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I am an IV drug abuser.

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Now, itís a kind of a shocker of a statement that conjures up a perception of a heroin addict in some dirty hallway of an abandoned hotel, overdosed with a needle hanging out of their arm. Now thatís not me, luckily. There is actually very little chance of me being addicted to anything mainly because of my incessant need to control everything. If I come up with a perception that I am doing something too much, I will stop doing it just because of the fact that I need to be able to control all aspects of myself. Take sodas for example. Up through college, I was drinking probably a minimum of a twelve pack a day. Well, one day I just decided enough was enough and went cold turkey. I didnít drink any sodas for 8 years. Even now I won’t drink anything brown because of caffeine issues and the fact that drinking brown anything is kind of freaky. It’s just stuff like that which would be very difficult for some external factor to take over my life.

Why the shocker title and the rambling. I guess it is because today was one of those days that you realize that something is wrong with you. Itís the old light bulb going off, or the hammer falling out of the sky conking you on the head. I am just wondering how usual it is for someone to give them self a shot. Sure, there are people in the medical profession that do it, same with diabetics and such, even drug abusers shoot it up, but they all have a key to the boundaries. Medicals do it all day long and to the layman it is about equal to pumping gas in our car. Diabetics and those that require self-medicating are weaned onto doing it themselves after a while of someone doing it for them. Drug abusers have basically drugged over any boundaries that might have existed. What I am questioning is the other 98% of the world that donít deal with needles and drugs. I have a feeling that most people of that 98% will never give themselves a shot on their own. That is why my issue.

To clarify what happened, let me go into detail. Last week when I got to Caracas, I became really sick. It was Sunday night and I went through all the dreaded puking, diarrhea, fever, chills, cough, body ached, etc. By Monday I was okay, but I was still feeling a little under the weather. I was in Caracas to get my vaccinations so I went Monday and got three shots. Yellow Fever, Hepatitis B, and Tetanus/Diphtheria. Not smart I know, but I had to get this shit done or no RTW trip. Tuesday it was a holiday so I couldnít get my last shot. That night I got sick again, but this time more symptomatic of a cold. I was feeling better the next day so I went for my Hepatitis A shot. Thursday I left for Ciudad Bolivar. I was feeling okay, but when I arrived around five in the morning I had a small rash on both fore arms and elbows. It was odd but I did not think much about it since I was feeling fine. The rash got worse, so about three I went to a local clinic to get it checked out. I was reading through my guidebooks health section and I learned that it was probably Dengue Fever which I had gotten since all the indications were right on. I explained the best I could about all the factors but she kind of leaned towards a food allergy. I knew that was wrong because for the last two days the only thing that I ate was a Wendys hamburger meal and a pack of cookies. She wrote a prescription for me to get which included hydrocortisone. I have had that in the past for a rash so I knew that shit was good. Well, went to three farmacias and they were all out of the cortisone. She had prescribed another injectable Clorotirutou (sp) and Zyrtec. I knew about Zyrtec and hoped that the combined of the two would bring me relief because she only gave me thirty minutes to round things up because they were closing. I got the shot and popped the pills. With that I left. As I was walking back to the Posada, I ran into another Farmacia and they had the Cortisone. I got the drug box and a couple of needles. The doctor had told me that since they were closed for the weekend to go to the emergency room at the hospital the next day. Well, I slept through the night okay, but when I woke up, I was one big rash. Not spotty, just one big raised and red rash continuous from my neck down. I grabbed a taxi and headed to the hospital. I waited for a while with a dozen sick babies. Today, I could care less about sick babies, so I took my place in line and held it. I luckily got a very nice and cute doctor who I explained everything and she made sure that I got what I needed. She walked me to the room where they were giving shots and told the other nurse specifically what I needed. The shot I got there was more of a forced IV with a big cylinder of a mixture of saline, hydrocortisone, and one other component. She stuck the input needle into a vein in my arm and then the huge tube of stuff to that. She would just force some in every once in a while. It was cool when the blood was permeating back into the other fluid of the reservoir. There was one other baby there that was screaming from his shots so I felt better. A six year old boy was sitting on the other side of the room from me with the same set up and he was just having a fine old time. He kept reminding th nurse that she needed to keep shooting the stuff in. I even saw him take a push himself. When I was done, they gave me a piece of paper and told me to go somewhere else. I didnít understand so I just went in the direction of where they were pointing. When I was wandering around for a few minutes the original doctor popped out and waved me over. She took me to another room which was a lab where I got some blood taken for testing. She told to come back at one for the results and then go back to her so she could take a look. Since it was only a few hours until one I decided to just hang out. As I waited the rash sort of flattened out and then started to break up. I went back at one and they still hadnít done it so I waited until two. Nothing. I was looking a lot better so I figures I would just take off since it looked like whatever they gave me was working. I am pretty healthy and tend to recover quickly so I figured that was it. By the time I took a nap, I was almost totally cleared up. I went out with a couple of guys for lunch and to hang out at the river. It was a good day. That night I went to sleep early. During the night I could feel the itchiness come over, but I figures it was just something in regards to something else. When I woke up and took a look at my chest and arms, it was worse that the previous day. I was pissed. I got dressed in my long sleeves and long pants, didnít want to scare anyone with my plague look. I headed down to hospital hoping that they were open. There were a lot of people there so I was at least relieved that they were open. I first went to see if my results were done. They were so I took them and headed back to the emergency room. When I got there, surprisingly there were only a couple of people waiting. Unfortunately, they only had a pediatric doctor on staff and he was swamped. I waited for about a half an hour and gave up.

