14 February 2012

I think when the final tox reports are in, the cause of death will be complications of prescription drugs mixed with alcohol causing Whitney Houston's heart to stop. Credible reports are coming out that there was very little water in her lungs, meaning that she was dead before her head went under the bath water; final exhalations more than likely caused a very small amount of water to be sucked back into her lungs.

Other very credible reports are coming out that there were NO illicit drugs found in her suite, and few prescription pills in the bottles said to litter the floor of the bathroom and other rooms of the suite-meaning she either ingested a large number immediately prior to her death, or what I think is much more likely, she just didn't have a huge stash of prescription drugs, period.

I've been reading the media pieces that she was behaving erratically in the days prior to her death, and have to say that I think she may have been showing signs of what is in effect drugs poisoning. It is well reported that she reeked of alcohol several times in the days before her death-mixing Xanax and alcohol can poison a body especially if the mix continues for a period of days. If that turns out to be the conclusion of the tox studies, it is certain that the building toxicity of the combination put an enormous strain on her heart. But it could also have been causing serious liver damage-photographs taken two nights before her death show her belly distended and her fingers puffy, yet her arms were not. This is a clinical observation indicating liver problems, but is also among other possibilities-she could have been having menstrual bloating, for one, although in menstrual bloating the arms are also observably bloated. My thoughts are as written-she was showing several signs of drugs poisoning.

No-one in here entourage could have understood what was going on if that is the case, no-one could have saved her, not even Ms Houston herself. The only way she might have survived would have been immediate hospitalisation Weds or Thurs night. A tox screen would have been done, she would have been treated, and she would be alive.

But it wasn't something anyone without either personal experience or specialised medical training would have seen in time. Whitney Houston was doomed from the first time she mixed the prescription drug and alcohol.

I saw the nightclub photos Friday morning as I glanced through the headlines on several news-feeds, and I will be painfully honest-I looked at those photos and shrugged, "Whitney is back on drugs. What a loser."

And I should have known better-I do have personal experience with prescription drugs toxicity. I've seen it before in the cases I've worked for various law enforcement agencies. I've seen it in a couple family members, although they were experiencing toxicity due to combining two prescription drugs, not drugs and alcohol. Toxicity is a monster, it is deadly if not caught in time. Someone has to be there to keep an eye on the patient, someone strong enough to haul someone to hospital and insist "This is NOT normal!"

But for Whitney Houston, sadly, it was a sort of normal. Too many people who knew her professionally and personally are saying the same sad thing-when she was on illicit drugs she was 'ugly'. So unless someone around her was able to get past the shrug like mine, she was doomed.

Was her death her fault?

I have to say that until I read the information coming out from eyewitness accounts, leaked info, and hacked info, I did blame her. Now? No. I am filled with sorrow for that poor woman. It is clear to me now that more than likely Whitney Houston WAS getting her life back on track, and this is a terrible tragedy. Oh yes, I know, she should not have been mixing the Xanex with alcohol, and I am sure she knew better. But I think it is also going to be shown in the tox reports that when Whitney Houston died, she had very little alcohol in her system-I don't think she was drinking in excess even in the days before her death. I think she was having one or two cocktails thinking it had never been a problem before, but this time, well, this time it killed her. Xanex is a wicked, wicked drug. It's highly addictive, and it works TOO well, causing the patient to lose their sense of judgement. Makes it easier to say to themselves "Well, one drink won't hurt."

The smell of alcohol on her in the days preceding her death is clinically explicable, too-in combination with Xanex the body will rightly try to rid itself of the alcohol via body excretions-sweat and urine, primarily. One highball could have caused the wafting smell of alcohol as the body forced itself to perspire heavily in an effort to get the poison catalyst gone.

But no-one around Whitney Houston understood that. They did the same shrug I did-"Whitney's back on drugs."

I was having a bit of a Sunday morning lie-in, drowsing, enjoying the crackling from the wood stove and the snuggly cat (wow are we going to miss Roo when he goes home to his folks!). Paul came in and leaned over, whispered quietly "Whitney Houston has been found dead in a hotel room."

First thought? "Oh God, strengthen Your Presence for her mother!" Cissy Houston was my first, only thought for hours. I thought about Whitney Houston's daughter for a nano-second because frankly I'm not too impressed with an 18 year old who is photographed snorting coke and burning blunts with a big grin on her face, and those photos were hard to avoid as I stood on queue at the grocery.

But Cissy Houston? I told Paul if it were me I'd be on my knees just screaming until my voice was gone. And later, the news came out that Cissy Houston screamed for hours after getting that horrific news.

She is the mother of a troubled adult child. She was my first thought. She continued to be my only thoughts even as I scoured the news reports. But last night I finally found some compassion for Whitney Houston. Finally.

And all the while since hearing of her death, I've heard Whitney Houston's catalogue in my head. Was I a huge Whitney Houston fan? Nope. I liked her music but had never bought one of her albums. This morning as I woke hearing "I Want To Dance With Somebody" in my head it dawned on me-Whitney Houston's music formed a great deal of the soundtrack of my adult life.

I remember when that song came out, and thinking that I knew exactly what that song was saying. I too wanted to dance with someone who really loved me.

Barbra Streisand said what I've been thinking when I wasn't praying for Cissy Houston. "She had everything". And she did.

Whitney Houston was the Dream, Martin Luther King Jr's dream and The American Dream come true. Here was a woman who quite literally had absolutely everything-the sky could be the only limit for Whitney Houston.

When most of us looked at young Whitney Houston, we saw an American princess and we rooted for her for years. We didn't see a 'black woman' all that often although when we did, we saw her as the embodiment of everything wonderful that came out of the Civil Rights movement. Even recently, when it looked as though she'd lost the fight against drugs, she could still have pulled it all out of the hopper and soared.

But since she died I've read the interviews during which she puzzled over the accusations of race traitor she had to endure, and you know what? In the end, I wonder-is that what killed Whitney Houston?

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