Sunday, December 7, 2008

Cancer man

For a while there, the American Cancer Society had me driving for them. I'm still registered as a driver. They just haven't needed me. Nobody calls. I guess there are plenty of drivers, just not enough people out there who know about the program.

One of my patients was a guy named Bob. Bob was in his 80s. He was an engineer, worked at one of the chemical companies and is one of the few met who were involved with World War II. Bob had an uncomfortable to talk about kind of cancer. I learned all kinds of things about my penis, my prostate, and why I should never stop having sex of some kind. According to Bob and his doctor, having lots of orgasms prevents the oh-so-ugly loss of your prostate.

Use it or lose it, he said, which sounded pretty creepy coming from a guy in his 80s.

He, evidently, had followed his own advice. All things considered, he was doing pretty well. He was in his 80s, and his cancer wasn't unbeatable. At least, nothing was going to be removed. Nope. There was just some radiation involved, followed by a long bout of diarrhea.

No matter how often I've tried to block it out. I still think about what the old guy told me about the plumbing of old people. I have come to the conclusion that one way or another, the future is going to suck. It is unavoidable.

I kept in touch loosely with the man for a little while. We had a couple of lunches together. We talked on the phone a couple of times. It was really a kind of friendship that was struggling to light. The last time I heard from him was in June. He was going to go visit his grand kids. He might be gone for a couple of weeks. I was going to call him when he got back, but then I didn't. Every week, I remembered him, but never found time to give the old guy a call.

He died last week. I spotted his name and picture in the obits the other day. Like me, he's donated his body. I didn't know that. We didn't talk about it. Mostly, we bitched about how lousy the service was at Los Agaves, talked about cancer, and tried to find common ground about music. We never quite made it, but he listened to me. I listened to him. We were nearly friends. I'll miss the guy.

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