For Chip: He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. —Unknown

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Smell of Death

I finally went to the doctor with allergy symptoms and a slight fever.  The doctor said, "I hear you are not feeling well".  Apologetically, I explain that it is really no big deal, and I am not that sick.   The doctor asks me to sit on the examining table and tells me that I am sick with a fever and flu like symptoms.  I feel that I do not have a right to be there, but I had been miserable for two weeks.

I had just read about a friend with my childhood church that had cancer in the lung and vocal cord.  It was complicated and he ended up at Anderson.  

M.D. Anderson is a place I would like to forget.  I got a research job there after college.  I hated every minute that I was there.  I took the job of better pay and found myself consistently being late for work.   Being late for work is inexcusable, but I could not make myself get there.  I dreaded entering the building because there was a smell that was so nauseating.  My co-workers hurried off to the cafeteria for breakfast, and I tried not to be sick.  I wanted to quit, but felt the ethical thing to do was to stay for a year and then find another job.  I decided I never wanted to work in a hospital again.  There was nothing rewarding about this job.  We encountered recently healthy people who got the big "C" and then studied them until death.  We saw the relapses and knew what would happen before it happened.  It was not a happy place. I always had to be present at the painful bone marrow extraction.  I took a vial of blood to study the chromosomes during the procedure.  I finally left the job and had nightmares for years. 

Now I am at the doctor with something I feel I should not complain about while my old friend is told that he must go home and die because they can do nothing else for him.  His cancer has spread to his spine and he has gone through hell and back living this nightmare while his family watches in horror.

At the same time an old friend, Sarah  from the same church will receive hospice care as well.  She was perfectly healthy not long ago, but has pancreatic cancer.  She has two daughters, one of which is expecting a baby. Sarah is going to miss the event. These interruptions in life happen to random people, and it is heartbreaking.

I got the MEDs and improved tremendously by the next day,,,,,but then the two people I know from long ago are waiting to die and suffering in the process.  A little allergy seems a bit frivolous and selfish to worry about.  Life goes on and we have no control.