“I was paralyzed from the waist down for a month and a half. I couldn’t even go to the washroom.”
Photo courtesy of Ken Davies
WARNING: The following story contains graphic descriptions of a medical situation.
I definitely don't want to do drugs anymore. I went home to my house in Sooke, BC after partying on New Year's. I was doing cocaine that night. Before I went home, I went to get some more off another person. When I got home, it was 8 AM, and I did two lines. I remember that I did the first line, and I didn't get that feeling that you get off cocaine. I thought I'd do another one since it didn't seem like it was that good. So I did another one.
Literally as soon as I did the second one, I blacked out. I don't remember even feeling anything hitting the floor. It was just black. Last thing I remember was looking at my kitchen counter, and then I woke up 30 hours later. It was dark in my house. I was on the floor. I was like What the fuck am I doing on the floor?
I tried to move and couldn't move. It hurt so bad if I tried to move. I was laying on my side for so long that poison was leaking out of my muscles and going through my kidneys. In my mouth were [what felt like] rubber balls of blood, and I was spitting them on the floor. I was like OK, something is really wrong here.
I went to get my cell phone to call 911, and my cell phone was dead. I couldn't do anything. It took me five hours to shuffle using my arms to drag my body to go to my fridge and grab liquid. The only thing I could reach on the bottom door of my fridge was beer, so I ended up drinking beer. It hurt so bad to swallow the beer at first, it was burning my throat and insides. I guess that's because my kidneys shut down. I was going in and out of consciousness. I was on the floor for 40 hours total. My cat was jumping on my back purring. It just loves me. It was purring, waking me up, and then my ex-wife pulls in the driveway, I see the lights, and start screaming.
She's like, "Ken, are you OK?" My front door was locked, I couldn't get to it to unlock it. She pried open the window on my balcony and climbed through there. She immediately called 911. She was like, "You're blue! You're purple!" Everything from my waist down was like blue and purple, and my face was blue and purple, my lips. I was dying.
The paramedics came. I told her to get me a glass of water while they were putting me on the stretcher. After drinking the water, I just projectile puked everywhere. That was my body shutting down.
They said I was the talk of the hospital because I should not have made it and they were surprised. I was paralyzed from the waist down for a month and a half. I couldn't even go to the washroom. I had to grab ahold of a device that would lift you up and drop you on the toilet. Constipation was so bad because of all the medication I was on that they had to use their hands to pull the shit out of me. It was that bad.
After a month in the hospital, I started getting pains in my chest. I was just starting to get up and go to the bathroom on my own. I was in the bathroom trying to take a piss, standing up. All of a sudden, I lost oxygen, fainted, smacked my head on the cement floor, knocked myself out, and woke up, pressed the emergency button. They lifted me back in bed. The fluid was so bad in my lungs that I couldn't get oxygen, so they stuck a tube in me and drained all the liquid, four liters. There were these pockets of dried blood and mucus left, and they had to cut four holes in my back and into my lungs to cut out all the stuff that was dried up. Then, after that, I was on the mend.
I worked so hard for that last month because I didn't want to be in the hospital anymore. At the two-month point, I still couldn't walk, but I could use a walker to get to the bathroom or the shower. I just couldn't handle it anymore, so I said, "I'm leaving, that's it." They said since I was in my mom's care that they would discharge me, and I could go on living my daily life.
I gained all the feeling back in my left leg and in my right leg down to my knee. Then from my knee down on my right leg, it's completely toast. I crushed the nerve, severed it, and my leg's dead. I use the walker to get around today, six months later.
I'm still on 60 pills a day of nerve-ending pills and all this crap. I can't do anything. I can barely get around. I can get to my vehicle using my walker. I do have a vehicle and can drive, and I drive left-footed. I go to the pool every night for two hours, take my brace off, use a wheelchair to get me into the pool, and I can walk on my leg when I get into the pool because of buoyancy. I do that for two hours a night. Even if I miss one night, I can totally feel the difference the next day: I'm so sore, and it takes so long to warm up.
I was working in drywall for 20 years. I can't do that anymore. I'm 34. I was making $6,000-$8,000 per month, to now, on disability, making $1,000 per month. I was running crews, managing it all. I lost all that.
People have been supportive. I have a huge family, which helps out. With friendships, I can't really see anybody because I can't do anything. I lost all of that connectivity with friends. The only thing I really do is talk to them on Facebook. It really sucks because I can't see everybody anymore.
I've been going through a brutal depression and am on pills for it. I have been feeling worthless and like I have no purpose. Before, I was running a crew, and people looked up to me. I lost everything.
I was scared at first that people were going to judge me for talking about this. But my whole family knows, and they are supporting me. So why not? If people are going to judge me who don't know me, then fuck them. If I can help save one person's life, it would be worth it. So that's why I'm sharing this.
I've had neurologist appointments, one in March and one in June. The neurologist is thinking full ability in my right leg is not going to come back. There's no reaction; there's no progress in it. One other option they're talking about is cutting the bottom portion of my leg off. I don't feel too good about that [laughs]. But if I'm going to live like this, dragging around this dead leg that is causing problems and it has no feeling, there's a better opportunity for me to learn how to walk with a prosthetic leg.
I heard a little tiny bit about fentanyl in cocaine, but this year has been when everyone has been finding out about fentanyl. I didn't really know about fentanyl in cocaine. It was a long shot for anybody in the town to have gotten any. The dealer was saying he didn't know [fentanyl was in his cocaine].
There's two other people I know who got it off of him, and they both died while I was in the hospital.
For information on how to access drug addiction treatment programs in Canada, contact the provincial hotline numbers listed here .
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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- British Columbia
- Opioid Crisis
- Canadian Opioid Crisis