Somedays I think I have made it so far, that I have maybe found a path in the darkness. Most days, I crawl from the swamp and claw my way up out of the mud to the light. I dream every night about him. I have never had the types of dreams I have now. So bizarre, and yet so real. And when I wake, the residue of the dream flavors my day. And the first thought is, “he is not here. He is really gone. The worst possible outcome has come to pass”. And I think, “how could this be? how could my beautiful son be gone? how did this happen?”
And I roll over clutching for my husband in pure panic. And he is sobbing in the dark, thinking the same things, feeling the same way, overcome by his own dreams and reality. His best friend, his business partner, the extension of his right arm – is gone. He dreads going to work because it means he will have to come full on with the reality that his partner is gone. GONE.
And our beautiful daughter is so overcome with grief that she can’t make it through the day. She curls up in a ball and cries and blames herself… for what? For loving him. For not being there in his hour of need. For not loving him enough. For not caring enough. And her life has come to a stand still. Her sanity is at stake.
I am normally a very optimistic person, the cup is not only full, it is overflowing. Still the same, only the blood of his life and mine flows over the edge of the glass and pours on the floor. My days used to have vibrant color, a swirl of life, love, happiness, challenge, satisfaction and vibrant vibrant 3 dimensional color.
Now it is a dull shade of grey that weighs on me like a heavy wet cloak. Is this what life will be like from now on?
And still I come out kicking and fighting, saying NO darkness and despair, you can not win. I will not let you take us. I will find a way to fix this, to set it right. I will find a way to save Chuck and Katie. FIGHT, FIGHT. FIGHT. Don’t give up. You can not have us. You can not take us too.
And it is night time. It is time to go to sleep. My eyes hurt, my heart hurts. It is really time to rest. But, I know that if I close my eyes, the dreams will begin. And I will be caught up in a story I can not control or narrate or stop. And when I awaken, the first words I will think are, “it is real. It wasn’t a dream. He is really gone. He is never going to come back. Nothing you say or do can change that. You will never hug him again, or hear his laugh.”
So, fight this for me, because I can’t today. Fight this for Katie, because she can’t pick her head off the pillow. Fight this for Chuck because he sleeps all day in a deep depression and can’t fight his way out of a paper bag.
So, I was dreading this day for a few weeks. I alternated between wanting to bury my head in a pillow all day, or go hiking to stand on a mountain top and scream in protest all day. I settled for a compromise.
I posted pictures of Robin on facebook, from her family albums. Jac had given them to me for safekeeping on the day of her memorial in April of 2016.
I wanted to post them so that Chris, BJ and Jac could see them when they woke up. I wanted them to remember her as the wonderful person that she really was, not as the sick person that theycame to know as their mother.
Then I posted pictures of Charlie and a post about the day he was born:
28 years ago, this hour, I was getting ready to go into Littleton Hospital to give birth to my new child. So excited we all were. Lisa Stavig was in charge of making sure Katie Hughes had a great experience. My mom and dad came down to be with us. At 5:39 pm, our son was born, with the chord wrapped around his neck 3 times. It was a few scary moments and then the doctor lifted him up for us to see… a little blue smurf. They whisked him away to get him oxygen and then gave him to me. As I held him close, Charles Hughesbeaming by my side, little Katie leaned over and gave him a kiss on his brand new cheek. Remember the great times, remember the great times, remember the great times. #ForCharCharles Everette Hughes III
I had originally planned on going for a hike by myself to the Enchanted Forest Trail, one of his favorites. I was going to scatter some of his ashes at the top of the trail, in the cool shadows of the pine trees. Then I wanted to sit down and meditate and try to talk with him. It didn’t happen. I just didn’t want to be alone after all.
So, Chuck and I decided to go to Brainard Lake instead. That way he could fish and I could hike. Why this lake? Well, when the kids were little, we camped here in the RV. That was in the middle of summer, and we were rained into the RV for the first day. The day before that trip, Blackie, our dog, got sprayed by a skunk. After bathing him, we sprayed him with this crap that Petsmart had recommended. It just made him smell like a floral version of skunk. So you can imagine what rainy dog fur that smelled like floral skunk was like in an enclosed RV with antsy pre-teens. We listened to audiotapes of the Hobbit, played Trivial Pursuit and checkers and listened to the lightning crash and the thunder roll at timberline. The next day, the sun burned off the moisture, they went fishing and I went hiking. Great times, great memories. I guess I just wanted to remember –them in place.
