Sunday, 12 October 2008

An Old Man

Just met an old man who is 80.  Has had tongue cancer, throat cancer and now it’s spread to his bones which means it terminal, he won’t live that much longer.   I was taking a history from him, about his illness and treatment.  I got that but I also got an entire life history, ask any medical student, you can’t talk to an 80 year without getting an entire account of that person’s life.

I asked him at one stage “So, how do you feel?”  To my surprise he started crying, he said he was sad, that he was scared and that he didn’t want to leave his family.  First of all, why was I surprised?  Of course it’s sad, of course you’d be scared!

It made me think about all those speeches we've heard, at funerals or something like that, about how we should live life to the full and how we should treat each day as if it’s our last.  We’ve all heard it so many times, I’m sure, that it's become cliché, to the point where we almost ignore it.

Do any of us really live like that, or even try to?  Do we care that much about doing so?  It seemed to me that this guy was upset because he rather enjoyed living and thought he’d had a good life, so much so that he was sad to leave it.  We should all be so lucky.

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