A picture I hope I never see again


In the room, on the other side of the curtain, lay a young man. I watched as two uniformed officers accompanied him. He looked to be about 20 years old and appeared to be sleeping. There were several doctors and nurses in and out and I heard someone say, "if you're gonna do that stuff, don’t do the synthetic stuff! You shouldn't be doing any of it but do the real stuff if you are gonna do it." The young man didn’t respond. I felt embarrassed since obviously the officers didn’t expect me to be watching from the other cubicle. They quickly pulled the curtain between us.

Soon, someone said, "are you cold?" Are you hot?" There was murmuring and low voices after that. In a while, they wheeled him out for a few minutes and then back in. He still appeared to be sleeping. A nurse stopped by the end and poked her head in the curtain. She asked the officers a few questions and as she came out, she shook her head sadly and then left.

As we were getting discharge papers, I slipped around the curtain and asked the officers if there was no family with them for this boy. They murmured something to me without giving any real information, but nodded and finally acknowledged that there may be some family somewhere around. By now, the boy was shaking, trembling, and jerking and he was strapped to the bed in a fashion so as to not be able to get out of bed or harm himself. He was not speaking and his eyes were closed while he pitifully went through his inevitable process of overdosing.

He looked like he could have been anybody's son or grandson. I wanted to cry. I wanted to go to him and hug him, hold his hand and give him some comfort, but the officers made it clear that I shouldn't be in there, so I immediately left with the vivid picture of a young man obviously going through some type of detox situation. A picture I hope I never see again.

It has to be heartbreaking for those who are charged with healing, when they see those people, both young and old, who have lost their way in life and abuse their body and mind through drug abuse. For me, it was heartbreaking to see this young man alone, perhaps by his own choice, or perhaps because others have given up on him.