Wednesday, October 7, 2015

90 days.

He had my hands in shape and form, but they were large and strong. I loved his hands. I held them for as long as they allowed that last day. I transformed the picture into the sketch, because I seemed to make the reality of the photo more subtle. He bit his fingernails; something I don't do, but it was an identifying character. He was left handed, but strummed the guitar with his right hand. The right fingers were marred with gentle callouses and wear from the love of the guitar strings. He had a finger infection last summer, so there was a faint, pink scar on his left index finger from the cuticle to the top of his hand. There was a small, healing scrape on hand that day, and ironically it was heart shaped! You can see the shape of you look closely. I had my fingerprint charm made from the impression of that left index finger. I still have the hand prints he made for Mothers Day when he was just four years old. I loved his hands and would give anything to touch them again.

Friday, October 2, 2015


The errors on the report were all basically sloppy documentation, and all was clarified to my satisfaction. To my relief, and to my disappointment (how confusing is that?), Joshua's autopsy and toxicology screen were relatively normal. His injury was the immediate and instantaneous cause of death, which was a huge relief. And, he was clean....for the most part. He had not used any drugs in a very long time, except for some mild marijuana use. Contrary to what some family members have assumed for a long time, Joshua never used IV drugs; or at least there was no indication whatsoever to this effect. If he had ever used IV drugs, it was "very brief, and very remote". While this was a relief to me, I have to admit, in my darkest part of my brain, I had hoped he was completely intoxicated or otherwise impaired, which means he didn't know what he was doing at the moment of his death.

While he was not under the influence of any substances; he was acutely affected by one very deadly drug; Risperdal. Risperdal is an antipsychotic drug, and it was prescribed for Joshua by the local mental healthcare clinic on June 25. On June 26, he called and asked me to help him pay for his prescription, and I of course did. I was a little concerned about the choice of medication, because this particular drug has a history of causing severe psychosis and suicidal ideations, specifically in young men. I do not understand why they chose this drug, considering the fact that this drug is supposed to be very carefully monitored by a healthcare provider during it's early use. A guy living "On the Mesa" is not a guy who is going to get careful follow up and monitoring during the initial phase of the drug. For those of you who do not live in New Mexico, the Mesa is basically an off-the-grid alternative lifestyle; close to camping, squatting, or living off the land. The people who inhabit the Mesa are peaceful, free-living, free-loving kind of people; but they are probably not the first ones in line for their annual check up and flu vaccine.

So, Joshua started Risperdal on June 26. On July 3, he sent me a text that he was really struggling with some of the significant side effects of the medication. He said he was having really vivid and bad dreams; some waking him from a deep sleep, with the feeling that someone was hovering over him, trying to harm him. Waking up paranoid, some mild hallucinations, and some other adverse affects that are common. He said he wanted to stop taking the drug, but I urged him to call the mental health to get some guidance, and I told him, no matter what, DO NOT stop taking this drug abruptly. Does anyone know of a 22-year old who listens to their mom? Of course not. So, it is assumed that Joshua stopped taking the drug abruptly after taking it for 8 days. This is not my opinion; it is based on the amount of medication he had left in the pill bottle when they processed the crime scene.

On days 5-10, after abruptly stopping the drug Risperdal, many people, again especially young men, have severe paranoia, severe psychotic episodes, hallucinations, and other really bad side effects. Joshua had spoken to his sister the morning of his death, and he had spoken to his friend Rose. He was making plans for the weekend; making mango salsa, planning for a bonfire with friends, and planning for Mark and I to visit the next week. The morning of Joshua's death was Day 6 off Risperdal. The medical examiner talked to me extensively, and it is his medical and professional opinion that Joshua suffered some type of severe psychosis that morning, after his phone calls. No one is sure what the trigger was, but between the medication, and external factors (an argument with the woman he was dating), it was obviously enough.