Standing in line is when I got the idea of the self shooting of the drugs. I still had the box with the cortisone and the needles since the hospital used their own stuff. I was half heartedly thinking about it and decided to hell with it and left. I kind of talked myself into it at that point even though the second thoughts weighed heavily. I grabbed a taxi and stopped off in the city center. It was Sunday so everything was closed. I wanted to pick up some alcohol so at least I could sterilize the skin and such. Nothing was open so I gave up and went back. I went back to my room to kind of think things out. I grabbed the box to take a read. Everything was in Spanish but I could make out some of it. It was when I opened the box that the big ďNo WayĒ sign popped out. There were two glass vials in the box. One had a liquid in it while the other was a powder. They were in these little solid glass vials that did not have any way of opening them. The only way was to snap the neck off and hope that glass did not fall into the drugs. Now I was expecting those little glass vials with the little rubber tops where you stick the needle through to suck out the liquids. I went back to the box and used my Spanish book to try and decipher as much as possible. At first I thought I was going to be lucky since it said that it was to be taken intramuscular or intravenously. I took intravenous as by mouth until I remembered it meant by injection into the blood stream. Right there the ďno wayĒ started screaming even louder in my head. What the hell, it was Sunday and I wasnít going anywhere. If I wore a long sleeve shirt, nobody could tell, and it didnít itch or hurt at all. I could just wait it out until the next morning and then everybody would be open. Well, I figured that there would be no harm if I tried to figure out how the little glass bowling pin vials worked. I grabbed my towel and grabbed the thinner neck. It took a good push, but the glass snapped off leaving a little opening. I figured that the two components had to be mixed together to form a shoot able solution. My mind conjured up the thoughts of bending a metal spoon over and using a candle to liquify them together and then dropping a little piece of cotton into the mess so that it will pull into the needle easier. Well, I figured that since I wasnít going to do it because of so many negative factors involved that I would just mix the two together to see if my guess was right. I popped the neck off of the powder and couldnít figure out how to get one into the other. The necks were too small and it would just create a big mess. I figured the only way besides using some special medical equipment which became another reason not to do this. I figured I could use one of the needles to suck up the fluid and inject into the powder. I did it and it created a light brownish fluid. It didnít congeal like I thought it would like sugar in coffee. So there it sat. A vial of a totally liquid solution that I created. At that point, the sweat started to build on my forehead. This was fucking insane. There were so many stop signs but yet I was reaching for the other needle. I debated on whether to use the bathroom or stay in my room. Going to the bathroom would have been the best solution unless someone needed to use it and I was still in there still trying to shove that needle in my ass. That and someone seeing what I was doing probably wouldnít be so good. Staying in my room was good except I would have to shut the two doors which I had yet to close. Even when I slept I didnít bother to close them. In the middle of the day, I shut them and figured that it was the safest bet. God I was feeling dirty and stupid. I could just imagine someone having to come into my room seeing me passed out on my bed with a needle in my ass. I grabbed the second needle and unwrapped it. God, that needle looked long. The plunger was about a centimeter from topping out so I pushed it in to eradicate as much air as possible. I stuck the needle into the opening of the glass vial and slowly pulled back on the syringe sucking up as much as I could without grabbing any air. I did like they do in the movies and pressed on the plunger until some of the liquid shout out. I also did the tap on the side of the needle to get any air bubbles that were sticking to the sides. I did the squirt again. At that point I laid the needle down making sure that the tip did not touch anything. I took a deep breath and rubbed my eyes thinking ďdonít do this, itís only a rash.