Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Now I know the real story

On Thanksgiving, my dear friend Henry's husband, Reg, posted on Facebook. It was about the traditional holiday meal he'd prepared but would eat alone since Henry became "agitated," and the police took Henry away. Henry is in a psych ward, under surveillance until it's decided whether he is a danger to himself or others.


Reg's post implies that he was striving to give his husband an old-fashioned feast, but Henry ruined it. Turns out that is not really what happened. At all.


Henry is living with a traumatic brain injury. His condition has deteriorated precipitously in the last few months. In October, he suffered a pair of grand mal seizures and now he is unable to shave or use his phone without help. He is often confused about where he is. On bad days, he can't control his bodily functions and needs a diaper. Occasionally he confuses Reg with his father. 


Believing this, I accepted Reg's scenario. Only now I know this ...


1) Recovery from the grand mal seizures was complicated by Henry's ongoing alcohol abuse. Henry doesn't know where he is. Henry can't drive. Henry has no money. There is only one way Henry can get booze: Reg has been buying it for him. This is unconscionable. The doctors told Reg that he is "a failure as a caregiver." Henry has been assigned a caseworker.


2) Reg did not call the police on Henry. Neighbors did. Before dawn on Thanksgiving, Henry was apprehended nude, banging on neighbors' doors, demanding to talk to his brother Raul. This is not the first time this has happened. Henry snuck out a few weeks ago, then wearing shit-stained underwear, and did the same thing. Then the police returned him to Reg. This time, they took Henry away to the psych ward.


3) The management company has warned Reg: if this happens again, they will be evicted from their apartment.


I think we can all agree that the doctors are right; Reg is a failure as a caregiver.


Since Henry's accident I have felt just about every emotion. I have been heartbroken, angry, hopeful, insistent. Henry is dear to me and I hate what has happened to him.

But right now, I feel empty. Tired. Resigned. I love Henry, but our story is not going to end well and there is nothing I can do about it.

I must just cling to how he wished me a happy birthday Wednesday, hours before they took him away. Somehow, somewhere inside his broken brain, Henry loves me as much as I love him. That's all I have.


  1. Oh, Gal. I have no words. Much love to you, Henry and Reg. (Although I'm a little pissed at Reg for letting things get to this point)

  2. Very sad and tragic. You are right - for Reg to be buying Henry booze is unconscionable. I am glad that Henry was able to talk to you and wish you Happy Birthday.

  3. This is such a tough situation. You have every right to be angry with Reg. Caregiving is hard. It's not something everyone can do. But one would hope he would have enough self-awareness to know he's not good at it.


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