My Poetic Path

my journey…shared in poems, prose and photos

Acceptable?

23 Comments

librax“How did you do with those last medical books I gave you?” Dr. Cohen asked.

“Heavy reading but interesting.” I replied. “You really think I could be a doctor?”

“Yes, I really think you could be a physician. And a good one.”

“And Dr. Mills too.”

“And Dr. Mills too. Maybe you should give what we’re trying to tell you some serious thought. You have the intelligence and compassion to do this. Don’t sell yourself short.” he said, closing my chart. ” I’ll be right back. You can get dressed in the meantime. I won’t be long.”

Slipping off the edge of the paper-lined examination table, I pulled my dress back on, over the pale blue slip I was wearing. Thinking about the faith both of these wonderful doctors had in me. A confidence I didn’t have in myself. And what little self-esteem that was left, rapidly being chipped away at home, each day.

“Anything else I can help with today? ” Dr. Cohen asked when he returned, sitting down to face me.

“Well, as much as I’m not a fan of taking drugs, I’m having problems with my stomach bothering me, in addition to all the anxiety and stress you already know about.”

“You’ve  got to leave that guy. It’s not going to get better from what you’ve told me, repeatedly. In the meantime, it’s ruining your health. You don’t deserve to live like that. He isn’t worth it.”

“I know all that. I’ve tried to leave. I have left, more than once. But I always come back. He always says things will be different. And for a while they are. Then it starts all over again.”

“Well, no little pill is going to fix a situation like you’re in. But if you need something short-term, I can prescribe some Librax for you. 4 mg. is the lowest dosage there is. Should help with the anxiety and your stomach issues but it won’t fix the problems at home. Only you can do that.”

“Yeah, just something short-term. Just to help get me through the next little while. I know I have to leave.”

“OK, here’s the prescription. But be careful taking these. They will make you feel relaxed. But they can also make you less aware when you’re driving.  You could float through a stop sign some day and not even be aware of it at the time. Be careful.”

“I will.” I said, taking the paper from him.

“See you in a month or so. And keep reading those books. That’s the kind of things you should be focused on, not trying to reform your husband. You’ve already given him more than his share of chances.”

“Thanks doc, I’ll try. On both counts.”

Several weeks later, while driving down a quiet street close to our apartment, I did “float” through a stop sign, narrowly missing hitting a Volkswagen Beetle.

When I slammed on the brakes at the last minute, I felt like something had woken me up in that split second. I had been drifting, relaxed…until I saw the young woman with her small baby, getting out of that car.

I will never forget that moment.

I burst into tears and got out of my car. Went over and apologized again and again.

The woman was shaken up too, but not angry towards me. She was very kind, all things considered. No damage to life, to the cars…it could have all turned out so differently, so tragically.

After a few minutes, she drove off and I pulled my car over to the side of the curb, still crying.

When I got home that night, I threw the rest of the capsules I had, down the toilet.

Dr. C was right. I had to face the problems in my marriage and do something about them, once and for all.

As for the drugs I had been taking while still continuing to drive. …Acceptable?  NOT!

You can read more about the dangers of mixing many prescription drugs and driving here.

I know this is a touchy subject for so many people. Drunk driving is becoming more and more unacceptable every year. But why do so many people assume that prescription drugs are safe to take while driving, just because they are prescribed by a doctor? Not always the case.

Names have been changed but this (shorter version) of the actual story is true.

Timeline, my first marriage and in my early 20’s.

***

Dedicated in memory of one of my best friends, Debbie Claeys who died when she was 16.

Debbie was one of the most beautiful, kind people I have ever known. Because of someone who shouldn’t have been driving but was, her life was cut tragically short and those of two of her other friends too.

Sending hugs Debbie, you will never be forgotten.♥

***

Also submitted for the Woven Dreams prompt for May 5th: Acceptable.

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Author: Geraldine

I am a freelance writer, poet, artisan, avid blogger and vegetarian cookbook author. I recently published the first volume of my new vegetarian cookbook series: The Groovy Green Kitchen: Weeknight Veggie Slow Cooker and my first novel: Third Chapter, Second Chance, a midlife romance story. I am also the author of: Not Just for Vegetarians: Delicious Homestyle Cooking, the Meatless Way and the poetry collections: Haiku Reflections:The Four Seasons and My Poetic Path. When I'm not writing or creating new recipes, I love to knit and crochet; usually with some "help" from feline friend, yarn-loving Mr. Cheddar! :<) I hope you will visit and enjoy all of my blogs. Thanks for stopping by. Namaste!

