18 September 2009

Downfall of a Friend

I'm feeling the need to blather which, on second thought, really is what this blog spot was supposed to be about rather than the pictures of furry bearded men that I post. Not that I - or, from the comments I receive, anyone else - am complaining.

I'm warning you...this is long. Very long. Probably too long.

Before I get onto it I wanted to explain the accompanying toon. I love Ralph Wiggums from The Simpsons. And of course I love Smokey the Bear. So when I found this I laughed and decided I'd have to find a place to use it. When Behr Blather was born (actually reborn since it started over on Yahoo 360, that POS), I realized I had the perfect "pic" on the blather. So..if anyone was wondering...that's the story.

I mentioned the other day (see here) that I received some not-so-great news about a friend, K. (Using initials to protect the identity of these folks.) Well B left me a Facebook message asking me to call him. I figured he wanted to ask me out for the umpteenth time (he once had a crush on me I think). So I called and left a message and he returned the call. He said he was worried about K because he couldn't get a hold of him. Other acquaintances could not either. Evidently K was very ill and living with his brother. So I told B that I would call C about K. C is my friend although we're perhaps not as good or great of friends as I would like, but we feel close enough to call each other "sister." (That's whole 'nother Oprah.)

I called C and told him I had a disturbing phone call and he replied that he'd had a disturbing phone call from S - who happens to be my ex. (Are you with me? K is ill, B is the bearer of bad news, C is my "sister" and S is my ex. Anyone need a score card??) C and I talked and both agreed that we'd each give it a day or so instead of bombarding K with emails. Evidently phone calls and text messages are o-u-t. Anyway, C dropped the bombshell (something B didn't tell me maybe he assumed I knew): K is HIV positive and his condition (lung infection) is due to having full-blown AIDS.

We've all known someone or many someones who have passed away from this insidious disease. But the majority of those deaths were before the cocktails that seem to be staving off the inevitable. Now you may be wondering how K could develop AIDS with the drug cocktails available. He doesn't take drugs. Not even prescription drugs. He believes that doctors, nurses, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies are part of some evil fascist government conspiracy. So whenever he's been sick - cold, flu, headache, whatever - he's treated himself holistically. Now I'm not knocking holistic medicine; I believe it has its value. I just don't think it works for diseases that have reared their ugly heads in the 20th Century. Maybe I'm naive.

I think the most difficult thing about this is I never knew of K's HIV status. I've known him since 2004 - actually met him through S - and I love K dearly. We never played because that would be incestuous. However, S dated K before he dated me and I know S and K had sex. Whether there was an exchange of bodily fluids I do not know. I'm not worried; although I should be tested just to be certain everything is ok with the Behr on that front.

I have been feeling guilty as well since it was June when I last spoke to K. I know I had called him on his birthday in May, and I was the only one - he said - who called him. I knew he had been ill but when I last had a message from him he stated he was on the road to recovery. He also spoke about some evil fascist doctor and his
mystical Indian-swami-guru-maharishi- whatever. Unfortunately, I allowed time to slip by, being busy with work and my house and trying to find some direction myself. For some silly reason I was telling a co-worker about this and she told me to stop beating myself off. I mean up, about this because communication is a two-way street.

I did email K a few days ago. He only replied "thank you for your love." Maybe he doesn't have the strength to type more. Maybe he is hurt that we're not rallying around him despite the no calls, no texts, no visitors admonishment.

I've thought of emailing S about K's condition; I know S will be honest - brutally so - and I would have a better picture from him of what's going on. However, I have not spoken to S for a little over 3 years (again, a whole 'nother Oprah). I don't fancy the idea of communicating with him or having him think that I'm reopening the lines of communication. *SIGH* It's really rather complicated, at least from where I sit.

So. That's the deal. I know that we all have to die at some time. But not this way. Not alone without your friends of some ugly disease that the government has practically ignored. I don't want to email K and say the wrong thing - like giving him the impression I'm writing him off or that it's useless or whatever. On the other hand, I really don't know what to say. What the f--k do you say to someone who is dying? I'm out of practice with this sort of thing. I held the hand of someone special to me as he slipped from this world; that is the most terrifying and soul-wrenching experience. And if you're not allowed to visit the person how is one to let him know that he has a place in your heart and will always be a part of you?

For now I think I must be content with limited knowledge of K's condition and just send him a "thinking of you" email every so often. I really do not know what else to do.

*SIGH* I always feel better when I write out this sort of drama.
Thanks to those who read through this. BEHR HUGS


Howard said...

Wow. This brings me back to the late 80s and early 90s when I knew far too many in K's predicament. I went to far too many funerals, and left too many seats at tables empty in remembrance. From my experience, all you can do is offer your love and support, and follow their lead. They wanna talk about leaving us, then talk. They wanna talk about the latest Project Runway, then that is the answer. It is a time about them, not about us. There will be plenty of time for introspection, anger and tears once they are gone.

My love, dear Behr.

David Dust said...

Just do what you can, and what you feel comfortable doing. If you can be a help - then do it. If you cannot - for whatever reason - don't beat yourself up for it.


Mark in DE said...

Ultimately we can only be responsible for ourselves. None of this is your fault or your burden. Try to keep a positive attitude.