Thursday, April 30, 2009

Oink Off

Here's what I think about this (milquetoast) swine flu business:

At this writing, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the swine flu has killed one American and sickened 109. (By the time you read this, the numbers might have increased or decreased).

Guess what? Figures from the American Cancer Society say that in 2008, about 1,437,180 U.S. citizens were expected to get cancer; and more than half a million of those (565,650) were expected to die.

That's 1,500 people a day.

"Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the U.S., exceeded only by heart disease. In the US, cancer accounts for 1 of every 4 deaths." (ACS)

And some other insights? The older you get, the more likely it is that you could develop cancer.

"Anyone can develop cancer. Since the risk of being diagnosed with cancer increases as individuals age, most cases occur in adults who are middle-aged or older. About 77% of all cancers are diagnosed in persons 55 and older."

And if you don't have insurance (like 46 million Americans and that figure is rising steadily because of this crappy economy), you will likely die.

The National Institutes of Health estimate overall costs of cancer in 2007 at $219.2 billion. (How many bail outs is this, I wonder.)

Come on people. Why don't we start harping on the real issues instead of this swine flu silliness?

To the media who are taking us for a ride: Oink Off!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My resurrection

I just got a Google calendar reminder that my surgery for colon cancer was starting on 4-12-2007. Two years ago today, I had seven inches of my large intestine (or my descending colon; are those the same?) cut out. I didn't know what I was in for, really, at that time. I just knew my doctor said it had to be done.

I was due at the hospital around five or six that morning. When I went to the basement to let the dogs out, Louie had pooped all over the floor. Not a good solid poop either. Was this foreshadowing? Bob and I spent valuable time mopping the basement floor. Not a good start.

Surgery happened, and after, the nurses stuck a needle in my spine for the epidural that would dispense pain relief. For a couple of days, any time I was in pain, I just pushed a button and it went away. But eventually they took that needle away. I thought I had a high pain threshold, so I didn't ask for drugs when I felt a little pain. But then it got worse. When the doctors made their rounds to see me one morning (I say doctors because I was in a teaching hospital), I was wailing.

Man, it hurt. Tears still spring to my eyes when I think about it. I don’t really even remember where the pain was. I just remember it was most definitely there. The nurses gave me something. Morphine? And told me not to wait so long next time. After a few seconds, I felt better.

One day, I got out of the hospital bed and walked. The following day, I knew I needed a shower. Then, I pooped, the function necessary for my release. Finally I went home.

Every Easter from now until my death, I will remember what it feels like to be resurrected.