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A Cancer Story
(read in the voice of Jean Shephard, narrator of the 1983 film, 'A Christmas Story')
The old man was withered and wasted. On the night table sat a cornucopia of pills, potions, elixirs and balms. Muscle relaxants, emetics, barbituates, stool softeners, stool hardeners (chuckle).
He lay there and pondered the irony -- all his life he had wanted an adjustable bed, and this is how he finally got his wish: in the terminal ward at Western Lutheran Hospital's oncology unit (chuckle). A massive tangle of tubes and wires ran from his body to a bank of supercomputers. It measured his heart rate, his brain waves, the number of times per second he blinked, even how the volume of his vomit. It was all my mother and I could do to keep from laughing at his predicament (chuckle).
The nurse arrived before lunch with his chemotherapy injections. Oh, how he loathed those injections! He'd grumble for days about them, how they made him so nauseous he wanted to die (chuckle). Well, the nurse wasn't having any of that. She rolled the old man over, yanked down his drawers, and jabbed a needle the size of the Eiffel tower right up his wazoo!
Well, he never was a spiritual man, but the old man found religion in that ward room. He prayed to all the gods that ever were -- Jesus, Yahweh, Buddha, the Dalai Llama! But it was no good, he lost more weight than my mother ever did on that crazy grapefruit diet (chuckle), and he died in pain.
Date Written: January 17, 2004
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