Saturday, September 07, 2019

Now entering Crazy Town

I had a very, very disturbing call on Thursday with Henry. I'm still not quite over it. Since his accident last October, Henry has not been the same. He has come a long way. He goes to church regularly, he participates in his the poetry guild. Some days, when we talk, he is his happy old self. But he is always in some discomfort, he takes a handful of pills every day, and his coworkers are always on alert for his seizures. This stress takes its toll.

And Thursday night, pain and stress and sleeplessness and wine led us into Crazy Town. He told me the reason for the call was a quick check in, wanting to hear how I was healing after my oral surgery. I was dopey* enough to believe him. That is not why he called.

He called to whip himself up into a panic, and he wanted an audience.

A bill arrived from the hospital for $7,000. He doesn't have $7,000. They're going to take his house. He's going to be homeless.

I explained to him that no one is going to take his house over $7,000. That he needs to talk to his insurance company about working out a payment plan.

No, they will take his house. They said they wanted him to pay by check or credit card. They're going to take his house. He's going to be homeless.

I told him it would cost the insurance company more than $7,000 to evict him. Lawyers and court costs, etc. Call them. Work out a payment plan.

No, I don't understand how corrupt Florida is. They're going to take his house. He's going to be homeless.

I suggested he talk to his HR rep. She can be his liaison with the insurance company.

No! HR will want to see the police report from the accident. The police report is dishonest! It will ruin him. He is going to lose his house. He's going to be homeless.

By now he's crying. He says he can't take this anymore. He says he wants to die.

I tell him to call his minister. He says his minister has told him to, "Shut up and get over it." I wanted to laugh, because I mean, really! Not even in a Monty Python skit would a minister talk to a parishioner that way. But Henry was really, sincerely in pain. So I asked him where his husband Reg was.

Reg was asleep.

OK, what about his best friend Phyllis? Here I am, in another time zone and trying to heal. I don't know how to handle this. At least Phyllis could get in the car and drive over.

He doesn't want to talk to Phyllis. What he does want to do is "remove himself from the situation."


I told him it was cruel to bring that up in a conversation with me. I am more than 1000 miles away. I can't help him. How could he so vicious to someone who loves him like I do?

By now he's really slurring. He says he can't do this anymore. He simply cannot.

I told him I was calling Reg and waking him. That if Reg didn't answer, I was calling the police.

He said OK, and that he loves me.

I called Reg. And awakened him from a sound sleep. He was surprised to hear from me, and saddened by the turn of events, but strangely calm about Henry.

He told me they have had no conversations with the insurance company, so that whole "pay by check or credit card" call never took place. Reg told him not to worry, that they have the funds to pay the bill from their Gofundme. He said he suspected Henry had been drinking with Phyllis. He said he would take care of it from here.

I was too wound up to sleep. Between Henry and Reg, I'd been on the phone for two very intense hours and now my heart is beating out of my chest like a character in a Warner Bros cartoon. This is not good for me. I'll be honest: I resented it.

The next morning, after a sleepless night, I called the office and told them I'd work from home. I got a text from Reg, thanking me for being there Thursday night, and telling me that Henry claimed not to remember talking to me at all. Reg says he could tell that Henry remembers, and is embarrassed.

I know we're all doing the best we can here. I'm just exhausted. I don't feel well. I have money woes. I am not a shrink. I am not equipped to handle this.

Love is not enough. I am learning that, slowly and very late in life, I guess. I cannot love him well.

*And I mean "dopey" literally. Prescription-level pain killers make me stupid.


  1. Wow. What an experience. You were a good friend and did all the right stuff. I'm sorry for Henry, but he's lucky to have someone who will listen to him...and find him help, even from 1ooo miles away.

  2. My jaw was open the whole time I read this--I am so sorry you had this happen when you weren't 100% yourself! You're such a good friend.

  3. This made me very sad to read. You are doing your best and no one can be there and be all things to someone. I am so sorry you are having to deal with this, but I think you must be pretty special to continue to do so.