Vigil

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Mostly I try to make these posts humorous in some way, even when I’m angry – humor is how I deal with the world.

There’s nothing funny about cancer, though.

A close friend has been at the ER all morning since 6.  Her husband has stomach cancer, and between the pain, and the vomiting, he’s very close to wanting to give up.

The man’s become a stick-figure. He was always thin, but now he’s down to 120 lbs – a little over half my weight, and he’s an inch taller than me. Last I heard, his blood pressure was 103/55 and still dropping, with a high pulse … for those of you who don’t know, that’s a pretty freaking terrible blood pressure:  the standard for which is 120/80.  If he were to stand up with his pressure that low, he’d faint dead away …

‘Dead’ is a word I should probably avoid, at this juncture.

The doctors are certainly avoiding it – indeed, they’re avoiding saying much of anything. My friend believes the cancer has metastasized, and, given the symptoms, I think her fear is well founded … the Pancreas, Liver, and Brain are the likely places for it to go – and it may have gone to all of them …

What do you pray for, at such a time? A quick death? Recovery?

The only way he’ll recover is by racking up a massive set of medical bills – which my friend won’t be able to pay. Worse, if he dies, quickly or slowly, he’ll still rack up a massive bill, after which she’ll have to pay funeral costs – and she won’t be able to pay those either …

I hate to reduce the loss of a man’s life to expenses, but, after the emotional pain of the loss, the financial burden will be my friend’s next problem.

That’s basically the reality of Modern Medicine, and America:  we can cure or at least treat, nearly everything – for a cost! And most people can’t afford the cost. What do you do? Let your loved ones die in order to save money? Or utterly cripple your finances, dooming yourself to unending poverty, to extend the life of someone who’s likely – indeed, certain – to die painfully soon in any case?

The doctors – without any explanation of what’s going on – just tried to send my friend’s husband home.  He can’t stand. He’s in severe pain. He’s vomiting, and may well be bleeding internally (one possible explanation for the still-dropping blood pressure) …

But they want to send him home.

“Hmmm, wow … bad set of symptoms you got there … you should go die at home.”

Fuck.

My friend Shirley would appreciate any prayers that can be offered.

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~ by dourscot on March 21, 2013.

One Response to “Vigil”

  1. Thanks for being my rock.

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