Drat

Tuesday, August 24th, 2004 | Friends

D isn’t getting any better. His doctors just checked him into the emergency ward of SF General’s psych unit, again. I had just set the phone down after talking with Big Chris about my frustration at not being able to help him when D called to say that he was on the way to the hospital. I’ve been frustrated lately because nothing I do is making any difference. Despite my gentle nudges, he can’t find any motivation to get back to work, to call his friends, to try to lose weight, or to be engaged by anything other than me, and even I’m not enough to keep him from trying to kill himself again. I’m losing him. He spent the night last night, as he does periodically when he wants to get away from the crazy people, and we watched a fun Doris Day and Rock Hudson movie, but he didn’t laugh once, despite Tony Randall’s comic brilliance and Doris’ endless pouty exasperation. I sense that I’m not registering any more, that for the past year I’ve provided a respite from his thoughts of death, and now he sees my goal of integrating him back into social space in conflict with his isolation from it, and thus I am no longer a useful escape. I’m assigning a lot of meaning to his actions, and his problems are so deeply neuro-chemical that there’s no point. Perhaps it’s that I’m leaving town in a few days? He’s no longer a functional being. Plus now he has an irregular heartbeat and has to go on insulin because of his weight gain. The doctors that I talk to for advice emphasize my need to distance myself from him, that I can only take care of myself and be supportive while they shock him and give him more drugs. I asked D today to not let them introduce any more shock therapy, as neither it nor the drugs are helping. Something has to change in this treatment. It was so much easier to help my friends as they were dying of AIDS–at least I knew what to do and how to make them comfortable. This mental disease is something that I can’t treat or see, nothing helps, and one day he’s going to be dead. Oddly I dreamed last night that we were seeing each other for the last time–his fragility is so pronounced and emphatic. I don’t have much hope and don’t know what to do. Okay, time to get on the phone and find out what to do…

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