Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I saw a man with his wife today. In the past month he has developed symptoms, undergone testing, and been told he has at least one, or maybe two cancers that have metastasized to other organs in his body. He is very uncomfortable. He experiences pain regularly, and it has gotten worse. He is frustrated because the specific cancer(s) he has are not identified yet. We will determine the type, and he will have a clear diagnosis with treatment recommendations soon. It's serious. On top of this, he has no insurance, and is unable to work because of his illness. His wife does not have a job and is busy trying to take care of him. They are both very stressed by their circumstances, and all that it means. We discover he has no insurance and reassure him that we will get our social worker and financial assistance staff to meet with him. We will treat him. We will help. His wife's lip quivers, and a tear quietly rolls down her cheek. He is trying to be brave, but breaks down and weeps finally. Now they both cry. His wife says it is because he is not used to receiving help, and now he clearly needs help. It is a blow to him. He is grateful, but it is so hard to accept. He is overwhelmed by everything.
It is so important that we show compassion to others. We have no idea what their lives are like, what pressures, what disappointments, what challenges and heartaches they are experiencing. We all need help. We all need each other.