We are now coming very close to the point in my story, when I shall eventually catch up with the present day.....
August 2008 - Once I had taken my mother back home again and returned to London, Kay and I fell back into our routine. Kay had various things to do in preparation for her return to school and I was getting the house back to normal after a summer spent mostly away from it or with house guests. Greg carried on as usual in his own little world. But I was beginning to notice he was getting quite confused. For instance, before Kay had returned from her trip, he had been convinced he had seen her going upstairs to her room. On another occasion, he had rung his sister in the night at 2am, thinking it was 2pm. She was not best pleased to be roused from a deep sleep. The most vivid example of his confusion was when he had told me a friend had phoned and was coming to stay but could not remember when. When I asked him to ring the friend back and confirm the date and time of arrival, so I could make a bed up and buy enough food in, the friend said they had not even phoned him recently, let alone said they would be visiting. This was concerning me, but I put it down to the alcohol. A small part of me wondered whether he was showing signs of early dementia. His grandfather had had senile dementia in his seventies, but Greg is only 59, so I hoped he was too young for that yet. As the time for his angioplasty drew nearer, I just hoped and prayed that when it came to it, the hospital would keep him in afterwards. They were aware of his drink problem, but were still prepared to go ahead with the angioplasty, as he physically needed it to be done. But I wondered what would happen if he was forced to abstain from drinking for a few hours while they did the procedure and whether he would start to get withdrawal symptoms while he was there. The whole reason for continuing the drinking was because Greg was terrified of the withdrawal symptoms. In which case, I felt sure the hospital would then step in to do something.
Meanwhile, I began increasingly to find Greg sleeping on the kitchen or lounge floor, when I came down for breakfast in the morning. He was now hardly making it as far as the bedroom at all. He would be lying there on the hard floor, fully dressed but with no covers over him at all. Sometimes his head would be on the dog's day bed in the kitchen; at other times he would have no support for his head save for something hard like the floor or a shoe. When he did move about, he stumbled or fell against furniture. He was covered in bruises.
On 4 September, the day before the angioplasty, I came down to find him lying on the lounge floor. I was getting used to discovering him like this in the mornings. I tried to wake him and get him to at least lie on the sofa, but he became angry and refused to move. So I left him there, while I went out for my monthly meeting at the Alcoholic Advisory Centre (AAC). I was away from home for about three hours in all, but when I got home, Greg was still asleep on the lounge floor, exactly where I had left him. I briefly checked on him and then made myself a sandwich for lunch, putting on the TV in the kitchen to watch the News. After a few minutes I heard Greg rousing in the lounge , making a move followed by a thud and a shout of frustration as he fell. I rushed into the lounge and found him sprawled in a heap on the floor. He ordered me to help him up. As I did so, I noticed he had torn off two very long toenails and they were hanging on by a thread with blood gushing everywhere. I helped him onto the sofa, but he was totally unaware of what he had done to his toenails, until I pointed them out to him. He asked me to pull the nails off, as it was impossible to leave them flapping about. I was not sure whether that was the best thing to do, so warned him that it would hurt, but he insisted, so shutting my eyes tightly and gingerly feeling for the nails, I yanked them off quickly, expecting him to scream the place down. He was so drunk and devoid of any feeling that he did not even murmur. I ran about gathering antiseptic as well as suitable bandages to bind his toes up. Within minutes of doing that, Greg fell instantly into a drunken sleep again on the sofa, leaving me shaking with the enormity of what had just happened.