As we started up the Indian Peaks Wilderness Highway the wind came whistling down off the mountain and I realized that we were not prepared for this trip today. As we drove further in, the wind got worse and it started to rain. We decided to do it anyway, even if we just sat in the truck and looked at the skyline. When we got to the lake, we parked and stepped out of the truck. The sun came out of the rapidly swirling clouds, the wind died down a bit and I decided to go for a short hike close in, because of weather worries.
I put on my sweater, followed by a rain coat, slipped a red Tshirt on over my rain coat, pulled up the hood and slipped my pink tartan cap on over that. Chuck loaned me his neon yellow work gloves. There is no way that a hunter could possibly mistake me for a moose, which is the game currently being hunted up there this time of year. We fiddled with the bear mace, I put it in my pocket and away I go.
The sign at the trailhead says Beware of mountain lions, really. Like, as in, we aren’t kidding. As I stood there, I was overwhelmed with the most urgent need to stop and go no further. The sign goes on to say, do not hike alone, bring a dog, carry a walking stick, look big, act big, talk big, and if I have to fight, don’t give up, fight like hell. Really, it said all that, minus “hell”. But, if you were fighting, wouldn’t that be what you’d fight like?
I went back to get Chuck’s cane. Go back to the trail. And once again, it was like the wind was talking to me, no, yelling at me NONONONONO. So, I said, what the hell and went back to the truck. I walked a few feet away to the edge of the lake, easily in sight of the truck, sat on a wet rock and said screw it, I will meditate here.
And so I did. I talked to Charlie about everything I could think of. Basically, I talked to him about how much I love him, I apologized for fighting with him that day, I apologized for all the things that I had done wrong as a parent. I explained that I didn’t mean to do wrong things, that they happened accidentally. Or that I had made a wrong decision or that I had over or under reacted to situations. I reviewed the top 10 things with him. Then, I apologized for the worst one, which was when I left him that day to go with Chuck instead. I should have stayed and taken him to the ER. The whole time crying. The whole time barely able to catch my breath, my grief is so profound and that hurts so much.
And the whole time I am thinking that a mountain lion might be watching me. One time I felt like someone was standing right behind me, touching me on the shoulder. I jumped up, turned around with my bear mace ready. Nothing. So I sat back down, caught my breath, calmed down and continued. As I talked, I watched the wind on the lake water, pushing it in, then whipping it back – like when you vacuum carpet 2 different directions. When the wind whipped it towards the shore, the sun glistened on it and it felt like a sheet of glass was zooming right up next to my feet, whipping back just before it impaled my ankles.
I had a dream a few months ago about how God came to talk to me. He was very exasperated and pleaded with me to talk to Charlie. I said, really, what about? You are God, can’t you do it? He said that Charlie refused to leave hell, even though God had invited him in. I said why? He said that Charlie was ashamed, grossed out and upset with the way he had handled things, with the way he had treated us, with the way he had left things. I said, OMG, that is so Charlie. It is so Charlie to argue with God of all people. God chuckled and said, I agree, but, could you talk to him and tell him you forgive him so he can come to Heaven? In my dream I said yes, but, then I woke up. I have said these things to Charlie many times since then, but, I thought I would sit at the lake and say them again.
So I did. I told him that there was never anything to forgive, ever. That I knew his heart, had always known his heart and that his heart was pure, full of love, full of goodness, full of compassion. I told him that the “bad” things he had done were a result of the drugs and alcohol. That his addiction had warped his heart, had cut his heart and had evenutally killed his physical heart. But, that it was always his heart – pure and full of love.
And I said, “forgive yourself Charlie, let my love for you unlock the doors of your self imposed prison, so you can go safely, peacefully into your next journey”. And I jumped a mile high off that rock, because I swear someone touched me. I wheeled around ready to fight that lion like hell! And there was nothing. Just darkening forest, the truck gleaming in the distance. And the storm clouds were rolling in, little beads of snow ice starting to fall gently.
