Alcoholism

I have a friend who is an alcoholic. I received a text from his roommate today letting me know that he is probably going to die in the next week or so and I should come down to say good-bye.

He is yellow, he is retaining fluid in his feet, he has a wet cough that may or may not already be pneumonia, and he can only keep down alcohol. He has not eaten an actual meal in months and he has maybe 1/2 cup of water per day. He pees once per day, if at all, and he showers about once per month. He weighs maybe 90 lbs. and is a chain smoker, but he’s even given that up for the most part.

I’ve known about his alcoholism from the first time I met him back in 2016. He has always had very strong tremors and he was open about his abuse of alcohol. He lost his dad and his brother in the span of a week, he was fired from his job about 8 or more months ago, and the pandemic increased the loneliness he was feeling, so I’m not surprised at where we currently are. He has also already had 2 strokes in the past year.

I’m feeling a lot of emotions. Sadness, anger, guilt, frustration, hope, disappointment, and so many more. I feel bad for his roommate who has been there cleaning up after him and keeping him alive this long. She says that she has seen end stage alcoholism before and that this is what it looks like, so I fully believe that his days are numbered.

I will probably drive down to my hometown tomorrow and say my good-byes in the form of “just checking in”. I’m not looking forward to it. If I am 100% honest, I don’t really want to see him in the state that he is in. And I don’t think he wants anyone seeing him in the state that he is in. It is uncomfortable for everyone, but I know I will also feel incredibly guilty if I don’t see him and then he dies later this week. We’ll see how it goes. My heart goes out to anyone going through this disease and those who have watched a love one go through it.