23 thoughts on “Acceptable?

  1. Geraldine!! Thank heavens you (and the other driver) were okay. That is scary stuff. Yes, we have to learn that prescription drugs can render us as useless as a drunk driver. It takes time, but the word will get out.

    And it’s so true – sometimes medication is only masking the symptoms of a much greater problem. Here’s hoping all in your world will resolve itself and the stress will slip away.

  2. I don’t really have words except to say this post is VERY powerful! Thank you for sharing this story.

  3. Do not drive whilst on this medication! How many times have I seen that on leaflets that accompany drugs. All drugs are labelled accordingly if they will cause drowsiness or other conditions, and the doctors also tell us, yet sadly many people ignore the fact. I am sorry to hear about your friend. This is such a sad tale and I hope many people read it.

  4. Very powerful story. And this is a wake-up call for anyone who mixes drugs of any kind and drives. I’m so glad you weren’t hurt or worse, the other woman and her baby too. A very close call.

  5. Hi Talon, Yes, I’m glad that none of us were hurt that day. This all happened when I was in my 20’s, during my first marriage so that stressful life situation is gone now.

    Hi Jackie, This is a story I wanted to write and share for a long time. It still upsets me and very much, to think about what might have happened that day.

    If this story gets the point across to even one person how dangerous this “mix” can be, I will be glad. It’s a message I think that needs to be heard and heeded a lot more.

    I know several people personally who take tranquilizers on a daily basis and drive and I shudder to think what could happen.

    Hi Val, Yes, the warnings are there but how many people take any note of them, I agree.

    Thank you for mentioning Debbie. She was an amazing person and I will never forget her. When she died, after clinging to life for 2 days in a hospital, I thought I would never stop crying. I was only a teenager at that time too and she was the first special person I had lost. A life cut short, due to someone else’s bad decision.

    Hi Joe, It was a very close call. It is a day I will never forget.

    Take care out there, G

  6. I’m glad that you and the other Mother were okay. What a powerful story. Your story will surely make me and those who read it think twice before taking any medicines and getting behind the wheel of a car!

  7. Very scary post. I’m glad both you and the other driver were okay. I’m very sorry about your friend. Safe driving is a serious responsibility. There are so many things that can keep us from reacting; alcohol, drugs (legal or otherwise), being tired and texting or using a phone can make us miss minute decisions that can end up hurting us or others. Driving is a huge responsibility. My Mother used to say that in the wrong hands a car is a weapon and your responsibility is to always keep it from hurting others. That is so true.

  8. oh very nice….i really like your telling of the story! may be the longest thing i have read by you…
    now i am glad you were ok…ugh drugs/pharmaceuticals…you have to be careful….
    sometimes i wonder what doctors are thinking…and some of it is motivated by money
    at least in psychotherapy drugs…testing…haphazardly…have seen it with kids
    i worked with….

  9. Hi Robyn, Thanks for your kind words. I hope my story does make people think about this important topic. Sadly, a lot of people don’t heed warnings like this, before it’s too late. I felt compelled to share this story even though all these years later, it still makes me feel guilty and yes, even ashamed of my actions at that time. I did learn though and that’s better than nothing.

    Hi Ruinwen, Cars CAN be weapons, so true. It take a LOT of concentration to be a good driver and any kinds of distractions or lessened response/concentration can have tragic results. No one has to drive but if we do, we owe it to ourselves and every one we share the roads with, to be alert and to make the effort to be a safe driver. How different that day could have turned out, for all three of us. :(

    Hi Brian, I’m not a short story fan as you already know but as I’ve already said, I felt compelled to share this story, for a long time. Doctors can only go so far when it comes to warning people. Mine did at the time but he didn’t forbid me to drive or anything like that. If he had, I wouldn’t have or wouldn’t have taken those drugs. And this was the only drug I was taking, what about the people who mix multiple prescriptions? What effects can that have on a person’s driving abilities?

    Yes, big pharma is a big part of reasons for the misguided complacency about this issue too. It would put a dent in their bottom line if more people ?? any and all the drugs they took, while still wanting to drive. A touchy subject but an important one. I’m glad you enjoyed reading this story.

