Saturday, January 22, 2011


I have tried not to make this blog all about my life as a mom. I don't view myself as just someone's mom. While it is a huge accomplishment to have kept them alive and out of juvy for this long, it is not where my ENTIRE identity lies. That said. MY KIDS ACTIVITIES HAVE TAKEN OVER MY LIFE. I am pretty sure my inner circle is sick of hearing about it so here I sit venting on the world wide web.

I just read 2 articles in 2 different women's magazines about knowing how and when to say "no". I doubt there has ever been an article of this sort in a men's magazine! My kids certainly do not get everything they want but apparently extracurriculars are my weakness. They are are at ages where they are still finding their niches. I want to offer them a little bit of it all. I would hate to think they could have excelled or enjoyed something if only I had given them the opportunity. This theory has produced chaos that looks something like this.

  • Every other Sunday 3-4:30 Girl Scouts
  • Monday Dance 6-7,Boy Scouts 6:30-7:30
  • Tuesday Son's Basketball Practice 5:30-6:30,Every 4th BS Pack meeting 6:30-7:30, Pips performance 6:30
  • Wednesday Pips 3:30-5:00
  • Thursday Daughter Basketball 6:30-7:30
  • Friday Son Basketball 5:30-6:30
  • Saturday 3 Basketball games 9-2
As I type this it doesn't look that bad but I co-lead  girl scouts and assist the basketball coach for daughter's team. I am ashamed of myself for getting into this situation. The next 6 weeks will be trying while we finish basketball and cookie sales. It is the perfect storm for the nervous breakdown I have been plotting since my daughter's birth 9 1/2 years ago.

It all kind of snowballed into the current schedule.This is our first(and last) year of girl scouting. No one at the parent meeting would volunteer so my friend and I volunteered. SUCKERS.Cameron is on her 4th year of dance. We chose dance in kindergarten as her first activity because it's fun and noncompetitive. We lucked into a very skilled instructor who doesn't taking the art too seriously. Last year the teacher didn't offer classes in our area which was good because my little ballerina was a little burned out. But we are back at the same studio and Cameron enjoys dance so much.  It is also our first year on boy scouts and aside from the schedule conflicts it causes it is really not much of a pain even though they meet weekly throughout the school year. My husband takes him when he is not out of town for training.This is my son's second year of PIPS and it's not too bad because they stay after school and just have to be picked up at 5. Having his practice uniform clean every week is not so easy. The performances cause a huge conflict with his bball practice and pack meetings.This is his first year in basketball. Cameron has played bball for 3 years and it is my favorite of all our stuff. I love to go and yell like an idiot at the games. Plus it is inexpensive and only lasts for 6 weeks.

Aside from these activities we have tried gymnastics for both. They liked it but it is really expensive and they wanted to try other things. My son did t-ball last year and it was a big fat dud. We have avoided doing soccer even though they both ask every year. Last year we were 4H members but never had time to put a project together.

If you have children you know that leaving the house to go do ANYTHING is like getting a bill passed through congress. You have to make sure everyone has matching socks(lol) and the necessary accoutrement for whatever activity is on the agenda. Add in an unoccupied sibling and you have to gather the book, video game, or homework they will need to be stimulated during brother or sister's activity.No matter what you bring it really only keeps them out of your hair for about 15 minutes.

Next year per a family agreement, we will be dropping pips and girl scouts. So that means a maximum total of 4 things at a time and that will only be in January and February:basketball for both+dance+boy scouts.Sigh. I have learned that being overbooked just makes me wish my life away. Right now I am wishing for March when I can spend some time at home without my mind racing, thinking about everything I should be doing or can do tomorrow. Until then-like a true addict-I am just taking it one day at a time....

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pill Head Review

I just finished reading a book my former Jane magazine editor Joshua Lyon. Pill Head is a nonfictional account of his addiction to prescription painkillers. He also interjects the stories of several other addicts throughout as well as his research on the topic and interviews with experts. I happened upon this book at the public library. It was right up my ally because of the line of work I do and my love for nonfiction. I just love a memoir.

I immediately loved his writing style a knew it would be a two day, don't do anything unnecessary until I'm finished book. If you ever read Jane magazine you know what I had gotten myself into as far a adult imagery and themes. I bought the magazine once back when I had time for fashion, but could not read it because the language was way too liberal for my taste. Once I got two pages in and read about his career there I braced myself for 270 pages of questionable morality. Consider this your disclaimer.

