Wednesday, March 28, 2012
This morning as I drove down the lonely expressway, I noticed a blue SUV approaching rapidly. With panic, I realized that less then a mile away was a speed trap where a police car often waited to snare unsuspecting victims at a bend in the road. I quickly pulled into the left lane to cut off the oncoming SUV. I felt a sense of camraderie and wanted to protect this complete stranger. I was hoping I could slow him down just enough to avoid the inevitable.
The SUV charged forward within a car length, and then flashed his turn signal. Anticipating the move, I cautiously veered between both lanes knowing that the bend was coming. Unfortunately the SUV pulled around me and sped away.
Moments later, a flash of lights and sirens confirmed that my attempts had been unsuccessful. I continued down the road and took the next exit to my office.
The oncologists voice seemed so far away over the telephone line.
I saw your patient today. The cat scan showed that despite chemotherapy the lung cancer has progressed.
I winced and stared down at the ground. I absentmindedly kicked at the side of the desk as I tried to concentrate on the computer screen and listen to the phone at the same time. I felt powerless. My voice, barely above a whisper, came out unsteadily.
So what can we do for him now?
The oncologist paused.
Hospice. That is, unless you can go back thirty years ago and stop him from smoking in the first place.
Sometimes I see a moving violation before it happens. Yet often I am helpless nonetheless.
I recall countless conversations about quitting.
But when you get to a certain point, inevitability sets in.
You can no longer undo whats already been done.
Posted by Jordan Grumet at 5:02 AM