I sat back down and the sheets of water whipped towards me and I wished that the hawks would come circling in to show me that Charlie, Daddy and Robin were in attendance. I even heard them in the distance, but, no birds showed themselves.
So, I asked Charlie if my grief was holding him back. Were my tears and depression actually causing him to stay behind? Was I being cruel and should I let him go? So, even though I released him in the chapel the night before he died, I released him again. I was hysterically crying now, tears freezing on my cheeks. I said, I release you, please go to that great new adventure. But, if you could, or would, please come back once in awhile, or give me a sign that you are ok, that you are safe, that you are loved, that you are still in existence. And don’t go too far away, so that when I die I can still find you. And don’t change so much that I don’t recognize you when I do find you.
And I thought Chuck must have come down from the truck to get me, because I felt total love, warmth and comfort around me, even in the midst of that freezing snow and ferocious lake breeze. I turned to tell him about my talk with Charlie, and no one was there.
Then, I turned back to the lake one more time, to finish some other unfinished business. I have a friend who told me to go on a hike on Charlie’s birthday and talk to God. I just wanted to try, just because I said I would. So, I sat back down and said hi and kind of explained what I wanted to do. Nothing. My connection speed to God must be broken, or maybe I need a new carrier. Anyway, by now I am freezing through and through.
I said goodbye to Charlie for now, walked back to the truck, got in and we drove home. The first snowstorm of the season on Charlie and Robin’s birthday.
As we were driving away, I was thinking about how jumpy I had been all day, how antsy, anxious and just plain crazy jumpy I was. And then I remember another day that I was just as jumpy and anxious. As I thought it through, I realized something. Those feelings were not from being stalked by a mountain lion, or just random jumpiness. They were from Charlie trying to reach out to me. I had totally, completely missed it. And the hawks didn’t come down today, because at least one of them was already there with me.
My brother was a wonderful man, helpful, generous, loving, full of life and adventure, always wanting to try new things. His will to adventure and try things eventually lead to a downward spiral with his addiction.
Heroin, Charlie struggled with this addiction for a good 2 years. After losing his best friend to something similar, Charlie pulled himself off of heroin cold turkey.
During the detox phase of this he turned to alcohol to curb the cravings. Once he began to drink, he could not find a healthy way to stop on his own. For 2 years I watched my brother struggle to get help to kick his addiction of drugs and alcohol. I watched as he entered hospital after hospital to be pumped full of fluids to become hydrated again, I watched as he became sober after being in those hospitals for up to a week at a time, then being released because there was nothing else they could do for him, not knowing where to go next because the treatment facilities were either full or rejected him because he was no longer drunk, you read that right, he was turned away from facilities because he was no longer drunk. He didn’t have problems detoxing, he had problems staying clean and sober.
I researched in home care, external care facilities, as well as safe places for him to continue his recovery, but none of them would take him because the insurance he had would not cover the costs. He was a self-employed man and worked with my father and could not come up with the money to cover these costs. As the months went on the cycle continued, he would relapse after 3 weeks and drink to almost the point of no return, get clean at the hospital, and then be booted out with no comfort or help on the outside.
Every day he begged for someone to help him get rid of this addiction, every time he voluntarily wanted to be clean and sober and no one had an answer for him because he didn’t have the money to pay for the resources. The addiction took over his mind and body, in order to stay “level” he had to keep a steady flow of alcohol and drugs so he did not go into withdrawal, for fear of having a seizure and fear of having to go back to the hospital to pay money he did not have.
As a sister, as the big sister and the only one he had, I did everything I could to help him get through this. I called every care facility I could to try and work out payment plans, to try and do what I could to get him the help he needed, and every time, I was turned away because I did not have the sufficient funds they needed. I had different insurance than he did, but they refused to take mine as well because he was a legal adult and had to do it on his own.
Money… time… care… and the ability to still go to your job every day to make the money, take the time so you can care for yourself, THIS was all I could to do to help him, and it still was never enough.
