Monday, February 4, 2013

Reality is the Bitch with a Gift

It's the question - - the big question.  For some, a burning question they don't know how to ask, yet really want to know - - How did or why did Boomer die?

Boomer died from the direct effects of the disease of alcoholism.  The insidious disease that steals its victims of their bodies, their minds, and their relationships.   A disease that when escalates in intensity, accelerates in velocity and strength to take over and destroy - - everything.  When treatment or recovery is continually denied, the disease becomes victorious in it's conquering goal - - death.

My beloved Boomer, suffered and struggled for years - - make that decades.  I knew this.  He knew this.  We knew this.   Though denial ruled as Boomer's default attitude, right up to laying in the hospital emergency room bed, evading every doctor's direct questions about how much he drank, and after his 2nd blood transfusion when turned to me and quipped, "I guess my drinking days are over," I know he really did know how helplessly trapped he was in the disease. 

Bitch stole my husband.   Chemical dependency of any kind is a bitch and will steal a loved one as it's mistress.  Alcohol, in my opinion, is the worst bitch mistress of all.  So many are afflicted, while the attraction, behavior and attitudes are a major part of our social and/or cultural norm. 

Prior to going to the e.r., we were at a clinic in town.  Boomer constantly resisted getting medical treatment of any kind (read:  Maya ).  There was always something, the nature of the disease accelerating in deteriorating the body, everything begins to fail.   Boomer finally agreed to get checked out following a week of constant diarrhea and for what he described as a "bad bruise"  that appeared the morning before on his right shoulder and ran down his arm to his wrist.  He wouldn't show me the bruise (which turned out to be a hematoma that burst because his blood was too thin to clot), he also now had the chills.  Add to that the skin eczema and jaundice he'd and for months and refused to discuss or address.   The clinic doctor came out to talk with me in the waiting room:
"Your husband is very sick,"
"Yes he is Doctor."
"I can't help him here, he belongs in an e.r.,"
"Yes he does."
"I have the authority to call the EMTs to have him transported."
"Please do."

Gift number 1:  The doctor immediately exercised his ability of getting Boomer medical assistance that Boomer was unwilling or unable to do for himself.  Something I couldn't do.
Gift number 2:  Boomer went from a medical clinic to a the hospital emergency room without incident or resistance.  He was safe.
Gift number 3:  Seeing his face in the exam room from the waiting room.  I saw his fear, sorrow, and surrender to the reality of that mistress bitch. 
Gift number 4:  When the EMTs told Boomer where they were taking him, I partially overheard and read his lips as he specifically asked if they could take him to Lee Memorial Hospital.  Its only a mile from our home.  He knew and was already beginning to make amends to me and to us.   They did.  
Gift number 5:  The immense in-depth work I've done to learn about, comprehend, and develop skills to deal with and differentiate between the man I love, lost and the disease that took him.

In the early days after Boomer passed, I received a Facebook message from someone, who knows me and knew Boomer (longer than I have) expressing their condolences and sorrow for the loss of my partner and how they were "unable to imagine what I had gone through the last couple of days."   While I'm grateful for the outreaching sentiment, I quietly reflected to myself, "Days?"  No.  Dig a little deeper.  This wasn't days.  That's the B-side to the disease of alcoholism:  arrested development, ignorance, denial, fear, guilt, etc. or perhaps, the mother of all co-dependent, enabling cocktails...all of the above for those who surround the addict.   This was not days of dealing, it was weeks, months, years. 

What I'm profoundly moved by and extremely appreciative of, is the handful of people who personally reached out to me to express their condolences with the courage to ask the big question.   It takes guts.  I truly admire that.   Here's what's really amazing to me about these people,  turns out 98% of those people who reached out to me, have also dealt with, either in the past or presently, the bitch of alcoholism in a relative or friend; the other 2% are currently confronting another substance their loved one is addicted to.  I find that fascinating and quite telling.

The greatest gifts I have right now, as it relates to my life with Boomer:
  • The experience of knowing and having him a part of my life, for the time that was given.  Albeit in my opinion, too short, there was time, a nice big chunk.   
  • Forgiveness (I'll expand on that more over time)
  • Peace, acceptance and love
  • When Boomer communicates with me now, which is often (I'll share later about that too), he is healthy and well.
Now to go get that tree branch off the roof of the garage without Boomer here to spot me...

Tree garage maintenance, 2011

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