lurkitty: (Pogo)
I woke up this morning with a general feeling of unease, like someone was not okay. I checked my flist and email. All quiet. I went off to satsang.

I returned to find an email that said my friend who has brain cancer has been transferred to a care facility. Hospice has been called. There is a note to call before going to see her. The last time I spoke to her, she said she had gone to the doctor in hopes of getting approval to get her drivers license back. That wasn't on the doc's agenda at all. The doc wanted to discuss going off the chemo that is not working and just doing palliative care. She had told me herself 3 months ago that she had no more than 6 months left. But the cancer is in her brain. She doesn't know what she has said from one week to the next. She cannot drive because she can't remember what she is doing from one moment to the next. The last time she drove, she stopped in the middle of the block and sat there, wondering what she was doing. I help drive her where she needs to go.

My friend Mary's story is a sad one. She has just turned 65. She was a dutiful, but rather mousey wife who was married for 25 years to a man who took her for granted. She was a stereotypical housewife and raised a child and kept the home. She never went to school herself, never held a job outside the home. When he found another woman whom he thought suited him better, he didn't think she should be entitled to the fruits of his labor.

She ended up keeping the house, but he held up support payments until the court ordered him to pay. During that time, she had symptoms she suspected were colon cancer, but she knew if she went to the doctor without health insurance, by the time she got insurance it would be a pre-exisiting condition and they would not cover it. So she waited. We counseled her to go - but she waited.

When she finally got insurance and saw a doctor, it was too late. The cancer had metastasized. They did do surgeries and chemotherapy regimens that may have given her more time. But the whole experience transformed her from mousey housewife into a strong woman, willing to fight for herself. I am very proud of what she has accomplished in her last year on earth.

I don't know if I am more sad and angry at the ex-husband (who died before her of a heart attack), or at the system that kept her from going to a doctor over a year earlier. Would her treatment have been cheaper and more effective had she been able to see a doctor at the first symptom? Or, better yet, if she had preventative screening at a fraction of the cost as part of basic health care?

Long lines of thunderheads have been marching across the sky all day. My friend's time on earth marches along with them, toward the horizon, making me uneasy. Mary did well for herself. But did we do well by her?
lurkitty: (cute anime)
Rev. Falwell was a man who fought a life-long battle for something he believed in, against a vehement opposition.

Would that we all had such courage. May he learn in death that which he did not in life.

Godspeed, Jerry Falwell.
lurkitty: (Awaken)
So it goes.

Another great writer has passed from our midst. Go out and read.

"When I think about my own death, I don't console myself with the idea that my descendants and my books and all that will live on. Anybody with any sense knows that the whole solar system will go up like a celluloid collar by-and-by. I honestly believe, though, that we are wrong to think that moments go away, never to be seen again. This moment and every moment lasts forever."

— "Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons," 1974.

Goodbye, Kilgore Trout.

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lurkitty

August 2011

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