Unexpected Meeting

As I was returning from my daughter’s flat I met a woman walking her dog. The dog was a Staffordshire bull terrier which, she assured me, was a very friendly animal. And so it turned out. The dog’s name was Kito, which is Japanese.

The woman told me that her partner was suffering from liver failure and was taking eight different medications each day. One of his symptoms was severe swelling of the stomach, so he was taking a water tablet to reduce this. I’m guessing it was probably Bendroflumethiazide. He was suffering from severe swelling of the private parts as well, which the medication was also supposed to reduce.

He had already been in the toilet for three hours that day. (I met her just after one o’clock.) She believed she would have to call an ambulance, which sounded likely to me.

He had caused these problems himself by drinking too much alcohol over a long period. She was trying to help him by secretly diluting his vodka. I have no idea whether or not she would get this one past him.

He was on the transplant list, which raises a question – does it make sense to donate a liver to someone who is still addicted to alcohol?

She showed me a cut on her hand which she had sustained the previous evening while drunk. She thought it would need stitches but artfully placed butterfly sutures would probably have done the job.

She was a kind and well-intentioned person who gave a lot of information to a stranger.

We exchanged names and she gave me a friendly parting hug. I hope to meet her again.

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10 thoughts on “Unexpected Meeting

  1. I think you are very brave. This woman is clearly in need of support and most of us would go to considerable trouble to avoid such a responsibility. I echo ‘be careful’ but I also echo your humanitarian reaction. A few years ago I was sitting with my husband on a tube in London. A woman opposite was surreptitiously crying. We all ignored her. Then another woman came and sat down beside her and engaged her in conversation and provided a much needed shoulder. The whole carriage felt moved and we all wished we had been the ones with the courage.

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  2. It seems baffling. A person drinking themselves to death. I understand addiction as I used to smoke and found it extremely difficult to give up. Many try and link addictions to upbringing, bad parenting. When you include nicotine into the debate it is usually blamed on trying it out long enough to then get addicted. I believe it might well be the same with other substances or non-substance addictions such as gambling. Some give it up but many don’t. It is sad.

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    • I don’t understand it either. I have sometimes heard of people drinking eight pints of beer in an evening, visualised the volume, and wondered where on earth they put it! I can only imagine that, in effect, they’re pouring the stuff straight through them.
      Where’s the pleasure in that?

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  3. I have personal experience with addiction (or being close to an addict) it is a very difficult and delicate issue, she is nowadays thankfully and finally on the right track BUT now her entire existence revolves around her being an ex addict whereas before her entire existence revolved around the substance….I actually believe it’s as simple as everything revolving entirely around her.

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  4. I can see what you mean in the progression from addict to ex-addict, but I’m not sure what you mean in the last statement – that she will always find a way of being the issue/centre of attention?

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