Sunday, December 20, 2009

Doc is starting to 'celebrate' the Christmas holidays

Last night I called my friend in Utah (photo) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She was telling me that she her her husband used to go outside and watched the explosions from the nuclear tests at the Nevada site and would undoubtedly qualify as a 'downwinder' probably developing cancer from the fallout, and can be compensated some by the government. My sister Larae was a 'downwinder' as was my brother-in-law Pole. They both died of cancer and both worked at the Nevada testsite as well as lived in southern Utah in the area of the fallout.
My friend also has a heart abnormality which was picked up by an EKG by the cancer doctor. She knew she had the abnormality but had not made up her mind to have the procedure they were recommending to 'fix' it. The oconologist made her an appointment with the heart specialist and told her she would have to see him before he could perform surgery. So goodness sakes, she is facing a whole lot of worry right now.

She is in her early seventies, but she was optimistic saying she would get through it all. She has four children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren to live for. And she is very devoted to them.
We talked for about an hour and a half. She said she had already talked to another friend earlier in the day for two hours. A former beauty operator, my friend has a lot of talking stamina. I am sure she was popular because so many of her customers found comfort and enjoyment talking to her as she made them beautiful.

I usually figure on talking two hours when I call her, as we know so many people in common we can just start on any end of town and talk for hours about the histories of all the people we have known and what we did with them.
We discussed the two children she lost, one a month old and one six months old. She told me their names and said they were 'over there' and she would look forward to joining them if she should die, as she had grieved greatly over their deaths. She asked me what chance I thought she had to beat cancer. I told her that she seemed very strong and vigorous in her life force. I thought that was greatly in her favor, and I thought that she could beat the cancer since she has had a mammogram every year and her doctor does not think the cancer is far advanced. I also privately thought it was a good thing she had to go to a heart specialist, as she had kind of been putting that off. So getting this diagnosis might be a blessing in disguise.

The next morning I went down determined to spend the morning with Doc as he had been complaining I had been too preoccupied of late. I had been, but I had also been leaving him fairly soon in the day as I always do before he drinks too much. At Christmas Doc always gets into the mindset of celebrating the holiday, so he is more prone to go on a binge. A binge meaning that instead of going to bed around 6 or 7 after getting up at 5 or so and starting to drink, he will drink all evening, getting into a sleepless state with so much alcohol in his system. When 'bingeing' he is apt to stay awake all night and this is when he is most apt to get into trouble with his drinking.
Well, he must have been hitting the bottle pretty hard lately as I could not connect to him this morning. This was the worst time I have had connecting to him in a long time. Nothing worked. He wanted to sing Christmas songs, so we tried that, and it sounded terrible. I have never felt he was so 'off' in his reactions, sort of peevish and negative. About one pm I went home and he kept calling me, wanting me to return. I told him no, and finally had to remind him that he chose to drink, so I did not feel an obligation to stay with him for hours regardless of what that did to him. I said once he has a lot of trouble 'connecting' I don't enjoy him. I just want to get away.

He was trying to make me feel guilty for not staying longer. I hung up. He was just not making sense, and he can't recognize the effect alcohol has on him. He tries to act like he is being perfectly normal, normal for him, but not how a normal sober human being acts. As a result, my nerves were jangled by the time I went home. After I got home I had this feeling that I had been in the presence of impending death. Not with my friend diagnosed with breast cancer, but with Doc even though nothing appears outwardly wrong with him at the moment.
A couple or so hours later around 5pm he called and said that a woman here in the complex had just left. He sounded very drunk. He asked me to come down. I said no, and he said well there were other women who wanted his company! I said, good luck.
Again I would say that because Doc is moderate in his other habits, does not overeat and does not smoke and tries to drink moderately even if he always has a drink by his side, he has lasted a long time without a crisis such as most alcoholics experience. But he is 72. He can't get away with drinking forever. I just don't know now when his 'celebrating' will get him into trouble, real trouble.
He talked about being an only child today and what that entailed. His parents moved out in the suburbs and instead of letting him go to elementary school there, they sent him by the city bus back to the Lutheran school in their old neighborhood. From the age of 6 on he would be the only little child on the bus alone with the adult strangers riding into the city and back, around 45 minutes each way. He said this increased his loner ways and he faulted his parents for doing this to him. He said his mother had grieved so long over the death of his younger brother with leukemia he did not want to upset her by protesting too much.

He seemed to recognize that he is too much of a loner, has always been, and this had probably helped lead him to his solitary drinking.
He had been doing a little thinking about why he has ended up drinking himself to death, isolated. I am generally the only person he really talks to. He is a 'bad influence' on his alcoholic buddies who try to stay away from him because they get so drunk when they party with him, he furnishing the alcohol. Doc is very frugal. He always has money to buy alcohol, and he does not binge very often. But whenever he has gotten into trouble it has been on one of these binges. Now Christmas is here. Time for a binge. Unfortunately for many alcoholics, Christmas is for really getting drunk.


Connie said...

I was a loner by choice and my husband was a loner- being from W.Virginia and living in Ohio,he was treated poorly ,so he was a loner 'not by choice'.My father drank just like Doc does,ruined every holiday.His father was the same(My Grandfather),but this did not make me into an alcoholic.People will use whatever excuse they fancy.I don't believe the falicies -it is inherited-or that it's a is a 'choice' and that is all it is.A disease,I was taught -way back when-is something you can 'catch' well you can't 'catch' drinking.It's a lifestyle choice you make.It's the crutch of choice for Doc.Like overeating or smoking is for others.Oh,they say those are heriditary too...BULL. We have to put the blame where the blame is what we choose.Ok-off the soapbox now...Drinking is not a celebration..celebrating is an excuse to drink.I am not putting down drinking.I'll have a beer..once in a great while or a 7 & 7 when the mood strikes.But it isn't something I have to have in my hand to face the day. Just saying this to say I am not putting down those who drink.I just think using an occasion as an excuse to 'celebrate' is a lousy excuse to get tipsy.I feel for Doc,though.He misses his family.I miss my mom and daughter as they have both pulled away from me and it hurts so much I can hardly stand it..but to drink to drown my sorrows is not the choice I make..I'll just live and die with a broken heart .............. said...

Connie, very touching Gerry's was in analyzing a drinking man. It brings more questions..why has your mom pulled away? I think Doc is definitely a longer by choice and a drinker by choice. He is talented and smart.
You are too! Christmas sometimes seems more hard than full of Joy...and we do wish for joy (although we might expect more than is possible).

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