Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Confessions - Part Two

Well, here is Part Two of My Life and Welcome To It.

If you have not read Part One, I would suggest that you might want to read that one before reading this. Just sayin', is all...

(Trying to concentrate here - I am on my lunch break and the guy in the next cube is chattering away... I try to act disinterested and he keeps talking.to.me. Arrggghhhhhhh....)

I guess that the passing-out-and-then-detoxing incident was my first exposure to the fact that Greg was an alcholic. However, he never let it interfere with his job or his usual day-to-day performance. After detoxing, he went immediately to (I drove him and sat in on this) his first AA meeting. As expected, it was difficult for him to stand and say the expected words, "I'm Greg and I'm an alcholic." He was shaking, actually physically shaking, because of what his body had just been through. After that meeting, one of his most difficult things was trying to find an AA meeting with those in similar circumstances. You know, white collar guys and gals. The initial meeting had some folks in there who did NOT toe "the party line". AA-ers are supposed to respect whatever and however you got to these meetings. But I remember him talking about a guy who did not react positively to anyone who came through other programs. The guy was a real hard-ass, plain and simple - no other way to put it.

After he de-toxed, I cleared all the liquor out of the house. Took the liquers over to the house of a couple that we knew (and who worked with Greg), and don't remember what I did with the rest of the hard stuff. I guess if it was open and didn't have much left in the bottle, I poured it down the drain.

With the direction of this same couple, I had a few sessions with a psychologist who they knew. I was feeling very angry and HAD to talk with someone. I liked a glass of wine to relax with, and I felt that Greg had removed this option from me. When I expressed this to her, she said, "I give you permission to have a glass of wine." Now, isn't that silly? and yet, for some damned reason, I guess I felt that someone HAD to give me permission. I could only go to her for a few sessions (insurance limitations), but the sessions were amazingly helpful.

I think it was shortly after this that Greg had his gallbladder removed. During a routine physical, gallstones showed up on an xray or during an MRI or something. His doctor quizzed him as to whether there were any patterns of gallbladder trouble in his family, and Greg related the facts of his mother dying of cancer that had apparently started in her gallbladder. That was enough for the doc! He scheduled Greg for laparoscopic surgery, and I sat patiently in the waiting area. It seemed to take much longer than they had told me (I guess that is always the way). When the doctor came out, he ushered me into one of those closed-door rooms where they don't give you good news. He explained that significant cirrhosis was detected on Greg's liver and so they did further checking. That revealed hepatitis C. I explained that he had recently stopped drinking - the doc agreed that given this diagnosis, this was a good thing - and I did not know the source of the hep C.

Another wall to climb.

(OMG - he's back standing in my cube and talking directly to me. And I did not ask or invite him over here. Oh thank God - he put on his sportcoat and had to leave - YAY!)

So now we added another doc to his specialists - a very good and supportive gastroenterologist, Dr. G. He worked very hard with Greg, getting him into at least two study programs of drugs that did work on some of the hep C patients. But not on Greg. He would get his "numbers" down for a period of time, then they would shoot back up when the program ended. One of the drug regimens damn near did him in. After a period of time, I noticed that he seemed to be exhibiting behavior that was akin to early Alzheimer's. Scary. Very scary. I finally had to insist that he quit driving, since he just could not seem to remember where to turn or where he was going. During this time, we went to Vancouver, BC, Canada, for his oldest nephew's wedding. And most of the family noticed that Greg did not seem to be "all there". Just a vacant stare. And he was very, very chilled most of the time, and had lost a LOT of weight. When we returned to TX, we got a phone call from the gastro guy's office, wondering if Greg had stopped the drug, as instructed. It turned out that someone from the gastro office had neglected to phone us re: those instructions. We talked with the gastro guy (guess who had to drive him to this appointment?), and I could see that he positioned himself so that he could watch Greg in the mirror. He explained that this side effect was sometimes seen, while on this combo-drug treatment. And yes, Greg stopped that combo and gradually got better. But I did feel like he lost a bit of "edge" - hard to explain, but I guess when you spend so much time with someone, you know when they are not as sharp as before.

The above - in and out of drug trials and so on - happened over a period of several years. His employment changed over that time, too. As companies changed their buying habits to dealing directly with manufacturers for pc's and peripherals, jobs like Greg's where he sold products through his company, fell by the wayside. There was a temporary reprieve when his sales division was bought by an East Coast company. That lasted for a year or two, then buh-bye.

We talked about his options - not so great, when you have been in sales for years. He decided on a whole different tack - Home Depot (HD). He thought they would welcome his sales experience, and clients had always commented on how supportive he was of them. HD tested you to see where you would be a better fit. So naturally they put him in Flooring. FLOORING? Where he had NO. experience. at. all. They sent him to school, and soon he was doing those weekend classes where they show you how to install ceramic tile. I can see the light coming on in your collective brains: I always KNEW that those guys didn't know what they were talking about. Uh-huh. But he did a good job in those classes and made it a point to give the correct info and not throw out any BS if he didn't know the answers.

He was working at HD during the time of the "Alzheimer's" incident. And that got him fired. He did something totally inappropriate at work - something he would never have done if he had been in his right mind - and it got him fired. I will not go into his actions, for he can't defend himself. But we did not yet know why he was acting this way. If we had, we (or at least I) could have argued the case for him and probably have gotten his job back for him. Instead, he filed for unemployment.

By this time, I felt like my little row boat was drifting further and further from the shore. And me without any oars.


The Retired One said...

Wow. You have been through so much! Did you confide in anyone (other than your brief therapist sessions) during this stressful time? You must have been really, really scared....

txmomx6 said...

T.A.N.W. for Part 2.

As for not grieving as deeply ..... whatever! Everyone's grief is different .... but you have grieved very deeply, my friend.
Different? Perhaps. Deep? Absolutely.
We grieve together.

Ramblin Mama said...

I hope telling your story here has, in some way, helped to lift your burden a bit. It sounds like you were traveling a very frightening, unfamiliar and lonely road. I'm sending supportive cyberhugs your way. I'm sure you can still use a few.

Anonymous said...


I've switched my profile name from linda to L... I'm still me. You're still getting hugs!

jessica said...

Thank you all for your supportive comments.
The Retired One: no - I really had no one to confide in, other than a bit with the couple who pointed me to the therapist. They were (and still are) VERY good and supportive friends. She came in to help with my garage sale.
txmomx6: With all your own challenges, you are still considerate enough to comment and support me. Thanks for your continuing support. I still hope to meet you in person some time!
Ramblin Mama: Yes, it has helped my burden to tell the "world" what I have been carrying around for many years. And yes, it was a lonely road. Thank you so much for the cyberhugs - I can ALWAYS use them!
~L~: You know how much we miss hugs! Thanks for your hugs!