A lesson taught the hard way

Yesterday, while at the airport, I received a phone call that nobody should ever have to get. My brother-in-law, with whom we were very close,passed away at the young age of 52.

My brother in law was fighting many, many demons.  He was a recovering alcoholic with a substance abuse problem.  His doctors knew of his problems, but all they did was prescribe Adderall and Xanax.  He did go to group therapy, but obviously it was not enough to stay on the right path.  We suspect he passed from too much Adderall with a combination of other stimulants as he was trying to lose weight.

Since I received the news I have not eaten and have had crying spells which come out of nowhere.  We got to be very close as he would come to our home in Naples to watch out beloved pets while my wife and I were on the road.  He also was my cycling companion.

He was unemployed and had very limited health benefits while living with my in-laws who are in their 70’s.  Family members tried to reach out to his doctors many times, but it did little good.  My father in law, even tried visiting his doctor, but got little satisfaction.

What the doctors should have known and communicated is that substance abusers can be very manipulative and make people see what they want to believe. He should not have been given the Rx’s without insisting that they be filled by someone other than the patient.

This is what happens when a person falls through the cracks of our poor healthcare system and fails to treat the person rather than just write Rx’s.  The family did everything we could, but obviously it wasn’t enough.  We needed help from medical professionals and it wasn’t there.

As with any sudden loss there will be more questions than answers.  There will be “what if we….” but in this era of work to live, we were all busy while trying to help him as best we could.

Our healthcare system has to change.  We can’t continue down a path where the dollars are more important than people.  If I can reach just one person with my posts to want to be a change agent then it’s worth my time.

I hope nobody feels the emptiness that I feel in my heart today.  It’s not a good place to be…