Update~ A Trip I really don’t want to take…

I‘m sitting here waiting for Dave to call. We’re suppose to hit the road at 10am and drive up to Delano, which is above Bakersfield, close to Fresno, and in the middle of 118 degrees of broiling nothingness. We’re going there because a very dear friend of ours, and the first man Who took me in and made me feel welcome in Los Angeles almost eight long years ago, is dying in the regional hospital there. Paul is in the final stages of A.I.D.S.. We’re still hoping that he’ll rally. He’s been in intensive care there for three weeks. I just found all this out on Sunday. You see, Paul dropped into the crystal meth hole 4 years ago and never really came out of it. It was after the breakup with his longtime lover of 8 years. He just lost it and went down hill from there. First the crystal, then the erratic behavior and addiction, then job loss, home loss, paranoia. He one time two years ago or so confronted me at the eagle. It was a crowded Saturday night and he started yelling at me that nobody understood him and his pain. he was wild eyed and raving. I told him to fucking cut the pity act and get help. he came after me and on the back porch steps on the back patio, in front of everybody screamed “fuck you, you selfish fucking ASSHOLE! and spat full in my face.

Everyone saw it.

Oh well. Water under the bridge. we reconciled, and Paul declined in health.

Now, he’s 3 weeks in intensive care. Pneumonia. Kidney failure.

It’s a three hour drive up there, so I hope Dave gets here soon.What a way to spend a vacation day. And I can’t afford the gas cost rightg now. But what can you do?

I’m afraid of what I’ll see.

UPDATE: Thank you for all of your kind words! Paul is rallying! evidently, when he went on the cocktail last month, his body was already so weak that he couldn’t handle the AIDS drugs. I was mistaken about the pneumonia. there is none. His kidneys shut down, he hemmoraged internally and would have died were it not for his housemate, who found him face up and glassy eyed on the bed and rushed him to the ICU, where he’s been ever since.

When we got there, he was very coherent, his color was good, in his face he looked much the same. They had just yesterday morning took him off the respirator. The doc says that his body is slowly coming back. It’s still touch and go, but people do come back from the brink and live years longer.

I can’t tell you, if you’ve never been through it, what it’s like to visit a close friend in the hospital who is dying, not of a car wreck or other such reason, but of an insideous virus which is killing him before your eyes. It’s so amazingly awful.

We were there with him at the hospital for about 2 hours or so. The car trek was 3 hours there and 3 back.

It was strange for Dave and I driving up there. Delano is off the 99, the road we take to go up to the Kern River to camp. In fact, it’s 20 miles fom there. As we were emerging from a familiar roadside restaurant, where we’d stopped many happier times before, Dave quietly said “Wow, we’re not going up tho the river. We’re not on vacation, having fun. We’re going to a fucking hospital”

charlie (left), Paul, and Greg, 2002

27 responses to “Update~ A Trip I really don’t want to take…

  1. Oh buddy I am so so sorry to hear of that. You truly are a dear friend to him. My thoughts will be with you and your friend. *hugs* Thinking of you at this time buddy

  2. Yes. I know. It sucks. I’m hating this for you.

  3. Wow. I briefly knew Paul when I lived in LA and we were both in Bears LA. The loss of our friend Bruce back in 2000 hit both of us hard (it was a suicide). Paul a little more so since by that time I was living up here in the Bay Area and Paul had seen him right before he died. It is hard to hear that his life has spiraled downward so.
    You are doing the right thing by seeing him though. You would never forgive yourself if you didn’t. Tell him how important he is has been to you and that he made a difference in your life. Most people never get to hear that sort of thing, don’t lose this opportunity to do so.
    The fact that you are willing to make such trip to do something potentially painful shows that there is a big heart in that big chest and a far better person than you give yourself credit for.

  4. I know you’re on a tough ride, but it is a good thing.

    I’ve had to make that trip myself a few times, it’s never easy.

  5. First, I am happy to hear your friend is doing better. You are absolutely right in that people can come back from the brink and live years longer. I will hope this is the case for Paul. He is lucky to have you in his life.

    I wish I could say I don’t know what you are going thru. I was once arrogant enough to think with all the meds available today in Western culture, I’d never have to witness it again. I was proven wrong just a year go next month.

    Give Paul a big hug from me. Tell him even though we’ve never met, I love him and hope him well soon.

  6. It’s really tough, and my heart goes out to you and Paul.

    I lost my best friend to AIDS about 14 years ago, I found it incredibly difficult to visit him in the final stages.

    It might hurt like hell, but you are doing a good thing mate. Hang in there.

    I’ll be thinking of you both, and hoping that Paul will keep improving. Slow and steady can win out!

  7. P.S.

    Like Moby, I’d love it if you could let Paul know that he has a gang of folks around the world who are rooting for him.

    My hugs to him, and to you.

  8. *hugs* to all of you. A long drawn out illness is never easy to witness. Tell Paul that there are strangers out there praying for him. And as for you guys, I will pray the you are given the strength for your journey as his dear friends.

  9. Be strong, my thoughts are with you.

  10. Clicked over from Moby —
    Many wishes for better times ahead. Sounds to me like your friends are lucky to have you around. Good and positive thoughts for you.

  11. Just wanted to send you my prayers and best wishes. Your friend is so lucky to have you there for him.

  12. sending out much aloha for you and your friend!

  13. Just dropping over from Moby’s blog and read your story about your friend. He is very lucky to have a friend like you. Hope he gets better and gets out of the hospital.

  14. How awesome for you and Dave to go to see Paul. Very glad to hear he is showing improvement, and keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.

    Paul

  15. glad your friend is doing better
    its a vile virus and friends like you are worth their weight in gold
    let him know he’s not alone in his fight and my thoughts are with him

    dave

  16. I got here via Twitter, then to Moby’s site and finally here. I’m glad Paul is rallying and will be praying for him to pull through and also for you. As several people stated above, you are a great and true friend!

  17. Glad to read that Paul is rallying back. I’ve never been through a friend with A.I.D.S., nor that I wish I would ever be, but I can understand the pain for you to have to see a love one suffer. Stay strong!

  18. OMG! I know Paul. Good to hear he’s doing better. Thanks for being such a great friend, you and Dave !

  19. I’m here via Moby’s blog. Glad to hear your friend is rallying. After seeing some people I know go through nasty illnesses (cancer, AIDS) I understand how terrible it can be.

  20. Wouldn’t a happy ending go well with this story? I hope it gets one…

  21. Here via Moby’s blog. Glad to hear Paul is doing better. I hope the healing continues, both his health and your friendship.

  22. Hey Rich – as you know, I’ve been through this (on the helpless observer side). If you ever need to talk, let me know. Dammit.

  23. I am very glad to hear it looks like Paul is going to pull through. You done good by going to see him, much karma coming your way.

  24. It’s surreal to be sure. I went through it with my Mother. Just being there in the end? That’s a gift.

  25. Paul was a long time friend… I just found out about this yesterday Oct 6th. A friend who apparently knows your blog showed it to me.
    I am heartbroken and sad. I am glad however that Paul was not alone thru all of this and he had friends like you there with him. Had I know, I would have come up as well.
    Andy

  26. I ran across his business card “Illusion Engineering”. I met him in the early 90’s at the Folsom Street Fair. Sorry to see that he has passed. Years after that we would run in to each other every know and then and he always remembered my name! Handsome man, he will be missed.

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