Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Right Stuff

Like drooping leaves on a willow tree his flesh seemed  to flow down to the earth by gravity. The shoulders like wiry coat hangers stuck out from under the shirt. His uncomfortable 145 pounds of mostly bones wrestled with shifting positions to find the elusive comfort.
He was accompanied by his two strapping forty something sons and a 17 year old grandson who seemed joined at the hip. They were in the office on a dare - the grandson's dare.

Mr. K once strapping 6 foot 4 inches man of 250 pounds, an executive with a construction company had been reduced to this currency of dependancy by the anomalies of his genetics. He had developed Prostate cancer some 9 months ago and persuaded by the folk-lore of the ever-present media invested his energies in therapeutic measures that promised the world but had failed to deliver. Why they were sitting in front of me was because of a "eenie, meenie, minee,moe" on the yellow pages. His grandson's fingers had done the walking. Apparently the index finger had rested on my name when the counting was done.

He eyes remained reluctant and hesitant to accept any words of a future, reeling from the loss of time and the abyss of fate staring squarely at him. His grandson's hand gently tightened on his left arm and Mr. K's body seemed to relax. The older son standing behind his chair engrossed by the patterns on the wall diverted his attention to the conversation. My suggestions were being ignored. I could see Mr. K's eyes in blank stare not registering my words. So I decided to communicate with his grandson about his future. Mr. K's eyes narrowed and focused on the conversation. His grandson's desires were known to him but apparently never expressed in words. The monologue of the 17 year old barely registered for a few minutes but a wave of understanding breached the fortified beach of resistance in Mr. K's mind.
Some 30 visits and 8 years later Mr. K came back the other day with his grandson, the latter now a graduate from the a prestigious school ready to take on the world of finance. His grandfather now equal in stature, the hunch of his spine gone, the skin filled out smoothing the folds, both beaming with desire to continue enriching their lives. They were taking a trip to Montana to go fly-fishing.

There were no miracles delivered. There was only an "aha moment." He accepted the therapy offered in good faith which he received in equal measure and the results were another small medical triumph.

You see the art of medicine is a mysterious fluid that flows slowly pulled by the gravitational gradient, over rocks and crevices, filling small pools as it gently navigates to the deeper senses of understanding. The science is constantly being written in the books.

No comments:

Post a Comment