His liver and kidney failure and eventual brain hemorrhage was due to a long-standing relationship with alcohol and Tylenol, a deadly combination that took the life of his girlfriend almost exactly one year before his death.
I did not know about my friend's sickness. I was not even aware that he drank. When I texted him last week to come out, he texted back that he "couldn't make it" and that he'd "check it out on YouTube later" (he was in the hospital). Particularly because of his girlfriend's death the year before, I assumed he knew better.
I assumed wrong.
My friend's death was devastating, shocking, and deeply saddening. He was a light in this world and my heart is emptier without him. I wish that, at the very least, I had been able to say goodbye.
What I would like you all to take from this is:
1) You can't escape from your problems through any substance. If you're turning to alcohol, drugs, or anything else to ease your pain, you're going to the wrong place. Take a very good look at your habits. Please be honest with yourself and with the people who love you, and get the help you need. Hiding the problem only makes things worse and hurts the ones you love as well.
2) Please understand that the actions you take on your own life don't affect just you-- they affect everyone whose lives you touch. You are not alone. Reach out, and you'll find many people willing to help pull you up.
3) Tylenol (and other painkillers) do not cure pain. They are a temporary panacea that do not touch the root of the problem, and that cause significant damage to the body. If you read the drug interaction blurb on acetaminophen (Tylenol's active ingredient), it says the following:
DRUG INTERACTIONS: Acetaminophen is metabolized (eliminated by conversion to other chemicals) by the liver. Therefore drugs that increase the action of liver enzymes that metabolize acetaminophen [for example, carbamazepine (Tegretol), isoniazid (INH, Nydrazid, Laniazid), rifampin (Rifamate, Rifadin, Rimactane)] reduce the levels of acetaminophen and may decrease the action of acetaminophen. Doses of acetaminophen greater than the recommended doses are toxic to the liver and may result in severe liver damage. The potential for acetaminophen to harm the liver is increased when it is combined with alcohol or drugs that also harm the liver.
Side effects of Acetaminophen are:
SIDE EFFECTS: When used appropriately, side effects with acetaminophen are rare. The most serious side effect is liver damage due to large doses, chronic use or concomitant use with alcohol or other drugs that also damage the liver. Chronic alcohol use may also increase the risk of stomach bleeding.
If you have pain, there are many, many alternatives to addressing it (and curing it instead of covering it up). I never recommend taking any kind of pain medication unless it is absolutely necessary and there are no better alternatives. I will be posting soon on alternative pain relief methods for those of you who are interested, but they include mental techniques, tapping, acupuncture, massage therapy, cognitive therapy, and more.
I've lost my friend forever, but I hope that I can keep at least one person from attaining the same fate. Please take care of your body. It's the only one you've got.
RIP, Mikey. You are loved.