Friday, January 04, 2019


Henry was rushed to the hospital this afternoon. He was working at the library and suddenly became disoriented and incoherent. His coworkers first called 911, then Reg.

Henry spent five hours enduring tests. He and Reg left the hospital with no answers, but a lot of drugs. My friend went to sleep tonight in his own bed, but terrified. He has trouble focusing (mentally, not visually) and doesn't understand what is happening to him.

The only bright spot in all this is that Henry recognized that Reg was there for him. He took comfort in the support of his husband. I hope this indicated a turning point in the healing of their relationship.

It is not uncommon for victims of TBI to develop epilepsy. That is something that has to be considered. Alcohol exacerbates this. When I was in Key West for Christmas, I refused to drink with Henry. He either didn't notice by abstinence or didn't care: he drank each day and one afternoon I saw him down three glasses of wine in three hours.

I did not argue with Henry about his drinking. I could see no point. I was only down there for five days. Who would police him the other 360 days? He has to decide to stop drinking on his own. Since he will not admit he has a brain injury, it's not likely that he will own up to his alcohol problem.

I love my friend. He is a special person -- kind, smart and fundamentally good. I wish I knew what 2019 holds for him. I wish I could protect him from what I fear will be a perilous journey as he recovers.

Six two and even, over and out

Between the ages of 15 and 30, Judy and I were best friends. She literally broke my heart, as only a close friend can. She wasn't easy to be friends with, but I worked at it. I believed in her talent, I was dazzled by her smarts. She repaid my loyalty with cruelty. It hurt, it was unfair, it made me question my judgement about people and who to trust. If you're interested in what happened, click here.

Ten years ago, out of the blue, she reached out to me on Facebook. I didn't respond. From what I'd seen on social media, she was still self-absorbed. When I thought about Judy, a song from the 1970s popped into my head, "Haven't Got Time for the Pain." Life sends enough drama our way without us creating melodrama. I decided that was the lesson she was sent to me to teach. I'd learned it. Time to move on.

Then over Christmas, something big happened. You know how you click on something and then you click something else? Eventually I stumbled on Judy's Facebook page and discovered that she now has cancer. She is broke and is forced to sell off her personal belongings to pay her bills: Her late father's ring and tie clasp; her grandmother's silver set; a ring that I remembered on her hand when we were in her room in her parents' house, where she taught me how to play canasta. It left me overwhelmingly sad.

I had a powerful impulse to help. I could buy something from her online "shop." I could contribute to her Gofundme page (which has been up for three years and has netted her $7000; Henry's has been up for 2 months and has $11,000 in it). But as I read the fine print, I realized I couldn't do it anonymously. Something told me that I wanted to -- needed to -- keep my contribution anonymous. Judy = drama. I was afraid of being sucked in.

I mentioned all this to my friend Kathleen. I was surprised by her vehemence. She knew how Judy had hurt me. She said the past should stay in the past. She maintained that if someone is alone in the world with no one to help, there's a reason for it, and I was likely not the only one Judy had screwed over the years. Kathleen mentioned the homeless young man she met on her way to the restaurant. He warned her not to park there, in case she'd missed the no parking sign (she had). "If you want to help someone, help him and not that twat." And Kathleen never uses vulgarity!

I understood the wisdom in what Kathleen said, but I just couldn't shake the need to help Judy. She was a big part of my growing up, and I should honor that. It's Christmastime, and I should honor that. I really do try to live as Christ wants me to.

I explained the situation to a coworker, who placed an order on my behalf but in her name. I bought this agate stone necklace from Judy's online store.  It cost me $25, including shipping and handling, and Judy will not see my name attached.

When it arrives, I will say a prayer for her every time I put it on.

But now I have no reason to continue cyber checking on Judy. I have helped her while still protecting me.