I heard from Rae last night. At least it started as last night but ended as this morning. She was drunk. And she was in trouble, had been since I last saw her. I'd suspected as much. We'd parted weeks ago, saying we'd get together again within a few days. It hadn't happened. So I knew.
I didn't want to know. It was the only reason she wouldn't have called me back when I called her to arrange rescheduling. I decided to let it slide a bit, just leaving voicemail and waiting for her to reach back. It finally got to be too long and I called again, leaving another message, letting her know I'd like to see or at least talk to her, and I was concerned.
I had actually run into some family members just over a week ago when we all showed up at Jurassic Park 4, winding up in the same row. I asked after her and heard that she was "fine". I heard, more to the point, the contempt and condemnation in their voices, not for her actual problems but for how she inconveniences them. I honestly don't know just how clueless they are or if it's all denial and family secrets. I wasn't going to explore that with them. If they had indicated they cared, I might have considered it. I knew at least she was still alive, unhospitalized, and mobile. All good things, in their way. I also knew that she was using again and not ready to tell me about it.
When I saw it was her on the caller ID, I answered, even though I was settled in bed. She sounded surprised that I was awake. Yeah, I usually am around midnight, have been for months now, don't like it but can't get to sleep earlier. I thought to wonder why she'd called then if she hadn't expected an answer, but let it go. There'd be more important things to talk about.
I just didn't know then how much more important.
As I said, she was drunk. Her words were a bit slurred, but only once did I have to ask her to repeat what she was saying so I could understand. Much of it was no surprise: she'd been using since we were last together, she was now "only" using alcohol, not drugs, and declared her status to be "detoxing". Her husband was too, though I'm not aware in his case that he ever used more than alcohol. At least there was now hope that he wouldn't be sabotaging her sobriety attempts by insisting that it was OK for her to drink with him on weekends.
She had been losing friends lately. Those in her former NA group would have lost patience with her and been too confrontational. Sober friends would likely not have tolerated her using whatever the drug of the day was. Now she felt she was down to only two of us, the other being a woman she was planning on going to church with. Not that she'd started that yet. And doing so was about to get much more complicated.
She was going to lose her foot. This was a complication of smoking, another addiction. I'd thought it might be the MRSA returning, but no. She had developed holes in her bones, one at the ankle and two further down in her foot. There is to be a CAT scan this Wednesday to see if the doctor thinks there was any hope of keeping some part of her foot, but nobody seems to be thinking it's likely, and even if they can now, there's fear the condition will progress. Rae is not talking about quitting smoking, after all.
She's not taking the news well. She spent the last three days locked in her room. She thinks her kids are starting to suspect there's something very wrong with Mommy. (Ya think?) She's almost hoping they take the foot all at once rather than in stages, get it over and done with and on to a prosthesis. She thought that would be a quick process, so I clued her in on needing to completely heal first and eliminate the swelling so one would actually fit. There would be down time. Literally.
In all this mess, there is a small beacon of hope. I asked how she was doing with her bulimia. She says it's mostly under control. Ironically, now that her body isn't trying to cope with the starvation cycles of binging/purging, she's been losing weight. 42 pounds so far. She'd love to go another 20. Any bit of that weight loss will help while she's trying to haul herself around on crutches, assuming she can keep that part of her life straight.
We still want to get together. It looks like it'll need to be much more at her house rather than mine, so we'll be interrupted by the kids regularly. So be it. And I'll have the treat of running into the in-laws and their attitudes. They should be even more upset now that they'll be losing their "house slave" for some length of time. With luck and much effort I'll manage to be civil and not blast my way out of being welcome at the house.
Rae worries, though, about the effect the painkillers from the surgery will have on her latest attempt at sobriety.