This account is posted with Erika's blessing.
Never forget Friend that I love you more than Taffi loves cat food. We all do.
On Sunday August 28, 2016 I was finishing listening to Dr. Dryden's lecture on heartworm disease at CVC - Central Veterinary Conference - in Kansas City.
Erika texted from Omaha, "I've ruined my entire life, and I don't know what I'm supposed to do now."
We texted back and forth. Erika texted, "You were a good sister." The hostess at Romeo's where Erika works as a server, in addition to being a veterinary technician at Gentle Doctor, had once said that she saw the family resemblance between her and me when my family asked to be seated in Erika's section.
By now I was in the expo hall of CVC with my family. Russ was getting us pizza, and Amanda and Abby and I were with the dogs.
"am" I texted.
"Thank you for everything you've done for me" Erika texted.
I called. Erika didn't answer. I went to find Russ to see if he knew Erika's apartment complex name. He was already back to the table. He didn't know. I called work, forgetting it was Sunday. At some point in there I texted "NO. ERIKA WAIT."
I called Angie and asked her to call 911 and have someone sent to Erika's home. Angie came in to work and got Erika's address and sent help. She also texted Erika. We prayed.
I called Erika again. This time she answered. I kept her on the phone until she could not stay awake. She said Taffi was looking at her. I said, "Who would feed the dog and cats?" Erika said she didn't know, and they did love to eat. She said Taffi especially loved cat food. I told her I loved her, that I loved her more than Taffi loves cat food.
She said she was trying to cross her fingers but couldn't. I said I would cross my fingers that everything would be okay. I said goodbye and hung up and waited.
Angie and I didn't hear anything at all the rest of that day. Russ and I had gone to the CVC block party but figured we could wait just as well in the hotel room with the girls and dogs.
At 11 pm, Vamsi texted Angie and me that Erika was in the hospital. I woke up at 1 am to that text and one from Angie. I didn't sleep well, but waited till morning to text them both back.
Erika was admitted to Bergan Mercy after telling the paramedics she had drunk a bottle of schnapps in an effort to kill herself and changed into a dress and jewelry so she would be beautiful in the afterlife unlike a tv character she knew of who fell asleep in her storm sweater and passed away and had be dressed like that as a ghost forever after.
She said Taffi would not stop barking at the paramedics because they would not sit down.
She was transferred to Fremont Medical Center because it was the only hospital in Nebraska with an open bed for behavioral medicine cases. She said that because it was a suicide attempt, she would be in the custody of the Omaha Police for 72 hours.
She would be released Wednesday night. She said she had never slept so much and had been able to let go of all she had had bottled up.
Russ, Amanda, Abby, and I got back into town and visited Erika with Angie. Erika's parents and Vamsi were there. I told Erika that I knew we had good friends before, but Gentle Doctor is unique, and now she has 50 people ready to kick her ass if she pulls that shit again. Angie said the same thing more eloquently and without swearing.
-next chapter starting-