Friday, June 4, 2021

Open Lung

     I walked into the Dr. Lounge this morning to stock up on bottled water and greeted one of the long time servers Tammish - told her about the funeral I was going to for my son's friend's mother at 10am. Way too young to pass. Funny you should mention that, she said, I am going to a wake tonight for a 24 year old who died from cancer. I shook my head in despair and told her I've been doing this for 12 plus years and they are getting younger and younger. We are doing it to ourselves somehow. She agreed. 

    At the funeral I didn't allow myself the space to grieve - I was there to support Jack and I knew I would be returning to a lot of cases that demanded my full attention. The space was beautiful and the service was very similar to a Catholic mass I grew up attending. The Apostles' Creed felt like rote soothing memory on my tongue. I remember being at one of my parent's friends funeral as a child and hearing On Eagle's Wings for the first time - such a beautiful send off. Jay Clark did the service and his wife Karen sang a song I'd never heard before - You Say by Daigle - she sounded like an angel. 

    Debbie's dad, who was going through chemotherapy and needed assistance to get to the altar, gave a beautiful eulogy. A retired undercover police investigator. He was born on January 27, 1947 and his daughter was born on January 27, 1974. He admitted he was a little long-winded, but I didn't mind it was only about 15 minutes. He shared about himself being diagnosed while she was fighting cancer and their same symptoms from the poisonous treatment. Brain fog. Fatigue. Body aches and pains. He'd lost two brothers to cancer, had four daughters himself, and he discussed the devastating event of a parent losing a child. 

    Jack looked very handsome - I'd encouraged him to go to his dad and stepmom's to get a suit when he asked and assured him I'd get there early and save him a space. It wasn't that crowded. Jacob has been his friend since he first arrived at Episcopal. He hasn't been the easiest kid, but his friend group has always supported him. He used to wake up in the middle of the night during sleepovers spectacularly wanting to go home and I finally gave Debbie my house door code so he could call her to get him so he didn't have to wake me. He's matured quite a bit, thanks to Debbie's unwavering support. He looks like an Adonis, as a teenager. I was proud of Jack - despite his self proclaimed fever (I gave him some clean tissues from my purse to wipe his sweaty forehead and told him to call in for work today) he was the first kid to walk up to Jacob when the family was receiving guests on the steps of the church. I watched them exchange private words and felt proud I raised a son that will inevitably continue to support his friend. The grandmother has been a huge support to Debbie, who was a single mom since I met her, and Jacob. She bear hugged Jack. 

    This morning I finished huddle and was discussing a challenging mycology case with Tommy, the mycology tech, when Jason Muesse called. We've had a lot of hard cases over the past year or so since he came here as a thoracic surgeon but he's never called. I excused myself from Tommy to answer the phone. A nurse's spouse, only 30, got sick on May 29 and is tanking fast with no diagnosis or cure. He's going to do an open lung wedge biopsy in the morning and wanted to know if it could be processed over the weekend. I'm on call, I said, of course, if it's too big we might not be able to short cycle it but I can look at it Sunday the latest. I'll keep you updated. The head of histology is coming in to help decide the best way to handle the tissue. Muesse texted this afternoon I know these are hard, and have to be sent out sometimes. I said yes, only half of us look at them, I'm one of them, and hopefully I can see something treatable right away but if not I'll send it out first thing Monday. Happy Friday. Much love, Elizabeth

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