Saturday, May 5, 2012

Baby, the Rain Must Fall

I can't believe it's been two weeks since my last post, but I am not really surprised. It feels more like two years, actually. I had a post already figured out but it occurred to me you might be (if only mildly) interested in why I've been away. I have been preoccupied with two friends and their recent diagnosis and fall-out and one murder. One friend's new DIL's husband (age 33) was just diagnosed with ALS (commonly known as Lou Gerig's disease). He had been sore and unable to lift an arm above his shoulder and they suspected a pinched nerve. Super-shock. The fancy-schmancy hospital in Little Rock has been their typical responsive nurturing self (read: horrid and unhelpful), and the final straw was when he began having trouble breathing, and they proposed a dr appt two weeks away. She (the wife) and I have become friends when she called to ask if I could help, and to ask how one lives with chronic illness. We schemed to get him to a good diagnostic clinic, if they couldn't get into NIH, and they ended up at Johns Hopkins. Unfortunately there aren't any clinical trials he can participate in, but at least they didn't talk down to them and they got the latest info (which the drs here were unwilling to provide them). They were glad they went, despite the expense and hassle of travel when sick and disabled. My other friend is in his early 80s. He and his wife landed in the ER midnight Palm Sunday when he wasn't getting better from what they assumed was a bout of food poisoning. Things went south from there -- from a stomach virus, to a blockage in his large intestine, to surgery for a tumor, to pancreatic cancer, that has spread to other organs. After 10 days in the hospital, he had his first chemo treatment last Monday. They are hopeful. But I have seen four friends succumb to pancreatic cancer. Perhaps the treatments will buy him a little time. If it doesn't seem to, G is smart enough to consider 'quality vs. quantity,' and fully intends to spend his remaining days savoring his time with M, his dogs, and his pipe. Last but certainly not least, a dear friend was murdered by an ex-BF two Saturday nights ago. W and I had been friends since 1994. He wasn't supposed to cut my hair that day, but we had such a rapport when we met, he became my stylist and it evolved to friendship outside the salon. I followed him to his second and then third salon jobs. About six years ago, he became really erratic and unreliable. It got to where I never knew if he'd keep the appt or not, and it was a real hassle. So I switched to the first stylist I had used, who had just moved back from Memphis. But W and I remained friends. And Excy still went to him. I was looking forward to returning as his customer. It wasn't until he went to a treatment center and later confessed to substance-abuse problems that I realized what had been going on (naive, I know). But I was so proud of how W cleaned up and turned his life around. He became involved in his church, going so far as to take several church trips to Israel, and also regularly helped feed the homeless in the city. Unfortunately, his dark past caught up to him. His ex 'friended' him on FB, and told him he was in dire straits. W, being the sweet guy he was, invited him to crash on his couch a few nights while he got it together. The killer showed up that night with another man. They tied W up, robbed him, then placed him in his car in the garage and set it on fire. Neighbors saw the smoke and called the fire department, who found W and tried to revive him, to no avail. I think W knew something was going to happen, because somehow he managed to let his two dogs out, who ended up at the neighbors. Those dogs were his kids and were so important to him. W didn't make good choices, but no one deserves to die as W did, particularly someone who worked so hard to turn his life around. We are heart-sick. The week before he died, we ran into him at the grocery store, and being able to hug him and chat for 10 minutes feels like a gift to me now. I know I will never stop missing him. Fortunately they quickly apprehended the killers, as well as the 'fence' who took his computers and television. But it's small comfort. The one bright spot in the last two weeks was my friend M's quick fly-by visit from Maine. Although we were only able to spend 4 hours together, those hours on the screened porch were a tonic for the soul. M and I have been friends since 1979, when we lived together in an odd green house in college for a year. And one thing that also cheered me up was learning she is finally divorced and finished with the crusty old asshole she married in what I can only assume was a moment of supreme weakness and confusion. As my dear friend S says, the man is a 'complete waste of oxygen.' M has always had horrible taste in men, apart from her first (and second) husband, who is wonderful, and still a supportive friend of hers. Time will out. She finally severed communication with her horrid ex asshole, who I have never liked. I tried, but the man has no redeeming qualities. The first time we met him, the instant Excy and I got in our car after the evening, we looked at each other and just said in unison, 'uh oh...' In 7 years we got together as a couple exactly twice for two ill-fated outings. I usually sucked it up and went alone if I couldn't get M to come over here or meet me alone. In an effort to lash out at her once more, he came after me in a final text, saying I was 'gaming' the 'system' with my chronic illness. Really?? WTF? By having cancer? By being on disability and not working? What does he know, anyway? It was all so BSC, I told M I'd be hurt if it weren't so pathetic, or gave a shit what G thought anyway...but thank god she is well out of it and hopefully leaving Maine and growing closer to her first ex again...I know. Drama. Here's the icing on the cake: we leave on Thursday for a pre-op at Emory. I am hopeful that despite the impending appointment, I won't be having surgery for a few more months, at least. Now that I have caught ya'll up to speed, my next post will be more fun. That won't be much of a stretch...

5 comments:

Ms. A said...

You've had a full two weeks and only 4 hours of it sounds like it might have been enjoyable. You need time out for good behavior.

ReformingGeek said...

Oh my goodness! I am sorry for the drama and the loss of your friend.

I will send positive, healing thoughts your way.

Retired English Teacher said...

There is a lot going on in your life. I'm so sorry to hear all this bad news. Take care of yourself. I'll be thinking of you.

Arkansas Patti said...

What a dramatic and sad time you have had. I read about the murder and fire. I am so sorry that it was your friend. How awful.
Sending prayers and healing wishes your way.

e said...

What a dreadful thing to happen to W! I am sorry for your loss. I do hope things at Emory go well. I'll be thinking of you both.