Today, I am filled with the deepest sadness.
Sad as I am ‘remotely’ accompanying a cancer patient in his last hours.
I cannot do much from distance as the patient is, I guess ‘ready’ to take his last take off.
He was not a hero and his death won’t be heroic, just an ordinary man of 80+ years old dying of a cancer as died from the same illness his brother and sister.
What makes me sad is that the patient’s last wishes has been to never be called ‘Doctor’ anymore.
He studied his medicine in the South of France, Bordeaux, then immigrates to Quebec, when he specialized on Surgery. Later on, he did a specialization on ‘chirurgie reparatrice’ and had the pleasure of doing extreme surgery operations on war victims in the worst countries in the world. His last mission with ‘Medecins Sans Frontieres’ was in Haiti after the earthquake. He came back, extremely diminished and tired, he confessed to me, that was one of the worst situations he’d seen in his life.
In my view, he didn’t always take the best path in life, he erred from a country to a country never happy with what he could see. He could not fit into the profession. He could not stand his colleagues. more focused on their financial situations than caring about their patients health.
I did judged him sometimes and thought he should try to ‘comply’ with the social norms.
Sadly, he could not ‘play’ the game. He had no care about materiality. He had no care about money, house or fancy cars. He spread a lot of what he possessed around him and to his family. He was an ‘epucurien’, enjoyed good meals and good wines; convinced many of our sicknesses came from over eating and lack of physical activities. He kept fit and exercised, biking for miles or walking as long as he could before the disease would take advantage on him. Fervent skier, he initiated me on my first slopes. He loved reading and learning and I will always remember him asking me to read him aloud the Encyclopedia Universalis. I remember reading him the definition of ‘Epuciren’ in the French Encyclopedia. He loved languages and spoke quite a few. Always on a flight and traveling. He was my ‘oncle d’Amerique’ an idol of my teen ages.
Becoming older and more ‘mature’ I started to believe it was important to get ‘integrated’ to the society and did my best living a conformist life as much as I could.
I was one of the members of the family he always kept in contact wherever he traveled. He often called asking me to spread the world to everyone, saying ‘tell people I’m still alive, ‘Medecins Sans Frontieres’ send me to another hell but I survived.’
he was never what he was since the sudden lost of his wife whom he truly loved. He could not settle himself anywhere and everywhere he was unhappy.
What ever he did, wrong or right, he was a HUMAN. A human. Every single human, rich or poor, educated or not, should deserve dignity and respect. He looked after people’s health and take care of his patients with no care for money.
When he needed assistance after his cancer, he was at the point disappointed by the medical team’s attitudes, that he didn’t even want to mention he was one of them. When I talked to his doctor who, at our second sentence over the phone from London to Montreal told me he was finished, nothing could be done, and the hospital would send him to the communal burial, I felt very sad for him and even more for all of us survivals. We are a sick society if we throw away our ill patients probably because their appearance is simple.
A special delicacy to my new friends Deb and Octavia.