Tag Archives: mortality

Men–CNN Will Scare Your Pants Off

Today’s health headline– Five Questions to Ask Before Having Penis Surgery.

An unfortunate man in Kentucky not only lost a part of himself, but also a lawsuit against the surgeon who did the cut. It sounds like the doctor had evidence that the man did really have cancer and that he followed the standard of care.

The CNN article kind of drivels about how women have all kinds of pink ribbon support, and men are on their own. Not too long ago, it was routine for a woman with a breast lump to go under anesthesia not knowing whether she would wake up with her breast amputated, or just an incision. Better treatment is the good news, high incidence of breast cancer is the bad news. I guess, all things being equal, it’s better not to have a rare disease, but the downside is that breast cancer is common and there are few women of any age who never worry about it.

It may be time for a men’s advocacy organization for better treatment of male problems. I’ve done nursing care for guys whose ‘routine’ surgery became a debilitating, miserable, long-term ordeal. CNN’s article contains a lot of good advice and is a good place to start if you want to know more about men’s health.

Waiting

No surprise that we’re here waiting. This is life when you get to the age when you count your blessings and count the days. The worst thing we could do to our parents would to pre-decease them, so the best requires us to say goodbye.

There’s a Buddhist story. A peasant man saves up until he can afford to pay a monk to write him a blessing to adorn the family altar. He watches the monk cover the scroll with flowing calligraphy, and asks him respectfully what the blessing says.

‘Grandfather dies, father dies, son dies.’ says the monk.

The peasant is outraged. ‘I gave you everything I had to buy a blessing, and you have written me a curse!’ he cried.

‘On the contrary’, said the monk. ‘If the father died before the grandfather, or the son before the father, this would cause terrible suffering to the family. If each dies in his time, this is the way of the universe and everything is as it should be.’

The peasant was satisfied that he had truly been blessed.

Of course, the monk did not write that the family would enjoy longevity, or be spared any other of the thousand fates that could befall them, because the monk had no power or knowledge of that. The best we can hope for in this world is that we have our time, and don’t leave our parents bereaved.

My Dad is in the hospital now, we hope he will come home soon. Meanwhile we are taking turns watching over him and talking to the nurses and doctors. He’s at Kent County, they’ve been wonderful and we’re all in agreement that he should be discharged as soon as it’s safe. Still, there have been failures of communication between the ER and the unit, the VA and Kent. We’ve ironed that out and have been his voice and protection from falls that can happen in an instant no matter how good the staff. The staff has been good about letting us camp out here and help with the care– I haven’t had a huffy or officious word spoken to me in three days.

If we are blessed, we are here to help our parents in their time, and that is the best we can hope for in this world.

Then and Now

I spent a melancholy evening watching ‘Iris’, a movie about the last years of the writer, Iris Murdoch, as she slowly perished of Alzheimer’s disease.

The last time I got all weepy about the brevity of life I was watching, ‘Longtime Companion’, a movie about the epidemic that was taking a bite out of my generation. Life gets you coming and going.

There’s been some good news lately in the fight against HIV, and it’s not just about pills. Today’s NYT says that a miracle cure may be on the horizon that will save untold suffering in laboratory mice prone to Alzheimer’s. Maybe it will eventually help people, or we can train the mice to remind us where we left our glasses.

Keep cool, friends.

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