Thursday, December 4, 2008

Someone always has it worse than you do . . .

I recently had a middle aged patient who a few years ago was diagnosed with Kidney cancer. He had the kidney removed that had the cancer and he was followed up for about a year, but then stopped follow-ups due to inability to afford his health insurance. This patient has no parents alive, no siblings, no children, no spouse, no cousins and no close friends. He's not a freak or anything, just a quiet guy. This guys apartment caught on fire and burned down about a year ago due to a neighbor leaving something on in his apartment. He lost everything. Then, about 3 months ago, after working full time for a company for over 20 years, he was laid off due to downsizing. He still gets a check from them, but apparently not much. This guy came in feeling week so he was admitted and was under my care. We sadly had to find that this poor relatively young man had small cancers throughout his liver and lungs and spinal cord. He had back surgery to have the entire middle of his back bones removed so that the cancer would have room to grow rather than pushing on his spinal cord making him paralyzed in the near future.
Life may be extremely busy at times, but I had to spend some with with this guy and let him vent some tears. He has NO ONE to vent to or to help hold his hand as he not only is very sick with advanced metastatic cancer (his kidney cancer that apparently was elsewhere but they just never knew it, they were too small back at this kidney surgery time) and just had extensive back surgery, but he also now has been laid off and limited possessions since the fire. It became so apparent how much we take those close to us for granted at times. Those times I can just come home and vent about frustrations can be so helpful, or as Lindsay babied me during the holidays when I was down for the count for a couple days was a life send. This guy has no such person and I am just even so much more thankful for my incredible wife and for my great family and friends. I strongly encouraged this guy to make sure his few friends understand how sick he really is. I hope he does ok.

1 comment:

KC said...

James-

What's up man? Nice posts, I have to admit I can relate to alot of this being in the Naval Hospital on a Marine Corps Base! You see some interesting stuff. Hope you're doing well, email sometime. We are on the east coast as well, but will soon be going back west.
Take care. kcandjessica@msn.com