On February 12, 2018 my 27 year old brother overdosed on alcohol and Heroin. Every day that passes without him is a constant reminder to me that because of lack of funding, because him, I and my parents combined did not make half as much money as a facility cost to help him be sober, he is no longer with us. We are hardworking, tax paying, law abiding citizens damn it, and still, because of lack of money, my brother was not able to get the treatment that he deserved, wanted, and needed, and will now no longer be able to fight for the help he deserves.
This bill will be able to help people in need like my brother, good people that are reaching out for help, but cannot do it alone. People that deserve to live without the power of addiction, the fear of cost and aggravation, people that want to become sober and healthy but do not have the means to do it on their own. Please, if you take anything from my story, walk away with this in your mind: It is too late for my brother Charlie, but it is not too late to make a difference for the 1,000s of other struggling addicts out there that want to be where he did, sober, happy, alive!!
Anything we can do as a community can help someone, one person cannot change the world alone, but the world can help this one person, and if we go one person at a time, in time we will make waves, we will make a difference, and we will help the people that are really in need, the people that want to be contributing members of our so called society, wouldn’t that be nice? Isn’t that in the end what you want anyway??
So as a woman, a daughter, a friend to many who are struggling with this same issue, and a heart broken sister who wants nothing more than to change these circumstances, I ask you to consider and pass this bill, so we as a community and as a whole unit can help the ones who need it the most.
Thank you for your time in reading this, I appreciate your consideration.
You are all aware of my son Charlie Hughes’ story, because I submitted letters to each of you last week concerning HB 18-1136 and HB 18-1003.
I am in complete support of SB 18-270. I will give you 1 example of how this kind of transition team would have solved future problems immediately and how this might have saved my son’s life.
In 2017, while I was at a work related meeting and my husband was on a sales call, our son Charlie was at home starting to detox from drugs and alcohol combined. He called 911 threatening to commit suicide. He was so frustrated and upset about his addiction problem that he felt that this was his only option. The sheriffs department and I arrived at the same time. They took him in to the nearest ER to us and admitted him under a 72 hr involuntary hold. They also told me to stay away for the day.
Later in early evening, I called the nurse’s desk to see how he was doing. She checked with him, got his approval and then suggested I come in to visit him. I did. He was miserable. He had been secluded from the main hospital and was under surveillance by the guards, but, other than that had had no contact with any humans since they had admitted him. I was concerned, because there had been enough time gone by that he was probably getting ready to go into full on detox and would need IV fluids. I asked a nurse if they had given him IV’s and she snapped at me that he was in suicide watch and didn’t need an IV. I explained to her what my concern was, and she told me it was not my concern and huffed off. Then, I was really concerned because he had seizures when he withdrew, and if he was going to be in there for 72 hrs, he was going to have seizures and would they even take the time to deal with that properly? I asked her about that too. Instead of answering me, she had me escorted from the ER by an armed guard and did not answer my question.
I was very upset, but, decided I would just keep calling Charlie to check in with him and if he started having those symptoms I would go down and raise hell until they treated him, or I would take him out myself.
At 2:30 in the morning, the ER social worker called and said he was ready to be released. He was no longer drunk or high and they needed me to come and get him. I was really confused, because he was admitted by the sheriffs department on a 72 hr hold for suicide. She insisted that she was operating under the right assumptions and that he had passed all of her criteria for release. I asked if she could just wait until morning, or a decent time for me to come and pick him up. She said, well, I was listed as the person to call, and he had said I would be able to pick him up. I said, wait a minute, has this release been instigated by Charlie? Has he demanded to be released? She said, no, he couldn’t make that demand, only her recommendation could do that.
I said, ok, what if I say I can’t, what would you do? She said that she would ask him to leave on his own free will. In other words, she was kicking him to the curb as soon as I hung up, if I wasn’t willing to come and pick him up. A person admitted to her care on suicide watch who was now in full on detox mode.
So, I did, of course. Furious, crying, pissed off at this system that just kept ignoring our cries for help.
I picked him up and took him to another ER where they started him on IV’s and anti-seizure medication and he was there for the full next day. When stabilized they gave me the 6 days of anti-seizure medication and sent us home, where he normally did his detox.
During that detox time, I reported the first ER to the state commission.