He went right into the onset of his addiction. He was assigned to research online pharmacies. There was an epidemic of closed door Internet pharmacies who worked with irresponsible prescribers to dole out narcotics to our pill obsessed nation. This was in the early 2000's. I remember the ads all over magazines, TV, and the Internet. He easily got registered with one of the pharmacies and was prescribed some benzos and Vicodin. The only question the doctor had when he called was, "how many?".  When he received the Vicodin he immediately took 3 tablets. Then he went into the "bubble" he would remain in for years. Instant addiction. He discusses the warm feeling that overcame his body upon his first experience with pain killers. Americans are addicted to all types of medications but his focus is painkillers. He recalls that he liked them because contrary to the hangover effects of alcohol and cocaine, he would feel absolutely fine when he came down from his "bubble". He speaks of isolation and how taking the pills made him feel socially comfortable. Apparently in his world drug use is rampant and binge drinking and doing acid or cocaine socially is just par for the course. He was functionally addicted. He maintained employment and relationships throughout his drug abuse. His tolerance became so high that when his appendix ruptured and they attached the morphine drip, the opiate did not even touch the pain.

He describes his experience "scoring" pills on the street and networking to keep a steady supply after the government cracked down on the Internet pharmacy industry. I didn't know benzos(xanax for example) are just currency for painkiller addicts. They are prescribed legit scripts for benzos and then upchange the tablets for painkillers with other addicts who prefer benzos. The author describes going the the DEA in Washington D.C. to research the policies and what is being done to help addicts and generally prevent addiction.Prescription drug abuse in the new meth in most parts of our country. He talks about the stigma that street drugs have and the safety abusers feel using something manufactured in a legit setting and given by a physician. Ultimately he completes rehab and continues to work on his sobriety.

My Take
With the work I do, I see and speak with prescription drug addicts on a daily basis. It just comes with the territory. We have the time to monitor patients and refuse to give refills before they are due. I concede that there is only so much we can do. The will of an addict is strong. In this book I learned about prescription monitoring programs which are a valuable tool for health care providers. They are mandated by state government and operating in about 30 states. They track controlled substances prescriptions and provide a history for doctors and pharmacies. It is within the HIPAA laws because everyone who has access to the information has the right based on the HIPAA act anyway.This is a responsible health care providers dream. Sometimes we have to call eight pharmacies to make sure a known abuser has not received the given drug we are dispensing within a reasonable time frame. I contacted the administer of the Texas program and learned that our program is not online yet which was disappointing because this resource will be so valuable when we can access it.The last thing I want is my name on a prescription that kills someone or ends up on the streets in the hands of a reckless teenager.

He discussed detox and medicines that help fend off opiate receptors in the brain. This was probably the most interesting and new information I learned from the book. Based on his research, he endorses Suboxone. He also brought to light an issue that I had never considered that is not exclusive to rx addiction. When these addicts are being treated prescribers are giving them drugs "off the label". This means prescribing the medicine to treat something it is not FDA approved to treat. Just like aspirin relieves pain but also can assist your cardiac system, some prescription drugs have duel uses. However if the FDA has not approved the drug for the alternative purpose, the outcome can be adverse. This had never occurred to me because I rarely know what the drugs I dispense are treating. Often I learned anti psychotics are used to treat mood and depression. Or sleep medication used for anxiety.

The most off putting issue for me was his resistance of God in the rehabilitation process.It was a non issue to him and isn't really addressed at length. I guess I am used to living in a world of believers and he was raised in a world of nonbelievers. It makes sense now when I think about how easy it would be to go down a self destructive path if not for our faith. I mean this guy talks about doing cocaine with the casualty of drinking a soda.He lacked the foundation to make good choices about his health and soul. He also experienced those feeling of loneliness because he did not have the comfort of knowing there was something more than this life.  I have a feeling people who believe in God or even another spiritual ententity are much easier to rehabilitate. He mentions being sexually abused two times but does not speak about it very specifically or even relate it to his addiction. I hope that he will resolve these issues as he gets further into the 12 steps.

Final review: Good read, very educational. (even if there were parts that made me blush and pray no one was reading over my shoulder)