Susan Janusheske of Sevierville, Tennessee:
"My husband David was prescribed Neurontin as a pain killer in October 2004 after having a disc taken out of his neck and a metal plate inserted. He was only 43 years old but he grew old really fast. He had some gray hair but when people saw his photo at the funeral they thought it was the kids' grandpa. And he started losing weight; just before he died it dropped drastically - he went from 160 lbs to 105 lbs. I told the pain specialist about this (I went to every appointment with David) but he just brushed it off.
David before taking Neurontin
After taking Neurontin - a ghost of himself
I get so mad talking about it. David would be up all night long, he could never sleep once he started taking Neurontin. Again, I told the doctor and again, he did nothing. And he did weird things in the middle of the night. He burned pieces of metal in a pot on the stove.
It was like he wasn't my husband anymore. I should know; I knew David since I was 12. He also lost his memory - for example, he couldn't remember taking his pills so I finally got him a pill box. But he would take one, then another. It drove me and the kids crazy when he would ask us the same questions over and over again.
The night David killed himself, Easter Weekend, he finally fell asleep on the couch in the afternoon and woke up at 6pm. He had been up all night again.
Around midnight, my daughter and her girlfriend heard David in the bathroom - he was in there for a long time. I saw him standing at the mirror, staring at himself. Just prior to that, he asked me if he looked old. It got to him. I said yes, but it is just part of life.
He already had the gun out. He walked out of the bathroom and onto the porch. He only took a few steps outside and shot himself. My daughter Courtenay heard the gunshot and thought it was thunder. She ran outside and didn't see anything, but then she turned and almost stepped on his body. Courtney came running into my room.
I am grateful that David did it outside. Otherwise I couldn't imagine living in the house. The noise shattered the glass patio door. To this day I can't walk out that door onto the patio.
Courtenay is taking it well. Thank God it wasn't my son (he is 17) who found him. But I think it is going to hit her when she gets married. She asked me, 'Mom, who is going to walk me down the aisle now?"
I called my family doctor to get David's medical records. And then I called the pain specialist who prescribed Neurontin, but someone at his office told me that I would need an attorney to get his records. Originally, when we first saw him, I had to sign papers that said as much. So I got an attorney. But then they said we would have to go to court to get the records!
I have never been treated like that. What are they covering up? Currently, my attorney is pursuing this case for me and I guess we will see those records in court. I was at every single appointment with my husband (it got to the point where he couldn't drive) and I remember everything so they had better not delete anything.
There is no depression or mental illness of any kind in David's family and he was in perfect health, a little hellion, until this back problem. If you knew him, there was no way he would ever have done this.
He even said as much. We got to talking about it ten years ago, after his brother-in-law put a bullet through his heart. David said, if he would ever do something so stupid, he would walk into the woods and do it so nobody would find him. Then he went and did it on the porch.
Turns out, his brother-in-law was also on Neurontin! His wife, David's sister, got to thinking about Neurontin after David's death. Although it is too late for her to sue, there is a clause. When the kids turn 18, they can sue and she is going to pursue this because her daughter just turned 18.
When the ads were on TV about suicides and the link to Neurotin, people kept calling me saying I should do something. It makes me so damn mad. How can this drug still be on the market? How many more people are going to die?