    Take care, G

  10. A scary, powerful account. Glad you’re okay. I was once put on drugs that did funny things to me. I threw them away within days.

  11. Thanks Geraldine for sending the powerful message through this prompt. It speaks clearly of the dangers of mixing driving with drug. I wish too that were new or more laws down here in the states concerning texting on cell phone while driving or just taking on a cell phone while driving. There are so many accidents from those situations, too. Nearly every driver I pass while on the road has a cell phone in their ear. And accidents have been reported and mangled cars shown of accidents where a teen was texting while driving.

  12. Thank goodness everyone was okay. Very sad about your friend. A very well written story.

  13. We tend to think that any thing given to us by a Doctor is acceptable…but it’s really up to us to do the research…and monitor ourselves. You had a very close call, but thankfully nothing bad happened to anyone.

    Great advice.

    Jen

  14. Hi Tony, I hear you. I’m not a fan of drugs of any kind, avoid them as much as possible. I agree, some of the side effects can be very strange and often worse than the symptoms for what people are taking them for initially.

    Hi Joyce, So true Joyce, so true…there are MANY ways that people can be distracted or not concentrating as they should be, while driving. I think the laws need to get tougher to curb these dangerous practices like texting and using a phone while driving too.

    Hi Suzy, Thank you Suzy and welcome to MPP.

    Hi Jen, Yes, that’s true Jen. As I said above, if my doctor at that time had told me absolutely NOT to drive, I wouldn’t have. He did warn me but I thought I was OK to drive. I didn’t feel drugged at all, just relaxed and calm.

    A lot of people are so used to how they function on tranquillizers etc…that they feel they are at their best and fine to drive. But being too relaxed while driving is not a good thing. I learned that in a big way and the hard way, that day. Although it could have been SO much worse.

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments, all appreciated, G

  15. Geraldine, not only it is not acceptable, but it’s wrong! Unfortunately, people who need to use these drugs, or think they do, don’t realize it. I suppose they are desperate to feel better, they are lost in their own worlds. I’m extremely sorry for your friend. Such a young, promising life lost for such a reason is unthinkable.
    Your rendering of this story is very poignant. I’m glad it ended well.

  16. This was very powerful and poignant. You’re very right that people shouldn’t mix drinking or particular drugs with driving. I’m glad the story ended well, but am sorry for the loss of your friend.

  17. Powerful message! One which is ignored far too often…thanks for sharing.

  18. Hi Vesper, I couldn’t agree more.

    Yes, people who take drugs like tranquillizers, relaxants etc, are often not concerned or aware of just how dangerous it is to mix these substances with driving. They feel good (or better than without these drugs) and don’t realize or want to admit that their reactions are slower, etc…as you say, lost in their own world.

    But we share the road and when we get behind the wheel of a car, we have to be alert, focused and not impaired, in any way. No one has to drive, there are alternatives even if not the most convenient perhaps. And a convenience that can come at a very high price (not just in $$) in the big picture.

    I’ve been told many times over the years that I am an excellent driver. But on this very low dose of this drug (and only one drug) it still made me too relaxed to be driving safely. What about the people who take high levels of drugs that affect the nervous system or mix multiple drugs?

    I really hope that my message here will help. Even if it saves one life and someone’s family from the tragedy of this kind of loss too, it will be worth it. Thank you for your kind words re: my portrayal of this sad tale.

    Hi Rae, Thank you.
    I still often think about Debbie, all these years later. she truly was an exceptionally kind and caring person. She had so much to offer to the world and had so many dreams she should have seen come true, including going to university. but it never happened because of someone else’s VERY bad decision.

    Hi Sue, Thanks Sue, it is something that is ignored far too often. Hopefully my own experience will help spread the word.

