Thursday, August 11, 2011
Could You Choose?
This is an explanation of why there was no entry yesterday.
Imagine this scenario: You are in your 70's, you have been a heavy smoker all your life, and have had an aortic aneurism repaired a decade ago. You have tried to stop smoking, but every attempt has failed and you now have severe emphysema. While being checked for a lung infection it is discovered that you have a new aortic aneurism that could kill you at any time, plus there appear to be shadows on your lungs that are quite probably cancer. Your choices are:
1. Have the aneurism fixed, and die slowly over the next three years from the emphysema and/or cancer.
2. Do nothing, and know that most people with aneurisms like this last a year at the outside, but it could also go in the next thirty seconds, but when it does there will be no pain, just some dizziness and then unconsciousness.
Could you make that choice?
I just got home yesterday from visiting one of my oldest and dearest friends. She has been Mom to me since I was 16 years old. She has been my Dungeon Master, my counselor, my mentor, and my friend. She was one of the only people who could recognize when I was in trouble with the heat whilst fighting in tournaments, and was always there with a hug, a smile, and a gentle word of admonishment when necessary. I love her dearly, and fortunately she knows it. And the choice above is one she has had to make. She has chosen to let nature take its course, and will not have surgery. She has let everyone who is important to her know about the decision, and is making her peace with the world. The good part is she lives just far enough away that it needs to be an overnight visit, so I kept putting off going up, and this lit a fire under my ass. It was a very nice visit. My wife and I went, so she got to spend some time with Mom, and they talked pregnancy and children and such. We took her to breakfast, and though we did discuss her situation frankly and dispassionately, we didn't dwell on it. She is taking it as easy as she can, and we have promised to bring the baby up there for her to meet as soon as is possible, and then we came home. The odd thing was I didn't start to feel strange until about half way home. Last night I was glum, and irritable, but not in any 'God Damn You, Universe!' kind of way. I think it's more a 'helpless and useless' kind of way. I spoke with my brother last night and told him. He hasn't seen her in years and years, but he's actually the one who introduced me to her, and then we recorded a podcast, which always cheers me up.
Our time with anyone is always limited, but it's a very different feeling when you know just how limited the time with a specific person will be. And I can only imagine what she's going through, but this has also brought people back to her who might have waited too long and not had a chance to say 'I love you' one more time, and that has to be a good thing.
I'll be back with 30 days thing tomorrow. Now go give someone you've been taking for granted a big hug and tell them you love them.