Main | Tuesday, April 05, 2005

BlogDaddy, Part 2

Continued from yesterday - Part 1

Finally...on the next Thursday, I got a call from Donn.

"Hey Joe, got your email, thought you'd want to know about Vasco."

"Donn! Thanks for calling. What's the story?" I asked, my heart sinking.

"He's in St.Vincent's. Critical condition," he said flatly.

"Fuck. What happened?"

"He overdosed on G."

"Shit. This happened AT Alegria?" It was now 12 days after the party.

"No, I think it was before. I mean, I don't know where he took it, but apparently he was at some sex party at a hotel, and he passed out," Donn said.

"Shit. Did they call 911 to the sex party? I bet that was a scene."

"No, I think his ex took him home and then went back to the party and then later, when he got back to Vasco's, he found him lying on the floor, totally blue."

I couldn't believe this. "His ex LEFT him at home alone? Unconscious?!"

When someone passes out on GHB, it's extremely important that they be put on their side and not left alone, because if they were to roll onto their back, they could vomit and aspirate the vomit into their lungs. This is how most of the GHB-related deaths occur.

"Yeah, I guess so. Apparently when his ex found him, he was just about dead. He got him to the ER just in time," Donn explained.

"Well, did he tell them at the hospital what was wrong? So they knew what to do?" I asked.

"The way I'm hearing it, his ex just sorta dumped there and took off. I mean he probably had stuff on him, and there's always cops in the ER."

I was furious. "He just fucking LEFT Vasco there? Pushed his unconscious body out of the taxi and TOOK OFF?"

"Yeah, I guess. Joe, Vasco's in really bad shape. I mean, I'm just hearing about this myself, and it's been 12 days."

After Donn hung up, I sat down and sent out an email to anybody that I thought knew Vasco. A few of the guys emailed me back immediately. Almost as big as their concern for Vasco was their rage at his ex-boyfriend. Anybody who has gone out clubbing in the last 10 years, whether they do GHB themselves or not, has seen at least a few guys go down on it, and everybody knows that you never ever leave that person alone.

Whatever your opinion about recreational drug may be, to leave a person in crisis alone is simply unforgivable, I don't care what your relationship to that person may be. And if you're worried about the cops finding drugs on YOU, then you should throw that shit into the garbage.

I left the office early and went to St.Vincent's. At the front desk, the woman didn't even have to look up his room number for me.

"Vasco. Yes, 1042."

She handed me a large red laminated pass that read "Intensive Care Unit, Floor 10".

On the way up, I wondered if she knew his room number because so many people had come to see him, or if she knew it because it was such a terrible case.

On the 10th floor, I found a large central area that immediately reminded me of NASA's Mission Control. There were a couple of dozen patient rooms arranged in a horseshoe-shape around central staffing area, where nurses and doctors buzzed about between the computers and monitors. Outside some of the patient rooms, small groups of friends and family gathered in tight circles, speaking in hushed tones.

Almost in defiance of the somber mood of the worriers, was the cacophony of beeping life support machines and the whooshing of respirators. I immediately developed a blinding headache.

Room 1042 was swarming with people. The curtain was drawn around the bed, but I could see lots of legs and movement behind it.

I stopped a nurse, "Hey, I was wondering....I mean, my friend"

She stopped for only a moment, "1042 is having a procedure. No visitors."

"OK, thanks."

I stood there for a minute, then walked out to the small waiting area, past the large swinging doors. All the chairs were full of unhappy people. The TV was playing mutely in a corner, ignored. There was a small cluster of Spanish people clustered around an elderly woman as she prayed her rosary, eyes closed.

I paced in front of the elevators for a few minutes, then went back inside. Room 1042 was still draped off. I saw a nurse roll a large machine behind the curtain. The same nurse I stopped before was now behind the counter, so I approached her.

"Hi, sorry to bother you again, but can you tell me anything about the patient in room 1042? His condition, I mean. His name is Vasco."

She hardly looked up from her paperwork, "Are you family?"

It's funny now, but the very first thing that came to my mind was, "Well, YES!", because of the way that gay folk tend to identify another gay person by saying, "Oh, HIM? Yes, he's family."

Instead, I said, "No, he's a friend."

"I'm sorry, but I can only release medical information to immediate family members."

"Yes, I know about that, I totally understand, but can you tell-"

She cut me off, finally looking up, with sadness in her eyes, "Your friend is very, very sick. I'm sorry, but that's all I can say."

-To Be Continued-

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