One nurse's journey through addiction
“Did you hear?” “Can you believe it?” The busy ER was abuzz with the gossip. Nothing this juicy had happened since that other nurse had killed that patient by accidentally giving her a drug overdose. “I can’t believe it was her, she’s always so together!” “She trained me when I first started here 5 years ago; I can always count on her when I need help.” They were talking about Nora Harris; she had been a nurse in the ER at Memorial Hospital for over 8 years. She was also one of the most respected and dedicated nurses that had ever worked in that ER. She was never overwhelmed, always able to act and think very quickly in the most horrific traumas or with the sickest of patients. Everyone who worked with her loved her and knew how much she loved nursing. It was more than a job to her; it was a part of her.
I should back up though, for this is hardly where the story starts, or ends. Nora Harris’s story starts many years ago, when she was growing up in Milwaukee. Nobody could have predicted the turn her life would take. If someone had told her, her family, or friends what would happen, they would all have laughed, called it absurd. Nora Harris, they would have said, is a very unlikely addict…
There is a huge and growing problem of alcohol and drug addiction among healthcare professionals. It’s time we started talking about it. We put our patients and coworkers at risk. We put ourselves at risk. The problem is taboo and nobody wants to talk about it. I want to talk about it. I want to help stop this insidious disease from continuing to infect our entire healthcare system.
This book is a summary of my life. Sounds simple enough, but it was not simple to write. I am an alcoholic and a drug addict, I am also a nurse. I lost everything to my drug addiction. I stole my drugs from the hospital where I worked. But that is only the beginning. My recovery is the real story.