Monday, October 15, 2007

Sometimes I'm Jealous of Artists and the Upper Class

Buisness man in your Italian 3 piece. You laugh at a young man doing women's work. You have built your reputation on deals, plans, and stocks. Your gray hair is re-dyed black. People see you and respect you or hate you because the cloth on your body cost you what we pay to keep our homes each month. Your vehicle is new and your liquor cabinet is full. But, I have seen you. I have seen you when the cancer might be back. I have seen that even though you run marathons and build empires, that glioblastoma multiforme doesn't care about contracts or mortgages. A clot is not dissolved by stock options. I have seen your three piece traded in for a hospital gown. I have seen your work ethic and pride dissolve into humble kindness and frustrated anger. I was there to bring you into the world that you would buy. I gave you the vaccines that enabled you to live through childhood and make it into the Ivy league. I was in the ER when you had that car wreck and at the psychiatrist's clinic when it all got too heavy. Now, when you are fighting for your every breath, I will try to make you as comfortable as possible and honor your wishes, and tell you that your life was lived to the fullest.


Artist in your militant jacket, your convictions lined in metal discs on your sleeve. You carry a guitar and paints. You confront, you explore, and you examine. You write and expound about the mysteries that surround you. You see the sheep in polo shirts, wal-mart slacks, and white shoes and think that perhaps they don't see the same world that you do. You subject practical concerns to metaphysical ones. Your long hair, strange face, and fringe politics make you an uncomfortable figure for many. You prefer it that way. You live to confront expectations. You also age. The war that you lived to end in college, will come to an end. The president you despise will grow old and die. Your music will either fade out completely or be re engineered into a popular blasphemy of its former self. You may continue on with your convictions into old age, or the wearing of gravity and necessity may mold you into a more convenient form. I have seen it go either way. I have seen your adolescence in with intractable headaches, seizures, or some other young brain problem. You make a Michael Jackson glove out of the mesh we use to cover your IV site by cutting a thumb hole, we do that all the time, but I compliment your ingenuity anyway. I have seen you old and disabled. Your paintings hang on your wall. Every night you tell me that you were a great artist and a teacher. You tell me about Paris. I have actually seen your painting in someone's home. I have seen you come in to us with no intentions of leaving. You do not wish to be resuscitated. You want peace, quiet, and solitude. You didn't cry when you had your shots as a child, either. I will bring your morphine on schedule and try not to wake you.


Christian, in plain clothes, happy with your family, but working hard. You seem poor and somewhat ineloquent. You put all of your eggs in one basket. Sometimes you carry the knowledge of your faith like the sky hold is blueness. Sometimes you carry your faith like a heavy, splintery, cross. Sometimes you try to hide your faith in the bushes while you engage in some indiscretion. You go to your Church to meet your friends, you go to your knees to meet your God. You have many facets. You are supposed to support guns, wars, and the free market, but you're not sure why. You are pulled toward pluralism, but you hold on to the Scriptures as your anchor. You call the businessman greedy and the artist immoral, although you know that you are both of these. Others see your dim exterior, but cannot guess what lies inside you. I have seen you also. You lie in bed quietly. Your Bible is on your bedside table. I don't think I've actually seen you reading it, but it is there. You take your meds and trust your doctors. Sometimes you blame things on God that are not his fault. Your locus of control fluctuates from internal to external and back again. If you are in a coma, your family invariably leaves Christian pop music on 24/7, which I suspect may annoy you, but they think that 88.3 heals. Your family cries much harder than you do. They want treatment options, home health care, and second opinions. You don't mind. Your faith grows stronger as you breathing becomes more difficult. Sometimes you have visions of celestial beings.


I have seen myself in all of these. I live in pretense and die in pain. I cling to the present, long for the past, and am anxious about the future. Sometimes it seems like riding a bike down a dangerously steep hill, you know you will wreck soon, but some of us just make it longer than others. The important questions are, what's at the bottom of the hill, and how can we enjoy the ride?

4 comments:

Elizabeth said...

*applause*

Very well done.

murse53 said...

thanks

Matt said...

I especially liked the part about 88.3...

murse53 said...

yeah, no joke. i have had several patients' families who leave their poor incapacitated loved one's TV permanently on 88.3 (Parkview has some TV channels that play a radio station). or they leave a Christian CD on repeat all night long. i mean, i don't mind doing it, but it probably bothers the patient on whatever level of consciousness they are living on.