Tuesday, October 25, 2005

at the hospital

So, I’m typing away on my hospital bed. My room faces the East River, Roosevelt Island, and the borough of Queens. I can see the Queensborough Bridge to my right in the near distance. I have been here since about 4:45 this afternoon and it’s amazing how fast the time has raced on. It doesn’t feel like it’s been 5 hours. During that time, I met and befriended my neighbor, Nick, who is 66 years old. He has tried twice unsuccessfully to explain to me what he has. The name of his particular type of leukemia is a mouthful, which I had never heard of it before now. Like me, he's going for a transplant. Our next door neighbor, George, who is also in his mid-60s, is undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia.

Nick did mention something which I thought marked an important difference in the frame of mind/perspective of men around the ages like himself and George and those like myself. He told me that when George and himself look at what they’re facing now, they reflect on the bounty of joys and memories that life has brought them: family, children, a successful career, etc. Nick talked to me proudly about his 6 grandchildren and it was very evident in the manner of his voice about how much they meant to him. He was fighting, he said, to see them mature and develop. They were sustaining his hope and drive. He was living and fighting for them. This just made me think. Which of the things did he mention that I have? Family? Well, yes, I have my parents and sisters, but not my own as in I being a father and having a one or two bambinos. Successful career? Not quite. I'm still in school. . . . As I look at my own mortality and the challenges that my diagnosis brings, I sometimes think about the incompleteness of my life if I were to die at 25 (which I have no plans of happening). There's so much that I desire to do and experience. How is it to be at the prime of one's youth and facing a life-threatening illness? At least Nick and George, I thought, have done this and that. They have had a family, kids and the joys of a career. But not me. I thought if they die at least they would have experienced these joys of life. If I die, I would not have.

I have no ill towards Nick or George. What I have expressed is simply the honest resentment and frustration I feel sometimes when I think about my situation as a 25 year old. I think most 20-30 year old cancer patients would have very similar feelings. Although I'm in good spirits generally, yes, there are moments when I become saddened about the stark reality of what I am facing. Though it may be easiest to talk about the pleasant moments, it's important to acknowledge and be honest about the moments when we don't feel as good or as chirpy. Both the pleasant and difficult experiences are parts of the same process and it's important that I be honest about them and myself.


Comment Blogger Austin said...

I know what you mean. It's ironic: Sometimes, I look at an older person with a type of envy that they probably reserve for a 20-year old. Life can be so strange.

9:32 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home