The things You Learn...

have you ever run into
that saying about how
"nothing you ever learn is wasted"?

i certainly have, and frankly

it's always seemed a little
on the Pollyanna side to me.

...maybe because there are so many things
i've had to learn - and still have to learn -
that seem to take maybe a dozen reruns
before i (a) notice and (b) learn anything,
in the sense of changing my behaviour.

it's on my mind tonight, because i'm
spending a lot of time with my brother
these days, who has cancer.

it's intense.

good days, bad days.
days with hope, hopeless days.
we're just coming off a three day run-
crazy hope, then hopeless,
and hopeless again... worse.

so tonight, after a hopeless day
and then an even more hopeless day,
where he has been shivering
and shitting and sleepless,
he turns to me and says
"this feels a lot like quitting opiates"

...which is not something
he learned in a book.

see, he's been hooked up to a device
that is supposed to give him
a bolus (dose) of clinical pain reliever
from time to time for 3 months now...

...long enough, know what i mean?

...so tonight, when he said what he said,
we got the nurse to come in
and take a look...

...low and behold, the device
was not delivering as advertised.
she fixes it.

an hour later, i'm not sitting with a ghost.
i'm sitting with my brother.

three days ago,
my mom and i thought we were helping
get him ready for chemo and stem cells.

two bad days later,
we thought we were dealing with someone
we loved who was going die.

slowly. painfully.

if he hadn't known what cold turkey
felt like, we all would have assumed
it was "that time".

so would his doctor.

he would have been designated "palliative"
and that would have been that.

instead, tomorrow is going
to be a hopeful day.

- 30 -


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