We're week one "After Prince", and because Mr. Nelson was so reclusive and secretive, there's been rumors and innuendo swirling around for every day this week.
It seems fairly certain at this point that the emergency landing a week before this all happened was prompted by an opioid overdose - it's reported that Prince was rushed to the hospital and recovered with Narcan, before being released in short order and sent on his way (probably due to his celebrity status.)
A week later, it seems like it happened again - only this time, because he lived alone...the poor guy had nobody to intervene and by the time anybody discovered him, it was far too late.
But how do things like this happen? Some may dismiss it as another "Rock and Roll casualty", but by all accounts, despite the public persona, privately Prince was a pious teetotaler.
Thirty years of performing, dancing, jumping off things (in high-heeled boots) and the associated fast life of a professional musician surely took its toll. It was widely reported that Prince needed a hip replacement, and had taken to walking with a cane in recent years - not for any fashion sense, but because he actually needed to.
But we live in the modern United States - and Prince could certainly afford any medical procedure he wanted to have. As it turns out, Mr. Nelson belonged to the Jehovah's Witness sect - among the many things they oppose in modern society is blood transfusions.
Jehovah's Witnesses refuse blood transfusions, which they consider a violation of God's law based on their interpretation of Acts 15:28, 29 and other scriptures. Since 1961 the willing acceptance of a blood transfusion by an unrepentant member has been grounds for expulsion from the religion. Members are directed to refuse blood transfusions, even in "a life-or-death situation". Jehovah's Witnesses accept non-blood alternatives and other medical procedures in lieu of blood transfusions, and their literature provides information about non-blood medical procedures.
Though Jehovah's Witnesses do not accept blood transfusions of whole blood, they may accept some blood plasma fractions at their own discretion. The Watch Tower Society provides pre-formatted durable power of attorney documents prohibiting major blood components, in which members can specify which allowable fractions and treatments they will personally accept. Jehovah's Witnesses have established Hospital Liaison Committees as a cooperative arrangement between individual Jehovah's Witnesses and medical professionals and hospitals.
I won't fault anyone for the faith choices...but I must admit a certain disconnect with sects that reject medicine. It almost seems quaint, praying for miracles and recovery when a simple phone call and professional visit can fix most things. Of course, I have a specific lens to view this through - all the praying in the world would have still resulted in my death at age 46 from a ruptured appendix, but I digress. Besides - sometimes it does work, and the mystery of faith only grows stronger.
Mr. Nelson apparently relied on increasingly powerful drugs as he sought relief from his physical pain. I'm sure nobody thought Prince was an addict - but I've seen it myself. It's one pill...then two, then a handful, then every few hours, and it just goes on and on as the body builds up a tolerance to it.
In the end...it seems that Prince Rogers Nelson is going to end up as just another statistic in the national opioid crisis. Perhaps his passing will have some meaning if it helps remove a little of the stigma
- not everyone using is a drug addict. No matter who and what we are, or what we do with our lives..we all exist in a fragile human body, and sometimes it just breaks down.