    Take care out there, drive safe and thanks for your comments, G

  19. I lived with agoraphobia and social phobia all my life being given pills that I threw out, I lived in horror for 42 years refusing to take the pills. I thought either I get stronger or I die….So I did I died I couldn,t breathe, I suffocated 24 hours a day, stayed awake all night praying that it would stop and asking God why why why wasn’t he taking me. There was nothing left in me to fight there was no breath in my body I drowned in my own body constantly non stop and I wouldn’t die. So finally I did go to see my doctor, Ididn’t do it for me, I did for my son….because I was waiting to die because I didn’t want to take pills that would restore the natural nervous system that I had destroyed refusing to take any pills. So I took them, but by then Icouldn’t work, I couldn’t breathe….so i took them and tried cold turkey after using it for 1 year I was ashamed of taking pills I underwent 6 weeks of hell migraines nausea apparitions, monster, tingling in my brain in my body seeing things that weren’t there, I didn’t drive for those 6 weeks because of the rage in my body I was afraid Iwould run someone down with my car. THOSE 6 weeks of HELL were nothing compared to how I am without pills, so before you Judge, I have never taken a pill for depression in my entire life nor Have I ever been depressed. But there are some people who, like me have destroyed their nervous system, because of the judgment of people who have no idea what it’s like to die every day with something you have no control over. And this story and everybody’s congratulations for stopping something no one should ever take,hurts those who have to take them to survive. OR do you think it’s PREFERABLE FOR SOMEONE TO DIE…INSTEAD OF TAKING PILLS. I DON’T KNOW THE CAUSE OF WHY MY BODY IS THE WAY IT IS, AND BELIEVE ME WHEN MY SON IS OLDER AND ALL MY CATS ARE DEAD I WILL STOP TAKING THOSE PILLS and then I WILL DIE….knowing I did the best I could and I failed. And that is supported by your story. I love you and I hate being judged by a person I respect so much and all those who have responded congratulating you for not being a weak person. So thanks for judging a body that was born with phobias. and all the good I did and all the people I helped means nothing. Because all people see is that I wasn’t strong enough to continue helping the world, and I’m taking pills and will stop the day I decide to die.

  20. And I drove because what I took wasn’t affecting me it went straight to what needed to be repaired in my body. Because when you take something that makes dizzy, of course you should never drive on that I agree a 100%, but for those who say that people take pills and throw them out, and those who agree that people who take pills instead of looking at what’s wrong in their life are judging that it is a possibility that I could live without them, everything I touch end up being broken, it’s called a chemical imbalance that people say doesn’t exist and the fact they reduced my dosage because usa said that the amount I need is dangerous. So it was reduce, but my body does not function well without the full amount and my doctor knows it and he knows I need the full amount for my body to function but he doesn’t want to lose his license….so I suffer and I’m judged everyday, by everyone except my son, because I sent him away and paid for apt for him ’cause at 17 you can’t live in a house where you can’t make a sound where you can barely speak, where anybody next to me is like my skin being stripped of my body so I send him a way so I could live a normal life. I did everything i could, God knows it. My son is the only one who doesn’t judge me. He is like the sun rising every time he comes over to see me and I can breathe again….and I know my previous comment wasn’t entirely appropriate for the subject matter but somehow it felt like arrows in my heart, ’cause I can’t be around people so my only friends are on the INternet. I care so much for all of you and I,’m sorry for my rampage but some things were said that made me feel useless and weak. G. itès up to you whether you want to show those comments or not. I apologize sometimes it just seems too much, and no one is in my corner.

  21. Lorraine, The ONLY person I’m “judging” in the story above, is myself. I don’t know why you are interpreting this as judging you.

    We all have to live with the decisions we make in life. This was something I wanted to share for a long time and I’m glad that I did, in spite of how hard it was to write this story, to relive that day and the shame I felt for what almost happened.

    As far as driving, I still stand behind what I’ve said above. No one has to drive and we are not alone on the roads. We owe it to ourselves and to everyone else out there to drive safely and responsibility.

    I was not as alert as I should have been that day and I shouldn’t have been driving, even though I felt perfectly normal. I was impaired, albeit from a drug prescribed for me. It’s as simple as that.

  22. You are right my responses were inappropriate it had nothing to do with what you said…I wish I could delete everything I wrote but I can’t , I just had one too many judgments lately it all came out at the wrong place, I have never driven under influence of any kind. i agree that it is unacceptable to not be in clear of mind and body, too many people have been killed this way. I apologize for my comments, it came out here, but it wasn’t in response to your story. Wrong place, wrong time. My anguish came out not because of you…nor what you said. I apologize. Please, if you can I would appreciate you deleting my comments.

  23. Again I am deeply sorry, this was not meant for you at all, My rebellion didn’t come from your words didn’t come from you, you are not that kind of person, but it just came out If I could erase it i would it in a split second.

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