Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Passing of a Friend

I stopped by the hospice yesterday to see a man I have worked with for several years and count as friend. Ten months ago he was healthy, looking forward to a new semester of teaching and interested in life. He had come through many months of clinical depression that was treated using shock therapy and was well on the road to being productive. He started to put on large amounts of weight rapidly, like two pounds a day.

He was diagnosed with and inoperable tumor in the region of his heart involving a kidney and liver. Within weeks of diagnosis he ended up in the hospice last May where he has languished since.

When I was there yesterday it is obvious he is entering the final stages of the illness. He looks wasted to some degree, pale, weak and is disoriented. His speech is slurred and difficult to understand and his thought process is confused and not easy to follow. He is an engineer, a musician, and intellectual. He is well read, fascinated with the Civil War and those times in society. Yet here he is, his light is winking out. How helpless I feel and how frustrated it makes one to see this slow degradation of a fine person. Why him, how did nature pick him, what did he deserve to have this terrible disease visited upon him. I don't know, these are questions without answer, but the plague me.

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