During my first clinical rotation, I got stuck on a Med/Surg floor of an area hospital staffed by some of the nastiest and unpleasant nurses on the planet. I’ll never forget the day I came on shift to hear a nurse give report about a patient who had come on the floor with obvious drug-seeking behaviors.
The disdain in her voice was both palpable and obvious.
Anyone who knows an addict can sort of see where the distrust comes from, it’s hard to trust anyone who will beg, borrow, or steal to get what they want. You want to believe the promises, no matter how many times they’ve reneged on them, you want to hope for the best, no matter what the facts say.
But underneath all of the lies and half-truths, beyond the addict and the drug, lies a person. A person who loves and is loved, someone who has goals and dreams, talents and shortcomings, a person who has likes and dislikes.
It’s easy to forget this, especially when the drug has obscured the ability to touch these parts, as the drug screams infinitely louder and more gratingly. You can hate the disease, but not the person underneath.
Underneath the use and abuse is the person you once laughed with. The person who shared cup after cup of coffee with you. The person who made you smile when you were at the lowest point of your life and reminded you of what was important when you needed to hear it. The person who brought you a card when you had your wisdom teeth out, but delivered it to a house on the block over from your house, but amazingly had another girl named Becky who lived here. The person who, when your boyfriend cheated on you with another girl, and you were pregnant, wrote this girl a scathing email on your behalf.
The person that you wish you’d sent flowers to before she died, and not to her funeral.
I love who she was underneath all of it. And I miss that person very much.
I’m sure I always will.