“Why can’t you fix him?” She demanded. “Why can’t you make him stop?” Her voice rose as we talked in the hallway.
“Have you removed the alcohol from the house?” I knew the answer but I still asked to make the point.
“No! My husband would never let me do that.” Her eyes flitted to the closed door then back to me. “He just needs to stop drinking.”
“He cannot. He cannot make a rational choice about alcohol. Not at this point.”
Over three years I had watched this young man deteriorate from a healthy, if somewhat anxious human being into the wheelchair confined jaundiced lump that sat trembling in my exam room.
She recoiled in shock. Disbelief crossed her face.
“He is 23 years old and he is dying. You want to save him? Get him into a treatment facility. At the very least, get rid of the alcohol at the house like I have been telling you to do for months. He is your SON. But even with that, it may still be too late.”
“The doctors at the hospital said the same thing but I don’t believe you. I don’t believe any of you!”
All I could do was shrug.
I watched that tiny woman wheel the giant form of her son out the door. They never came back.
Six months later he was dead.