From a cost effective point of view, that was 2 ER visits at 2 different hospitals. CHA says that these cost $15,000/day/each.
From a human and health care point of view, I know that a transition team would have been much more effective and would have put his feet on solid ground with professionals that could help him. And today, I would be texting with him about his latest job details, knowing when he got off work he would be practicing a new song on his guitar, and he would be planning his exciting future.
Instead, I am here talking to you, with his ashes sitting on my dresser.
Vote yes, don’t let this keep happening to any more families. Thank you for your time.
I am writing you to express my support of HB18-1136. Charles Everette Hughes III was my nephew and here is the impact his life and death have had on my life and family.
I was there the day Charlie was born and I watched him become a sweet, happy young boy who was eager to learn all that life had to offer. He learned to play guitar, sing and was an amazing self-taught musician. He babysat my son as an infant and was a strong role model in both my son and daughter’s lives. My son, who is now 13, worshipped Charlie. He would work side by side with Charlie when he would do work on our house. He would hang out with him just to get Charlie’s views on life and see what he was doing. My daughter has never known a world with out Charlie until February 12, 2018.
As you have probably heard Charlie overdosed on both alcohol and heroine on February 9th. He was brought to St Anthony’s where the compassionate care he received was truly a gift that allowed my sister, brother in law and other family to say goodbye. I was there the day he died.
I don’t want to see any other families go through what ours has had to endure. With proper medical and rehabilitative care, Charlie would still be here today. He used alcohol to detox from heroine. Then the alcohol would take over and he would have to detox from that. It was a very deadly combination of ways to kick a habit and one that proved fatal to Charlie. His family and friends loved him tremendously and tried in every way to help in any way they could. But the astronomical costs of proper drug and alcohol treatment were prohibitive to his success and closed door after door to him.
I watch my sister go through days when making it through hour by hour is all she can hang on to. I watched her struggle to get through the moments we sat by his side in the hospital just to see him breath. I watched as her world imploded when a doctor told us he was brain dead and never coming back to us. I never want another family to suffer this kind of a loss that could possibly have been prevented.
You have the opportunity today to make a difference with HB18-1136. People deserve to live a life with dignity and respect. Yes, even people who are addicted to heroine and alcohol. When you see a drug addict, I see a person who needs help. When you see a drunk, I see a person giving up on themselves. Don’t be one of the people who gives up on someone in need of help. When you see a grieving family in pain, say to yourself “What can I do to change things and make a better world for everyone, not just those with great insurance.” This bill is the first step in stopping this insane cycle.
“Goodbyes are not forever, are not the end; it simply means I’ll miss you, until we meet again.” . . People keep telling me to share how I’m feeling, that in time it will help me on my journey without you. Tho the pain is ultra real right now, I’m taking the advice to share your story one moment and one day at a time. . . The last time we were at this border was to drop you off 6 years ago so you could go on an epic journey thru the desert. You had a huge backpack with all of your stuff and told me you would be alright, and it was something you had to do. 2 weeks ago, I struck out on my own adventure thru the desert.
Timing is so strange, but you called to me to still go, I guess it is in our adventure bones that we share, so I took you with me on mine. As I spread your ashes along the epic paths I took, I felt you with me more than I ever have. You were proud of me, and told me to keep on.
1st photo – Colorado side for home, Utah side for adventure. 2nd photo- on top of a beautiful mountain top in the middle of the desert around a cluster of trees, 3rd photo – a sunset that called out to me to come closer, to breathe easy, and to remember that even in sorrow, there is always something beautiful to hold onto. You are my inspiration for greatness as you always have been. I love you brother, like I loved you then, and like I love you now. Rest easy.
“The worlds a roller coaster And I am not strapped in Maybe I should hold with care But my hands are busy in the air saying
I wish you were here I wish you were.”
