Cutting Room Floor (Part 1 of ?)


The picture is from a Medical Museum…I know, cutting room floor you think film. This blog is a few things that just never made it into the pages of LSS. Maybe with good reason.

Pittsburgh, 2004-ish

Walking into the living room, or at least the dimensions and lay out of the house suggested that be its description, I kick over a bottle of water. The place is homey, no, homely, yeah, that’s it, a private dope house that might have been in better shape if left open to the public. In the corner looks to be a half-eaten TV dinner, apparently left there for 3 days in an attempt to see if processed food can rise from the dead. Where a couch should be, is a beat up Laz-E-Boy, and a blanket. At least my friend Jeff has kept a radio. I see him emerge from the “kitchen” carrying a glass of water and 2 q-tips.

It is time to get down to business. Normally my focus in these moments is all inward, if someone can’t hit and needs my help, they will wait. Out of the corner of my eye I see Jeff uncap this syringe that looks like it has been used for a solid month. No unit measurements on the side, the rubber on the plunger looks joined to the side, but the needle, that is what gets my attention.

“Dude, tell me you are not using that.”
“It’s all I have.”
“It’s bent. I can see it’s dull from here. Don’t use it.”
“You have an extra?”
“No”
“Well, I am using it then.”
“You know it’s bent, that you have to do a physics equation to figure out the angle to push or it will just bend more.”
“No, problem, I just bend it back.”
“You’ve done that with this one?”
“Yeah, a few times.”
“Please don’t do it.”
“I’ll be fine.”

Ah yes, words I have uttered many times, no worries Ladies & Gentlemen, this looks bad, but in the end, it’s a gentle ride into the arms of bliss. Invariably, prefacing a boneheaded action with that phrase ensures the euphemism of fine (fucked up, insecure, neurotic and emotional), no thanks to Aerosmith, will indeed win out.

I finish my business, and sit back, sinking into the blanket. The music playing relaxes me that much mo-

“Fuck, oh fuck, MIKE, help me!”
“What happened?” – a truly pointless question, I knew, the needle broke off in his arm.
“The needle broke off in my arm!”
“Calm down. You have tweezers?”
“Look around, what do you think?”

I think for a minute, then I look to see how bad it is. Only the tiniest speck of silver can be seen.
“I suppose a scalpel is completely out of the question then?”
“Dude, help me.”
“You need to go to the hospital.”
“No way.”
“Let me rephrase it, you HAVE to go to the hospital. Leave it in and you’re going to get some nasty abscess.”
“Fuck it, it’s just a metal splinter. It will work itself out.”
“No, it won’t. If you got it in your vein, it might go in all the way, then you are super fucked.”
“I don’t think I did. Push on it an see.”
“You’re making me sick. I will either take you o the hospital or I am out of here. You’re ruining my high.”
“I’ll watch it for a while.”
“Alright, later. Oh, where’s your dope so when you die I can find it?”
“I’ll be fine.”

There it is, again, twice in 10 minutes. I went over a few days later, his arm looked like a balloon and even with a hole in it, most of it was still inflated. A day later, he was in the hospital, sepsis, an infection in the blood. His organs were shutting down.

I never saw him after that, but he recovered enough to get arrested a few months later. Much of his left arm was stripped of muscle, a surgery that left him basically with one arm, but his life.

Looking back, this was just normal type stuff at the time. Being clean, it is more than a little disturbing. Such a glamorous drug, heroin. Such a glamorous life. What the hell? Well, Mike, good choices and you mix as well as the elderly and technology.

So that’s the first, I will probably throw one on a week if anyone can possibly like this post!

Life today is so simple, nice and peaceful. I am so happy to leave that chapter behind. That reality is too real. I like to think I walked a razor’s edge and didn’t bleed. That is impossible though.

Anyway, hope all is well with all my readers and supporters.

“There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream.” ~Author Unknown

Peace -MFJ

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