The next time I saw Hayley was almost a month later. With the help of an acquaintance, Erik, she had gotten herself out of the drug house and was now staying in a cottage behind Erik’s parents’ house. Erik was in his late 40’s, a longtime coke addict, and was temporarily living with his parents before entering yet another drug treatment program.
She had called me at 9:00 am on a Saturday morning to report that she was out of the drug house, safe, and would I try to get her in to a medical detox facility? I, of course, jumped.
I’ve become a super sleuth. I know that I could have had a successful career as an investigator of some sort. Through a series of phone calls and answering machine clues, I figured out where she was. To my shock, I knew these people! I had played tennis with Erik’s mother, Helen, years ago. I had had no idea that Helen and her family had been struggling through the hell of a child’s addiction as we batted the ball back and forth in the early 90’s.
When I eventually visited Hayley at Erik’s, she was covered in abscesses – her arms, hands, feet, and legs. She had difficulty walking, and could only wear rubber flip flops on her swollen feet. “It’s pretty normal for drug users to get abscesses”, she announced, once again. Why does she say this, I wonder? To shock me, or to somehow rationalize her current pathetic condition? Is it some kind of prize? I contemplate how many abscesses will add up to a potentially fatal systemic septicemia.