Linda’s notes: Katie asked them for Charlie’s last EKG printout, which I now have in safekeeping. She wanted it so that she could get it tatooed on her wrists. The artist that did it suggested that she overlay it onto a music staff, brilliant. The picture is of his EKG, his love of music on her wrists, the most beaufiful, precious wrists on this planet.
i drink to quench my thirst for meth. i love to shoot up speed. i havent done it since i left rehab. which has been over a year now. but in exchange i have been struggling with drinking for 6 months now.
my wife left me because of my inability to stop drinking. i stopped using just to be with her; this was her ultimatum when we got together about 8 years ago. we have a daughter together. we thought our love should be shared with a child of our own and that responsibility would get us to quit drinking.
towards the end of our relationship she became quite violent. ultimately putting me in the back of an ambulance unconcsious and bleeding from the head. how i miss her now. i miss the fact that even a black eye from her drunkeness represents physical contact and love for me. i know thats messed up but im a messed up person and we had a messed up relationship.
after the seperation i went back to shooting dope. i didnt like to mix dope and liquor. which i thought was a good thing; i was getting off the sauce finally. maybe shed have me back. delusion.
i got way too high way too quick. went to the ER to sleep it off. i woke up and went to harmony rehab in estes park. after that i came home. i went to meetings, and still do, every night. however i didnt work the program and after 7 months went back out. i still went to meetings. sometimes drunk. im only drinking now and would love to be part of the ‘we’ program. i dont know how to be social or how to make friends or how to even start a conversation. but all of that is my problem and i see multiple medical professionals for that.
i met charles hughes at vietality. young looking guy i could tell right off he had something about him. i remember seeing him get 30 days and how different he looked. i saw him the night he showed up at vietality completely drunk and gone. he was rambling about his friend that he had lost some time ago. he must have been in a place that nobody could help him get out of. i miss seeing him there. i feel like i knew him for longer that i did.
id really like to not see other people go down the same road and never travel back. but im only 13months into this program and im sure if i stick around long enough ill see some more….unfortunately. all you can do then is remember and pray.
I had this dream that God wanted to talk to me. His voice just filled my head and I had to listen.
I need you to forgive Charlie so he can move on.
I have forgiven him, really, there was nothing to forgive. I always knew his heart, I could always see beneath the drugs, to see his true heart. I knew he was still in there.
I want you to pray and tell him again.
Why can’t you just tell him for me, afterall you are God, and you can reach him now, whereas I can’t.
He has locked himself into Hell, he is upset about how he left things, he is miserable. I need you to forgive him so he will come home.
I laughed and said, wow, now that sounds like Charlie, arguing even with God!
God chuckled too and say, Yes, it is just like Charlie. But, would you talk to him?
Yes, God, I will. Thanks for letting me know.
So to make it official, and just for the record – I forgive you Charlie. I never had anything to forgive really. You were you, just being you. I was me just being me. Then lots of crazy things happened and you met the one thing that you could not conquer. I saw how heroin and alcohol changed your brain. When we would talk, I could see you and your addiction talking back to me. The addiction was always trying to figure out what I wanted to hear so that it could get the money to keep it alive. It was always trying to manipulate me into doing its bidding. And behind that I could still see you, begging to return to full strength. I could still see the real you, your real true heart. That loving, beautiful person was still there. So, rest easy son, I, your dad, your sister, we never lost you. And if you need to hear it, I will say it. I forgive you. Now, as God has said, please go home. Move on to your next adventure. Remember us, so we will get to see you again, when it is our turn. We love you. I love you.
I am writing to you today regarding HB 18-1136, the Substance Use Disorder Treatment. I urge you to approve this bill and send it to the full house. I believe that my story will explain to you why this bill, if law, would have helped my family.
In October, 2014 my 25 yr old son Charlie Hughes had a hernia operation, paid for by Medicaid. I was not aware of this at the time, but, at release, his doctor gave him a 90 day supply of oxycodone for pain. In January, 2015, he ran out and switched to heroin. This coincided with the death of his best friend and was the worst time he had ever lived through. In February he asked for my help to quit the heroin addiction. Turning to the internet, we realized that we would have to try to tackle this subject on our own, as he only had Medicaid and his father and I could not afford to help him financially.
Because my son, his father and I are self employed, we were able to rearrange work schedules so that either his father or I could be with our son while he went through withdrawal. It was a very hard 1st month, especially when I found out that his dealer was the next door neighbor. But, he made it through to the other side successfully. He was clean for a year. I know this because I randomly drug tested him with kits that I bought online.
