>> Sunday, December 27, 2015
This last week has been rough, not for Bug. Bug has been doing well. Averaging less than 2 seizures a day still, even with getting sick, this is great! He is smiling and engaged, following simple directions and he is playful. Playful in a way he was when he was very young. He has that: Oh yea? Look about him.
I will ask him to sit down and he will give me a wry little smile as if to say: Make me. If I force him to sit down so I can change him, it's a battle. If I smile back and tease him, he sits down. Tell me, is he yanking my chain or what?
So, what has been the rough part? Watching my father struggle with his...whatever it is. We know what is there: two masses where his stomach and his upper intestine meet and 'cancer' cells in his lymph nodes. They found the one mass a month ago and biopsied it. It was benign. They did NOT operate to take it out. Why? It 'seemed' to be responding to antibiotics. Seemed to, until last week that is. Then, the symptoms started up again and he went back to the Doctor. The week before Christmas. Oy. We know what that means: No action unless absolutely required. Sadly, we have seen that first hand with injuries before Christmas. It's as if the world stops and the misery continues unaided. It says: here have some pills to mask the pain, sorry if it makes you puke, take some more of these pills to help counteract the others. And sorry, neither one of them will remove the problem causing the symptoms, we will address that in a couple of weeks...have a good Christmas.
But, this time, they found another mass. He now has two. Two tumors. Having an additional intrusion in his stomach makes eating, sleeping, walking, and sitting unpleasant. Difficult. This makes life mostly miserable. Instead of staying home, the Doctor told him: Why NOT travel and spend time with your family? And he did. He toughed it out and made the airplane ride 1300 miles with one layover. He's my hero.
There have been joys, and there has been watching Dad be silently miserable for days. After spending 13 years watching our silent little boy go about his life, I have learned a thing or two about body language and a thing or two about what can be happening based on that body language. Dad's body language says: I hate life. But his mind and his mouth say: I'm ok, sorry to be a bother. As if. I re-assure him that it's not a bother, in any way, to love him and to help him. I get him drinks, ask him if he needs anything and he responds with the same thing: Don't go out of your way. I told him that it's OK for him to take it easy, to be miserable for a bit and to need help. I told him that we will be sure to take care of that causing all of his pain and misery as soon as we can, and until that can happen, he gets special treatment. I watch him hide so his pain is not our pain. His misery is not intruding on our Christmas. All I see is my Dad, being my Dad and needing to know he is a big part of our family and we are always here for him.
And so I asked him:
Would you ever consider Medical Marijuana?
What I expected to hear, I did not hear. I heard instead: Yes, I would.
I went into the bathroom and cried. I cried because he really would benefit greatly with just this ONE medicine. Medical Grade Cannabis would help with EVERYTHING he has going on. And that is FACT. NO ONE disputes that Medical Cannabis helps with nausea, would help increase his appetite, and helps shrink certain tumors. With this ONE medicine he could have a greatly improved quality of life and he could enjoy his grandchildren at Christmas. The toddlers who shriek with delight at the lights on the houses, the presents under the tree and taking pictures of Grandpa. He smiles for her, for his little granddaughter with the glowing red hair, who says: Smile! He sits on the floor and plays trains with his little grandson, while they both make train sounds...whoot whoot...chugga, chugga, chugga. I watch him pause, to gather his strength, which is lessened because he can't eat well, somedays he can't eat anything because of the pain and nausea. But even on those days he still smiles with his Grandchildren.
I have watched this play out every day since he came to stay with us the day before Christmas. He starts his day with Zofran and Hydrocodone, if he forgets the Zofran, he will throw up the Hydrocodone. Then he won't want to eat and he won't want to 'bother' anyone. All I can see is that he could have had Cannabis a month ago and been in a different place. Proven fact he would have been doing better with at least the pain and the eating even if it hadn't shrunk the tumor.
I sat in the bathroom and cried, as I have so many times the last two years. I have watched parent's bury their children, I have attended funerals of parents that have died too young, and I have watched 'broken' people be made whole. I thought: it's my proximity to this reality of life among death, that makes Cannabis such an easy treatment option for me. I am in the trenches, I am talking to people wanting to die, and speaking with them months later living life after adding Cannabis to their treatment plan. It's this caring for the people that most would rather overlook that makes it so easy for me to see that there is NO decision here. It's a simple thing: if it helps, let it help, let these people suffer no longer. Those children you are worried about, the ones that want to hide from their lives in the drugs they ingest, they will NOT be made worse, but my Dad will be able to enjoy his Grandchildren. You are telling me, and the rest of the world that MY Father, the man who fought for his country, who worked 3 jobs for his family and was a 44 year federal employee is not as important as your teenage drug user? Something is very wrong with this reasoning.
The decision to be made is not about drug use, it's about how best to ensure that we are helping those people that DESERVE help, those people who ARE contributing members of society and are dying while you cry tears for what MIGHT happen with NO proof that it WILL happen. Are you ignoring what is happening now as you sit far away and pass judgement on whose life is worth saving and who should die in pain? This, is all see. Because I have put myself in the position to see it, I open myself up to the pain of helping those that need help. And so, there is no decision for me. You make sure men and women like my Dad get the best medicine for what ails them. What I have seen, makes this an easy decision. Maybe that's the difference: what I choose to see.