“Angie came out to stay with me at the condo just about every weekend, and on one of these visits I had to take her to the emergency room. She had a bad case of cellulitis in her hand and needed a heavy dose of oral antibiotics to clear it up. As we were leaving the doctor said that if the oral meds didn’t work she would need to be hospitalized for IV treatments. I was a little puzzled by this; it looked like a simple infection to me. Why, possibly, would she need such extreme intervention? Angie explained it away as a symptom of her hepatitis.
I should have seen what was right in front of me; I should have questioned her bland explanation. A year later when I got more educated about drug addicts and what they do when they run out of veins would I realize what had really been going on. These last few years I’ve gotten more involved in support groups around addiction, and I’ve seen a few movies about what addicts do, where they inject. Strange places I hadn’t thought of: their ankles, their necks, and their hands. At the time, I didn’t realize what she had started doing—again. At the time, I was too focused on my daughter promising to rebuild her life—again. At the time, I didn’t dare face the fact that bringing her back to D.C. might have been a very bad idea… But I wasn’t responsible for what was happening. Yes, we brought her home, and the wheels of fate kept turning. Our daughter was an addict, and whether she was living in D.C. or Uganda, Angie had a disease that she alone must wrestle with. At this point we could only stand by and watch. Angie knew what she needed to do if she wanted to fight her illness and get well.”