During his withdrawal, we noticed that alcohol helped dull the withdrawal pain. So I would give him shots of vodka like a doctor would give out medicine. We weaned him off the alcohol and on the last day of that, he ended up needing a trip to the ER. That is when we learned that there was medication that would have helped him with the withdrawal symptoms of both heroin and alcohol.
At any rate, the rest of 2015 was fairly successful He began to drink more than i thought he should, but, he seemed to be handling it. He went to work, life was good, we thought we had escaped this monster.
On the 1st year anniversary of his friends death, he visited with his friends mom. He came home, went next door and bought heroin and began using again. This time, I took him to the ER for help. They gave him IV fluids, and gave me the medication that would help with withdrawal symptoms. I rearranged my schedule, and if neither my husband or myself could be with him, his sister could . He got clean again, but, his drinking escalated.
He was desparate to quit both and did a lot of research on his own.about this. For the next 2 yrs, we would go through the cycle. He would get clean, stay clean, start drinking, start drugging. He would beg for help, we would go to the ER for help, they would give me the medication, we would go through the withdrawal and life would begin again. Only early on, he started to have seizures whenever he withdrew, which meant more time in the ER. And each time, the withdrawals were harder, lasted longer. He then started to develop other complications, like pancreatitis, gastritis and depression and was actually admitted for up to 5 days. One time, he called the police threatening suicide. They took him in for a 72 hr hold and the hospital released him at 5 am the next morning, less than 24 hrs later.
In December-January, he was clean for 32 days – the longest time for quite some time. His skin color was normal, his eyes were bright. He was happy, he was healthy, he laughed. He felt like he was conquering this evil. And then January 28 came around, the anniversary of his friends death. He was never able to get through this time of year before and didn’t this time either. He started drinking heavily and that led to using heroin again. On Feb. 9. 2018, he overdosed on fentanyl heroin with a 4.5 BAC as well. On Feb. 12, after 3 days of no brain activity, we agreed to have life support disconnected and he died 8 minutes later.
Your job is not to feel my pain. Your job today is to weigh the costs of this bill and determine if there is justiification in passing it through. So, it is my job to tell you that during the last 3 years, I had 10 times to curse the fact that my son could not get treatment because medicaid didn’t cover it. It made no sense to me that although medicaid would cover state of the art ER, they had to kick him to the curb with no treatment afterwards. Although I thank God the ER;s were there, I know we, as a state have been spending money in the WRONG place.
Here is proof. I pulled numbers off the https://cha.com/colorado-hospitals/price-report/
4 trips to St. Anthony North ER: $15.999/ea = $61,996.00
1 trip to North Metro Suburban ER: $10,930.00
1 trip to St. Anthony North, admitted for 4 days = 4 x $21,870.00 = $87,480.00
1 trip to Steamboat Springs ER: $6309.00
1 trip to UC Denver, admitted for 4 days = 4 x $22,085.00 = $88,340.00
1 trip to Lutheran, admitted for 3 days = 3 x $16,852.00 = $50,556.00
1 trip to St. Anthony Lakewood ICU 4 days = 4 x 21,870.00 = $87,480.00
Total – $393,091.00
(I sent these figures for review to Dr. Valuck of the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention. He assured me that they were accurate.)
This is not counting the lost revenue from work days spent helping him through withdrawal, or the fact that my husband will now have to close the company that he and my son co-owned and worked within.
Then I googled for the average cost of an in-patient residential treatment center stay and found info on this website:
And see that they list:
Residential rehab –$8000-$32,000 per month – my son would have required in patient residential rehab because up to about 5 months ago, his dealer lived next door and are also on every street corner in our neighborhood.
So, for my calculations, I used $16,000/mos for a year of treatment.
12 x $16,000 = $192,000
Which would have been a savings to the state of $201,091.00.
And they would have had a taxpaying citizen adding to the coffers for years to come. But, because this same state is spending money in all the wrong places, all we have now is a box of ashes on my dresser instead.
Please pass this bill from the appropriations committee to the full house so that we can get treatment to those who haven’t died yet.
If you need, I am available for email or phone questions, PS: Attached are pictures of my son.
