I’m not sure what forum is most appropriate for this question, but after much consideration I decided to put it here.
First of all, I need to make a disclaimer: I am not trying to imply that my friend is incompetent, stupid, or incapable of making decisions. He is a full-fledged adult who gets my utmost respect. However in this situation I am very concerned about the decisions he is making and the way he is talking about them.
Some background: About a week ago, my friend got a rather deep cut on the elbow while working on a construction job. It probably could’ve used stitches, but he is the macho type that decided, “Nah.” All well and good, and I guess it was healing nicely until recently. When I saw him today, his entire elbow joint (next to the cut) was swelled up to the size of a golf ball. It’s red and hot to the touch. I commented on it, and he said it was painful when touched, and that it’s been this way for a couple of days now.
This friend of mine is self-employed and has no health insurance. He goes to the doctor for emergencies, and that’s it. I suggested to him that this situation may be an emergency. He disagreed. (I’m not a doctor so I’m not sure.) When I pressed and said it may be a life-threatening thing going on, he said, “I don’t care if I die anyway, I’m pretty sick of living.” I’m pretty sure he’s serious. Business has been very bad lately and he’s had a run of bad luck this year. I truly think he may be indirectly trying to commit suicide. I even offered to pay for the doctor visit and he said no. At that point, I laid off.
I know I can’t force another adult to get help, but this is a true friend and I’m afraid he’s depressed and/or not making good decisions at the moment. Short of being supportive, is there anything I can do? I keep thinking and thinking for a way to handle this as a good, caring friend and I can’t come up with anything productive.
Anybody have any suggestions for me? Any alternative remedies to offer, or other strategies? The infection may get better on its own, but I’ve seen these things get out of control before and it’s not a good thing. Part of me feels like just letting it go, not because I don’t care, but because he’s grown and it’s not my job to worry. But I still do care and worry. Thanks in advance for your suggestions.