Getting Help by D.I. Jolly

Dr Edwards sat not listening to his patient talk, once again, about his irrational fear of seafood. Knowing full well that it would end in the man getting his allergies tested again, and again discovering that he wasn’t, as he suspected, secretly allergic to shell fish. But it wasn’t until the man stopped talking and in a confused and concerned voice said.

“Is… is everything alright doctor?”

It was only then that he realised he was crying, and had been for a few minutes. Instead of listening to the man Dr Edwards had, as he had many, many times in the past, been considering the finer points of suicide and what actually constituted as suicide. He hadn’t been thinking of killing himself, instead, what the difference was between shooting yourself, or drinking yourself to death. Why is one considered to have killed themselves and the other killed by the drink? Both compulsions, to shoot yourself and alcoholism, were considered diseases. The only real difference that he could see, was that one was quick, and the other was slow. His mind refocused on where he was and as he wiped away his tears and smiled.

“Yes, sorry, I… if I’m honest my mind wondered for a second. It… it has been an unusually stressful week, but that’s very unprofessional of me, and unkind. I beg your pardon.”

The man smiled nervously, unsure, for a second, how to continue then said,

“I read somewhere that most doctors, have doctors of their own to talk to. Do, you have anyone like that?”

Dr Edwards took a long breath in and pulled himself together.

“I’m very sorry I shouldn’t have said anything, perhaps I should have cancelled my appointments today. I know this isn’t ideal, but I think I’m going to have to draw our appointment to a close. Obviously, I won’t be charging you for this, and you’ll have to forgive me, but I think it’s best if we end our session here.”

He smiled at the man as he tried and failed to recall his name and waited for him to rise so that he could stand second and escorting him to the door, that way it wouldn’t appear as much like he was throwing the man out. Which is very much was. After the man left and he told his secretary to cancel the rest of his appointments, Dr Edwards returned to his desk and his thoughts. After a few minutes of going over the same points again and again he reached down to his desk drawer but stopped himself. He stared at the drawer for a minute, thinking about what was inside, and what it meant, and about suicide. Straightening back up, he instead reached for his phone and called an old friend.

Dr Franklin who was sitting in his own office across the hall, answered his phone and heard a voice say.

“I’m drinking again.”

Dr Franklin sniffed loudly, a tick of his which indicated thoughtful frustration, and then he replied.

“Well alright then.”

Less than a minute later Dr Franklin pulled out the chair in front of Dr Edwards desk and sat in it, staring at his friend.

“When did you start back up?”

“A few months ago. I… I had it under control at first. Just, once a week, two beers at this little bar, then I’d go home.”

Dr Franklin frowned and continued for his friend.

“But then it became two days a week, and then three beers and slowly you began to realise that you’ve never had it under control at all, have you?”

Dr Edwards grew pale and it aged him. The lines on his face became deeper and his voice came out thin and frail.

“I’m just so tired, tired of all the noise that comes out of people, tried of drowning in the nothing of people’s lives, terrified that I’m going to miss that one hint, that one clue and end up with another body hanging from a ceiling or spread across a wall or pavement.’

He looked up at his friend, swallowed and said,

“I’m fucking burnt out. Right now … I don’t even know if I have the strength to lift a bottle.”

Dr Franklin looked at his friend and sniffed loudly.

“How much are you drinking?”

“I … don’t know, exactly.”

Dr Edwards rubbed his face and let out a pained breath.

“Everything is kind of a blur, but, but I think more than before. I know I started today by vomiting blood and washing the taste away with whiskey. I know that I’ve had maybe half a bottle since arriving at the office, and… and that I probably won’t remember this conversation by tomorrow.”

Again Dr Franklin sniffed loudly.

“Do you know why you’re drinking again?”

“It started with a patient asking me to help him with a social problem, he wanted me to come watch him in a bar and judge his social interactions.”

“Jesus Christ Andrew…”

“I know, I know, of course, I know. I rejected the idea at first but he pushed and… I mean he didn’t have to push very hard before I cracked. I think I’d just been waiting for an excuse to go back, some justification that was outside of me just not wanting to quit. If it wasn’t him it would have been something else. I wanted a way back in, I think I was looking for one. I was just too much of a coward to admitted it.”

Dr Franklin reached across the desk and picked up the phone and Dr Edwards let out a grown and complained.

“No, no don’t do that, you don’t need to do that.”

“That’s what you said last time, and here we are. I cannot nurse you back to sanity every time you fall off the wagon. Also, I think you might need medical attention. You are going to a clinic this time.”

The two men stared at each other for a full minute but Dr Franklin’s resolve didn’t waver and eventually Dr Edwards fall back into his chair defeated and once again started to cry.

“It’s going to be alright my friend, we’ll get you through this.”

With that said and done Dr Franklin made the call for an emergency pick up, and they sat in silence waiting for the nurses to arrive. In the time it took them to get their Dr Edward’s stomach turned on him. When the nurses walk in they found the hunched over his trash bin vomiting up more blood. They rushed him to hospital and his heart stopped just as they arrived, but they managed to save him anyway, and once he was stable and healthy enough, he was moved out of intensive care and into the Addicts Recovery Ward. Eventually he got out of there and moved to a nice clinic where #he and Dr Franklin had connections, both personal and professional. Dr Franklin visited him every other day for the 28 days. And once they were done, he was released clean, sober, and on the road to recovery. In all that time, and after careful consideration he had decided that suicide, be it by the bottle or by the gun, was still suicide. So first thing the following morning, he resigned.

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