Charlie, I never got a chance to tell you how much of an impact you had on me. Just two years younger than I but you always had a calming wisdom about you. I never got a chance to tell you that you were such a calming force in my chaos and catastrophe. You saw me for me, the potential me, the current me, the spiritual me, the whole package. My soul hurts for now but I know you’re on a new journey, guitar in hand, and a song on your lips. I’ll see you on the other side
I was given your guitar yesterday The one Lera signed, the one you really loved to play As I opened the case, a wave of calm rushed over me And I could hear you sing “Let it be” My heart is heavy as I gaze upon its strings Knowing the music is all I have now that you got your wings I promise to cherish and keep it safe as you did This life will never be the same without you kid Today we’ll gather in memory of you I’ll do my best to keep my head high, dance and sing and not be blue Forever in my heart, always on my mind Even tho we’re apart, I feel the bond so strong and know we’re still intertwined Rest easy, and play me some slide Ill look for you in the stars until I can see you on the other side.
Charles Today you will be surrounded by your close friends and loving family. I am there in light and love. You will remain in my memory as the boy with the infectious smile. The goofball. The tag-along. The little brother of my longest and most dear friend Katie. The son of the family that helped mold me, Linda & Chuck. The musician. The adventurer. You are loved and taken too soon. – Dani
Also want to say thank you to my niece and nephews who have been calling in to make the mornings a little bit more tolerable Lewis Kimball Samuel Higgins and Hilary Elise Higgins and to Grace Grant for starting my days off with her special brand of humor, kick in the butt and care.
To all my friends – thank you so much for being shoulders, for offering love and friendship.
And one more special thank you to Hannah Acklin She was there for him at the final end. They dressed him in his favorite leather jacket, new leather pants and patent leather shoes. She said he looked like a rockstar.
Thank you all very very much! I am blessed to have you in my life.
We have finalized the details for Charlie’s memorial and we would like you all to be here if possible.
To All Family & Friends Of Charles Everette Hughes, III:
Please join us for his memorial service to celebrate his life
March 11, 2018 From 2-6:00 pm
American Legion Post 17 1901 Harlan St. Edgewater, CO 80214
Please RSVP so we can plan for the right amount of food, etc.
About 2 months ago I wrote this for my brother. Words have never been my thing, but at the time he wanted something “real” to hold and read. One of the last times we talked he told me how much it helped him and he was going to make a song out of it. My heart is heavy that I’ll never hear him sing this. But maybe one day I will be able to… See you on the other side big little. . Charles Everette Hughes III “As the days pass the pressure grows Like weights on your shoulders that you feel in ur toes Constant questions with no answers in sight How much longer can we fight this fight? Motions of sickness wave like the plague Not being able to find where it comes from, the visions, so vague Pain and anxiety, tip toe on needles of sharp razor glass Seeping deeper at rates of slow….fast How did it get to be here like this Dont you want something more to miss? The difference between the worlds we create Dont have to be the things that decide our fate Let the pressure turn to flight, and jump from the fear You dont have to be afraid anymore, there’s always someone or something here Let your wings come out and blow in the wind Let the earth and the air take you to mend Breathe in, breathe out, you got this big little No longer will you have to feavorouslly dig for ground in the middle Its right in front of you, you just have to grab it It sees the struggle and the success, its not going to come easy, but in time things will fit How you want, when you want, you are the creator of your own destiny You deserve a life where you can rest easy The choice is yours, and only yours Who knows what the universe has thru those doors Breathe in, breathe out From the rooftops you’ll shout… On strings of magic sound waves You can go to the sky where he’ll sit right beside you to play Or you can play to the sky where he can be your guide in a different way Breathe in, breathe out Take my hands, Im with you forever, without any doubt Now go, climb the mountain on which you wish to sing And watch as it unfolds, with open eyes, and embrace what it brings.”
Transferred from Katie Hughes facebook: “…For many hours and days that pass ever soon The tides have caused the flame to dim At last the arm is straight, the hand to the loom Is this to end or just begin?
All of my love, all of my love All of my love to you, oh
All of my love, all of my love, oh All of my love to you…” Charles Everette Hughes, 111