Saturday, June 30, 2012


How to extract blood from a stone? A metaphor you say? After all the inanimate does not blend well with the flow of life. Well maybe, but there is a lot of truth in this, as we shall see.

Preface that with the word “how” and the story begins.

I remember him as a jovial sort of a person, quick with words, effusive with complements, tall and thin, leonine in looks with a short crop of dark hair that forced a turn of the head. His life’s work was determining problems related to the heart issues. He was a soft-spoken cardiologist, gentle in his demeanor and positive in his outlook. He had a smell of spring about him. Now who would not love that kind of a person? So everyone did. 

One day, seated next to his friend of twenty some years, he looked over at the changing color of his colleague who was suffering a heart attack and life changed for him. His friend passed away in spite of all the resuscitative measures that could be employed. The world changed.

His nature remained but how he saw the world refracted differently. Every person he encountered as his patient was a disaster waiting to happen. His sleep became interrupted, his clothing a little disheveled, his gorgeous neck ties lost their color and his eyes sank deeper into their sockets. His worries climbed, his comforts declined. He became a one-man machine trying to solve the problem for all humanity that intersected his path. His professional acumen and his deliberate thought remained unfettered in the mosaic of life only the zeal and desire heightened to another level. The summer of his life was in full bloom.

One day while discussing a case with a colleague, his heart started to ache, shooting bullets of pain up his neck, he collapsed in a heap. He was fortunate to be in the hospital and with normal measures of protection he climbed out of the menagerie of “lets check this and do that.” Two weeks later he was back at it trying to save lives. He would routinely drive his patients personally from his office directly to the hospital, if he thought the acuity of the problem rose to the level of emergent. He spent more hours then allotted in a day to his craft. His hair turned grey and then a shock of white all in the matter of a few months. Yet he plodded. He persevered in his desire to heal humanity.

And then the Autumn rains came. He felt a pain on one side and within an hour of its intensity a diagnosis arrived via the CT scan; he had cancer of the kidney. His friends took care of that. He was up again, leaner in his physique but more determined in his desires albeit the pace of his gait a bit slower. Something egged him to fight for others. A noble cause for sure.

Days merged into nights and every moment started to bump into one another. The hospital became his home and his home a little more alienated. Time fractured into shards of glass, splintering over a vast desert of isolation. And surely as the night follows the day, a subpoena arrived at his doorstep, someone claiming something about nothing. The devastation was complete. The last painful pound of flesh had been extracted. The cold winter’s breeze blew in through the shutters. And yet they squeezed and squeezed, but the warmth had turned cold. There was no more. 

What now?

             The Seasons of a Beautiful Life...

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