I had to put Jason’s dog Dieter to sleep on Wednesday morning. It was clearly time and I had been postponing for purely selfish reasons. He went very peacefully and I stayed with him throughout the process. I cried all over his face and his ears were completely soaked but I don’t think he minded. I had the past several months to make peace with the decision and slowly and gradually accept the outcome which was very different than suddenly losing a husband. I found an urn that looks very much like Jason’s and I am going to put Dieter next to him on my dresser. I keep thinking how eventually my entire family will just be wooden boxes full of ashes. My oldest cat Riley is probably next and I can already see the 14 years showing in his gray hairs and cloudy eyes.
I finally heard back from the medical examiner late last night. She said that Jason had Adderall, which was prescribed by his doctor, in his system as well as caffeine. Both are stimulants and could have contributed to the fatal arrhythmia. I cried until I couldn’t breath last night because I’m the one who introduced Jason to Adderall which I have been taking for years. I purchased the Starbucks Refresher he downed on the way to the race. So naturally I feel like his death is my fault. What if I had never told him how Adderall had saved me from spinning my wheels on a daily basis, and what if I hadn’t picked up Starbucks beverages at the gas station the night before the race? Would he still be here or would something else have eventually triggered a malfunction in his heart?
I think it is natural to want all of the answers and to want to take responsibility for a situation that is so uncontrollable and awful. I couldn’t sleep last night because my self-hatred was so loud, so I took 25 mg of Ambien and then failed to wake up until 9am, which made me two hours late for work. There was certainly a part of me that didn’t want to wake up at all but I knew two Ambien wouldn’t lead to an eternal sleep, and I don’t want to die because I still have too many things to take care of and do. But the feeling that you could have prevented your husband’s death is the most toxic and nauseating sensation I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve been thinking about it all day and I am sure I’ll be thinking about it all night.
I have friends who take Adderall and the first thing I did this morning was start making phone calls, telling them what all I had learned last night and asking them to PLEASE be careful. I put my own prescription down the garbage disposal this morning. Consequently my mind has been like a ping-pong ball all day and I’ve completed absolutely nothing. I can’t even read an email without losing interest three sentences in. It has taken me over an hour just to write this blog because I keep finding distractions, like loading my stapler or getting more water from the kitchen…or cleaning out my desk drawers and checking which highlighters still have ink left in them.
Hearing back from the medical examiner was very bittersweet because it helped to solve some of the mysteries but it has given me an entirely new layer of guilt to hide under.