Monday, June 11, 2007

The Wake

If you've been reading my posts, by now you know I use this forum to rant, educate, entertain, or simply amuse myself... actually, you probably suspect far more the latter.

Today's blog is a story, maybe. I don't know how it's going to come out. But I just got back from a wake, and I need to type my emotions out of my system. So if you came for funny, come back next Monday.

The wake was for the father of one of my youngest critter's friends. My daughter and the friend spent a lot of time together through grade school, but starting in junior high, they started drifting towards other groups so they didn't see as much of each other.

But in the younger days, they were buds. Sleepovers, painting their nails together, spending hours on the trampoline doing the flips that I absolutely forbid them to do. And we got to know their parents a bit, mostly fifteen minute gabfests when dropping off or picking up one of the kids for a movie or sleepover.

As the kids drifted apart, we saw less of each other, but occasionally ran into each other. So it was with shock and sadness when we learned that the father contracted ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig disease, a quick killer with no known cure.

Over the succeeding months, the father quickly lost nerve and muscle control and was soon in a wheelchair. He faded quickly and neighbors rallied and pitched in to buy an elevator for their house and a cart that he could get around in. Through it all, he appeared upbeat, positive, and no outward sign that he had lost his very active lifestyle.

The doctors originally gave him less than two years to live, and the daughter bore this burden at school, but was more obviously upset as the days went by. Then one day, someone on their ALS support group asked him, "did your doctor ever test you for Lyme Disease?" Lyme disease is passed along by ticks, and if caught early is completely treatable. But its symptoms mirror ALS very closely.

Excited, they got him tested and to their mixed delight, he did in fact have Lyme Disease. Unfortunately, the damage already inflicted by the mis-diagnosis was too severe and non reversible.

Still though, it was a blow to the stomach when he died. So at his wake today, hugging his wife and daughter, shaking his son's hand, more than anything I felt anger. Anger that he was taken away from his family. Anger that the medical profession failed them so miserably. How did they miss this? I don't know. It just didn't seem right to ask the widow this. I'm sure that she is going through all of this and vastly more.

Are they suing the doctors? I sure hope so. I think there are way too many suits in the world, way too many attorneys, but this is what the law is for. No amount of money will give return to them a father or a husband.

I can't talk about it any more... and I'm not up to editing this. I hope it reads well.

See you next week.

1 comment:

Deb Larson said...

I hear you.
My brother-in-law had a similar fate with another mis-diagnosis. He's been gone nine years now. The autopsy taken was in-conclusive ... which told us no one was ratting out another doctor. My nephew and niece are still struggling with their anger and probably always will.