Leaving on a jet plane……everyone hoping won’t be back again!

12 01 2015

On the 14 April there was relief. Relief arrived in the guise of Mort’s brother from the USA who had flown over to pick up the dregs of what used to be his brother. He was on instruction to get Mort and take him back to where his dad had admitted him into a rehab centre for $60,000 a month. My relief was not that Mort might be ‘fixed’, the relief was that he would not be around.

My dad was in touch with Mort’s brother and was assisting with whatever he needed to get Mort the fuck out of Dodge. It was very touch and go with the hospital as the doctors would not sign the documentation that said he was ok for travel. He had an enlarged pancreas, low platelet count, 2 black eyes, fractured skull and his foot still in a cast. It was up to his brother to sign the waiver excusing the hospital for any liability.

His brother was in town for less than 24 hours, how on earth he managed to get that train wreck on a plane is amazing. I am sure that Mort actually did look as though he had been a victim of some sort of transport accident, though the fumes seeping from his pores would have betrayed that summation. I am also sure that given that there is free alcohol on the international flight that even years later, there are one or two air stewardesses that begin stories with, “Oh my god, I had this one horror flight, there was this guy….”

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Dinner is served

27 04 2014

We were ushered in to have the admission consultation with the doctor. There were three chairs facing his desk and as Mort hobbled in and took the closest, I started to walk to the chair the furthest away, but Anne-Louise guided my elbow to the middle chair.

The doctor appeared unperturbed by the fetid state of Mort, attempting to balance his crutches against the chair; the concerned friend perched on the edge of the seat with clasped hands; and the wife, clenched and folded into herself in complete silence, except the harsh, gnashing, grinding of her teeth. Given where we were, it was undoubtedly a tableau the doctor would have seen a thousand times over.

The discussion/interview/probe went something along the lines of Anne-Louise giving the background narrative of her and Doc’s relationship with Mort and me for 9 years, my detailed run-down of various events leading us to where we were and Mort sitting there saying “I don’t know” or a dismissive shrug to every question that was asked of him as to ‘why’.

Here we were in this bubble all about Mort, his full moment in the spotlight, a professional mediator, a long-time friend offering support, his chance to dig deep for introspective ownership and responsibility and all he could come up with was “I don’t know” over and over.

It was at this point that I found myself sitting there thinking about what I was going to cook the girls for dinner. In the midst of all this shit, it was a very clear moment of the grander scheme of things. Ingredients must be purchased, dinner must be cooked and happy upbeat conversation must be had.

After a moment of silence with the doctor scribbling some notes and the three of us all avoiding eye contact I was asked if I had any last comments. “Yep, I’m making Chicken Tetrazzini, with extra parmesan….they love it.”

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Roast with a drunk

8 04 2013

I spoke with Anne-Louise the next day. Unbeknownst to me she sent her husband to Mort’s hotel room to perform an ad hoc ‘intervention’. Besides her husband knowing Mort as friend, he is a brilliant doctor (may as well refer to him as “Doc”) and could talk to him about addiction and what courses of action were available. (Problem as we would discover soon enough is for any addict to commit to a way to deal with the problem, they do in fact have to admit that they actually have a problem. With all that had so far transpired, Mort had still not breathed any such admission.)

It had been about 2 months since Anne-Louise and Doc had come to our place for lunch one day with their kids. As a doctor, Doc had certainly seen a lot of gross and surprising stuff in his time. He was not prepared for the sight (and smell) of Mort.

He could barely fathom that Mort was the same person who hosted lunch just 2 months prior serving roast on a table laid with freshly pressed linen, who carried a witty conversation and conversed about the ways and woes of the world. This man had somehow transformed his 4 star hotel room into a den of squalor. There were various fast-food wrappers strewn about the room along with countless drained bottles. His own appearance and hygiene was worse than that of the fetid room. He had bruises and scratches on his arms and his jeans looked as though he had stripped them right off a homeless person.

Doc talked with Mort about an addiction workshop that a preeminent hospital was running in the upcoming weeks. He was going to get him on the fast track to attend as an out-patient.

Doc and Anne-Louise urged me to allow Mort to return to the house. They stressed the fact that there was no way that the workshops or ‘therapy’ would work if he returned to an empty hotel room by himself at the end of each day. He needed family and support around him to get him through it. How I gagged on this suggestion.

There was this one moment in particular when I was talking about it with another friend who had known Mort and I since our kids started kindergarten together. Emma is a gorgeous girl, she is a country girl and as such she says it like it is, never any bullshit or sugar-coating. I so respect that. So when I told her what Doc had recommended, I expected (and wanted) her to say, “fuck that”…she didn’t, tears rolled down her face and she said, “yup, you have to.”

The problem for me was that all our friends said the same. They were thinking of what they would do if their spouse was in the same scenario and they were clinging to the memory of the guy that they knew. I hadn’t seen that guy for a long, long time and I was not at all comfortable having this decaying vestige of a man in my house. But I did.

That made one of us that attempted to do the right thing.