Ē Deep down came the echoes of ďyou big pussy.Ē I dropped my pants and took a look through the crack in the door. I poked around with my finger knowing that the only area that I did not want to hit was a bone. I found a good spot where I got some of my vaccinations. I had no alcohol or cotton swab to wipe it off, so I was going in dirty. I wasnít sure if you are supposed to pinch some skin at the point of jab, but by doing it myself, it was a moot point. With my hands shaking I grabbed the needle. Another squirt just to make sure. I put the tip of the needle to the point where I wanted to inject. I imagined the bite that I usually got when I got the shots down there and figured I had to prepare myself for a lot worse since I had to watch it and do it myself. I pressed the needle to the skin preparing for a sting as it touched and even a burn once I broke skin. What was surprising was that the skin recessed in where I was pushing in and suddenly the needle was in. Absolutely no pain. I was so surprised that I pushed the needle in about a half an inch to see if it were actually in. Yup, I was in. I wasnít sure how far to go so I figured on three quarters of the way in. Well, one thing was, the needle met zero resistance and when I just pushed a little bit, the needle went all the way in. I was somewhat shocked but more mesmerized how easily I could just push it in and out. Well, the time came to inject, so I readjusted my grip and put my forefinger over the plunger and started to push. That is when the burn came and I could feel the liquid burning inside me. It hurt, but it was over quickly. I forgot that I wanted to take a picture so I had to waddle over to the table where my camera was. I grabbed the camera with my free hand and fired off a quick photo. Once that was done I quickly pulled out the needle and wiped the blood off with my boxers. It was still burning which I did not remember happening before, but at least my heart hadnít exploded from an air bubble. I walked around the room nervously waiting for some ill effects just thinking about how stupid I was. I then gathered up all my drug paraphanelia and buried at the bottom of my bag. I just sat there for a while just thinking about what I had done and wondered what the hell was wrong with me. I have played Russian roulette once before when I was younger but would never do that again. It was that same type of feeling that there is absolutely no positive that could come out of this. I was in Kings Canyon in Australia doing a tour. There was this one part where we had to cross over a wide crack. They had a make shift bridge that half the people had to have help to cross since it had no guard rails. It wasnít more that a couple of yards across, but it was about a hundred yards down. I was mesmerized by that thing so I crossed with everybody else and then waited until everybody had past. While everybody else were gathered together at a meeting place just ahead, I went back. Took a quick look down a few yards away from the bridge. Walked back a bit turned around a hauled ass back and over the ravine. I barely made it and ended up popping my ankle. It hurt like hell, but I had done it. When I looked back there was this German guy who I had been becoming friends with. He was standing there with a blank stare. We just looked at each other for a second and he just turned and walked away. We really didnít talk after that. I gathered myself from the ground, dusted off, and limped my way back over the bridge. I just looked back and said ďfuck you.Ē Its that kick of conquering fear. This was different in that I really question where my boundaries are and why in the hell they arenít stopping me. Well, Iím done philosophizing. Iím tired and want to take a nap. Probably not the best time to take a nap, but if I donít wake, I have the reasons on my computer. I am getting these sharp pains in my side. Itís my right side, so its not my heart. Oh well, life goes on…….

