Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Thought It Was a Good Day as I Left At the End of the Shift, Then I Recalled This and I Thought "Well, That Totally Sucks"

"Don't try to find you no home in Washington, DC
`Cause it's a bourgeois town
Uhm, the bourgeois town..."

"The realisation that I had an incurable disease, that was likely to kill me in a few years, was a bit of a shock. How could something like that happen to me? Why should I be cut off like this? However, while I had been in hospital, I had seen a boy I vaguely knew die of leukaemia, in the bed opposite me. It had not been a pretty sight. Clearly there were people who were worse off than me. At least my condition didn't make me feel sick. Whenever I feel inclined to be sorry for myself I remember that boy."

“In my music, I’m trying to play the truth of what I am. The reason it’s difficult is because I’m changing all the time.”

"Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.

"Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn't consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure, I'm lucky. Who wouldn't consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball's greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure, I'm lucky.

"When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift - that's something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies - that's something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter - that's something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body - it's a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed - that's the finest I know.

"So I close in saying that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for."

"Symptoms, then are in reality nothing but the cry from suffering organs."

I had a little trouble with the neuro resident who ordered the electromyography test. The family members said that the patient hadn't been walking at all at home; not for months, and he was sort of a big guy. Close to three hundred pounds. He tended to pitch forward when we tried to get him up, and I wondered if it was unsafe to put him in a chair and haul him out of the hospital. I don't think the resident realized how difficult this might be.

The neurologist said we didn't have an electromyelogram machine on the premises, just in his office. The nurses over at the neuro ICU said that they did them at bedside. The resident didn't much care, and he said "just get him up in a chair, wheel him over to the office (outside the hospital but close by,) put him on the table and do it." Well alrighty then.

Different people, different answers, no easy solutions.

We did it the hard way. I'm just lucky he didn't tip out of the flimsy wheelchair and plant his face on the pavement on the way over. It took three big guys to jack him up onto the exam table for the EMG.

I walked back to the unit and did a half hour's work before the neurologist called and said they were done. When I got there he was explaining to the patient and family members that it was amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. They weren't surprised.

I noticed that the EMG device itself was smaller than an EKG machine and could have been rolled over to the hospital very easily. It was a little thing on wheels.

Whatever. (Sigh...)

The patient and family chatted away as we crossed the parking lot on our way back to the hospital. He hadn't seen much direct sunlight lately and he said he liked the brightness and heat. But when we got to his room he started crying. Loudly.

I put my hand on his shoulder and said "I wish I could do more," and he thanked me; for what, I don't know.


GingerJar said...

It looks like all the really good blues players are dying.

I still like to check out your give me perspective.

Ruth said...

thanks for caring, I think.