My daughter and Sarah’s little sister died April 7th, 2013 from an accidental overdose of prescription pain medication that she had only been on for a little over 2 months. Liz was a 28 year old young woman with her life ahead of her. She loved being a CNA for almost 10 years. She truly enjoyed caring for the elderly and was mentioned in many eulogies for the compassion she provided. She was a strong advocate for human and animals rights. I guess you could have called her an “animal lover”. For all the pain she suffered she always had a way to make those feel better around her. She left behind her cat “Kitten” whom she had since a kitten.
Liz was diagnosed and suffered from chronic pain for years. After being prescribed different types of medicine over the years she was very happy to have been prescribed medications that “worked”. I remember her saying to me, “Mom you can’t believe how great it feels waking up in the morning with no pain”. However that didn’t last, soon my daughter became addicted to Oxycodone the monster that it is. She even told me she couldn’t quit because it would “kill her”. The last month she was alive I could see a change in her. She lost the sparkle in her beautiful blue eyes and the zest for life. The medicine she was prescribed to make her feel better eventually would cause her more harm than she would ever know. I wasn’t in the physician’s room the first time she was prescribed Oxycodone so I can’t say what was said. Maybe what should be said is “You have a high percentage rate of becoming addicted and it may cause you to withdrawal and possibly to overdose”.
I was the last person to speak with Lizzie on April 6th. We had made plans for dinner and one hour later I was home with the groceries. Lizzie was fast to sleep which was not uncommon. I made dinner and she was still sleeping so I just let her sleep. My worst nightmare was the next day when I came home from work to find Lizzie had died. She was cold, and gray. I called 911 and immediately tried to revive her but she had been dead for some time. Lizzie had chosen to be a donor, 2 people have benefited from her corneas and 60 other people over time will be a recipient of her tissue, bone, arteries, etc. Her spirit lives on through many others.
I know Lizzie never wanted to die and that is very hard for me to accept. We miss her so much. She lived with me the last 3 years of her life and we would always have our coffee together. Lizzie always said, “Make mine ‘Like a Sandy beach’, Mom”.
A few months later I received a phone call from a stranger who has become a very important piece to this tragic ending. I will never forget the day I was just getting ready to go into the pet store to buy cat food and this nice woman introduced herself, “Hello my name is Janie Colford and I’m calling on behalf of the Steve Rummler Hope Foundation. Janie went on to explain about “Steve’s Law”, 911 Good Samaritan + Naloxone and what the Steve Rummler Hope Foundation is doing to help the public to be aware of this opioid epidemic. I had never heard of Naloxone before and didn’t even know what it was. When Janie told me it was an antidote for an overdose I was speechless and couldn’t even talk. I thought to myself there is an antidote for an overdose? I cried all the way home that day but I’m so grateful to the Steve Rummler Hope Foundation for opening my eyes.
I will never know if I could have saved my daughter but I would have stood a much better chance if I would have had Naloxone available. If you know of anyone who has displayed similar characteristics as my Lizzie did the last month of her life then get that person some help. Because the end results is the same story over and over with the same tragic ending. “They just fall asleep and never wake up”.