The good news is that I woke up. The bad news is that my veins in my legs are showing. At least they look like veins. I hope its not those Schistisomiasis worms ready to come out. I would have to go out and get more drugs (and more needles.) The rash on the other hand is fading a bit. It did not reduce as fast at the big feeder the hospital used, but I can tell that it is working. My arms cleared up the fastest and now just have the red coloration where the swelling rash used to be.

It was about 4:30 so I decided to go and take some pictures since it was still sunny and I am not sure how long I will be around. I did some of the cool colored houses and the church. The only bridge that crosses the Orinoco is a few miles down but you can see it from the walkway. After that it was just sit and watch the sun go down along the river. There were people fishing off the walkway so that is always popular with me. Since my past sicknesses I have diagnosed as not from coming from the food I ate, I jumped right back into eating from the food stalls along the roads. They were making these little beef kabobs with potatoes so I downed a couple of them. At $.50 you can’t go wrong even if they weren’t cow and could possibly be some other type of meat (woof woof.) With that, I went back home to relax. I ended up hanging out with Karen a girl from Belgium who was on her last month of a year long trip in South America. She was makin her way around selling the little bracelets and necklaces. After that, some writing and bed. If my health holds up I think I will do the Angel Falls trip. It is a lot of money for a couple of photos, but people are coming from all over the world to see it, so why not. After that down south to prepare for my Brazil crossing and on to Guyana. My plans are becoming less important every day. I really am a lazy bastard, make that a lazy sick bastard.



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4 responses to “I am an IV drug abuser.”

  1. Judy says:

    I cannot believe I’m reading what I’m reading! Is this my conscientious tenant who seemed to go by the book? Working a lot, playing little and seeming to have his nose to the grindstone. Man! You go guy!!!!

    I sat down to write a little comment this morning when I hadn’t seen a post since day 37 I believe, because I was worried you were too sick or you had gotten fed up with keeping up with the blogging or something. Well, it’s taken me this long to get to all your writings (which are really entertaining). You are really adding much education to my travel experience. Is your mother (the nurse) reading about your needle stuff???? I’d be inclined to send out the militia for you after reading that!

    Still up to my elbows in mangoes. Making and freezing salsa, cutting and freezing slices and chunks, (had to buy a freezer for all this). A friend of mine brought back some really nice dried mango slices from Mexico last year. I can’t figure out how they did it. If you run into anyone with any hints on how to do it, would you let me know? I have some out in the sun today, but I don’t think that’s the trick. These had grate marks on them, so maybe an oven or grill?

    So happy to catch up with you. The best to you~~Judy

  2. Hank says:

    Whew, you are a bigger man than me. I could never inject a strange drug.

    It may be working more slowly because it is in muscle not the blood stream so it has to work its way into the blood.

    I wonder if you are allergic to one of the vaccinations you got. Sometimes they ask about food allergies before they vaccinate.

  3. Judy says:

    Forget the mango quest. Mango chips are turning out great in the oven. Tks just the same. Judy

  4. steve says:

    Hank, the drugs kicked in so I guess I got the dosage and such correct. You sound like you know a little bit about medicine. What would you suggest for a constant spikish fever and body aches that feel like little needles all over. Kind of get loopy after walking around for a while. While on the bed in airconditioning and not moving I am fine.

    Since I am basing my self medicating on tv shows, someone in real life giving suggestions wouldnīt hurt.

    Have needles, will inject!!!

    Steve