how weak and pain-ridden his back was.
“What’s this charge from Williams Sonoma for a sea salt grinder?”
“Unnnhh…it’s a present for my mom.”
“Your mom uses a sea salt grinder? You think we can afford that? We’re putting diapers and formula on credit cards for God’s sake!”
Rick didn’t say anything.
Too late, Rick was out the door. Somewhere behind him in the Miami night was what used to be his life; what used to be his children and his wife.
He well knew where the sea salt grinder was and who it was for. When he got to the pain clinic in Hialeah, Rick ground up an Oxycontin pill and snorted it, using a plastic spoon he got with some ice cream.
Inside, things went as smoothly. Rick was in drug heaven and feeling no pain..
The pain clinic had two physicians on staff who wrote him prescriptions for what he wanted. The main doctor, the one with the beard, wrote him a prescription for Exalgo, another narcotic pain killer, plus Oxycontin IR, plus hydrocodone, a morphine equivalent dose of 360 much higher than the 120 threshold that is medically suggested.
Rick walked out into the humid night with the prescription folded up in his jeans pocket.
He had his phone turned off. He wasn’t answering anybody’s calls tonight.
The kids were asleep. She had no business nagging him.
He’d heard her on the phone with that guy anyway, whoever he was. Mr. Emotionally Supportive: Whatever. He didn’t care who she babbled to.
Rick was feeling agitated from the pill he had just snorted. That and the heat were making him thirsty.
Nothing like an icey six pack of beer to cool everything off.
The bright lights of a nearby liquor store beckoned. Rick smugly congratulated himself for having the good sense to pick a pain clinic in the same strip mall as a liquor store.
As he walked in, Rick caught just a peripheral glimpse of himself in the mirror that was in the corner of the liquor store ceiling. He looked almost like Petey had looked, with his beard and as thin as he was. Heh, a regular Southern rocker. Just like Petey.
Nancy had made some headway in her battle with the in-network physician practice to stop giving Rick hydrocodone refills. Dealing with Dr. Limon had been next to impossible. Now these billings from the pain clinic were really concerning and frustrating her.
She had now flagged Rick’s case for intervention but he wasn’t returning her calls.
Rick was so far past Nancy’s efforts to get a grip on what he was ingesting and the effect it was having on his mental and physical health that she might as well have closed the file.
Nancy began moving to file the paperwork to deny some of Rick’s medication bills under the grounds that they had become medically unnecessary, but sadly, she was too late.
Rick had three beers in him and was reaching for his fourth when it happened.
He was trying to make a left on West 12th Street when everything just melted out from under him. His car ran right into the side of a parked pickup truck and Rick’s reflexes were so impacted he didn’t even have time to hit the brakes.
Rick’s head hit the rear view mirror, but he was more drunk and numb from narcotics then he was impacted by the crash. He closed his eyes, giving in to the booze and the drugs, the flash from the police lights and the EMT vehicle coming to him through closed eyelids.
“Where are you hurt? Where are you hurt?” he heard the EMT saying to him.
“Nowhere,” Rick answered.
“I don’t know what pain is,” Rick added with an eerie giggle.
He felt strong arms lifting him out of the car.
“I got him, he’s light,” the EMT said.
Disclaimer: The events depicted in this scenario are fictitious. Any similarity to any corporation or person, living or dead, is merely coincidental.
(The Analysis is presented on page 4)