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”