Ian lounging in a hammock in 2013.
On June 26, 2009, the old Ian died from an overdose of Xanax.
Yes, an overdose will kill you one way or another. On June 26, 2009, the old Ian died from an overdose of Xanax. My life changed forever. The night before, I swallowed close to an entire bottle of Xanax, which I had been taking for anxiety. I’m not sure why I did it. By that time I had been abusing my prescription pretty regularly, and I guess I miscalculated how much my body could handle.
My Mother (who I had to move back in with for financial reasons) tried to wake me in the morning, and when she couldn’t, she called 911. I was rushed to the emergency room at St. Petersburg General Hospital. I don’t remember having breathing tubes stuck down my throat. I don’t remember having a catheter in my penis. I barely remember anything from my time in the hospital. Maybe that’s for the best. My Mother wouldn’t take any photos of me in there, because she knew, or rather she hoped that I would get out someday, and she didn’t want me to be reminded of that time. For the first couple of days I couldn’t track light and wasn’t responding to pain.
After five weeks in the intensive care unit, I was transferred to Health South, which is a physical therapy hospital. I was only there for about ten days before I got tachycardia while on a standing machine and fainted. That means my heart was beating far too fast. This time I was rushed via ambulance to Largo Medical Center. They determined that I had a serious infection, and I was administered strong antibiotics. After some fighting with my insurance company (isn’t that always the case?), I was re-admitted to HealthSouth.
While at HealthSouth, I underwent speech therapy (I couldn’t talk louder than a whisper, and I hadn’t spoken for roughly 6 weeks), occupational therapy, and physical therapy. I had to learn how to feed myself again, without choking or putting the food in my lungs.
There are very few places, where I live, that my health insurance will pay for a young person like myself to go for rehabilitation, to prepare me for going home. Since it still took 2 people to move me from my wheelchair to my bed, and because I still had the feeding tube in, I was then transferred to the Rehab Center of St. Pete for a month of additional therapy.
On October 20, 2009 I finally came home.
The thing about Xanax, and many other drugs in that class, is they make you feel invincible. And even after everything I went through, after all the pain I put my Mother through, I can’t say that if it were offered to me, I wouldn’t jump at the chance to take it again. That’s how addictive it is.