“You have to go to the hospital immediately, Mr. Hague. Even if you say , ‘no,’ we’ll take that as a yes.”
The problem was Betsy. I took her with me to the doctor and she spilled the beans.
There were words about me not being able to get out of bed and then not being about to walk once I did. There may have also been a comment about me being more surly than usual.
A few minutes later, I was back in the hospital (full of amazingly kind nurses).:
The cancer and the anemia are doing a number on me, folks.
Yes, it is getting more difficult for me to walk, as the pain in my hips can be excruciating.
But when the anemia gets really bad, I’m not interested in walking. All I want to do is lie in the bed (and not go through the rigmarole of a transfusion).
So we are on to a new crazy treatment from my doctor who loves me and wants to keep me alive..
Remember when I was getting super-dosed with testosterone and Betsy had locked herself in the closet?
Now we are moving in, shall we say, a different direction:
– Estrogen –
I’ll wait while your head stops spinning.
Side effects of estrogen in males are pretty basic:
- blood clots
- heart attacks
Little things, compared to this one:
You know how testosterone in guys causes us to be
fixated fascinated interested in breasts?
When a man starts taking estrogen this issue goes away.
In its place comes the need for a new wardrobe.
Yes, instead of looking at your breasts, we now simply grow our own.
I got off the damn Lupron to at least die a man.
Now I am on estrogen, listening to my wife blow our driveway with our gasoline powered backpack blower, wondering what size bra I will ultimately end up needing.
Me? I’m hoping for the heart attack to take me out before I end up in women’s undergarments at Kohls.
Yes, this is getting serious, folks.
So let’s make some commitments together, shall we?
Let’s be honest.
When bad things happen, we become liars – really bad liars.
It may be our way of coping,
I call it, “Let’s pretend.”
Don’t do this with me. I will call you out.
Don’t hide the truth. I want honesty, no matter what it costs.
Don’t offer up a sanitized version of it because I’m so fragile.
Again, I will call you out.
You will be humiliated.
Bring reality with you when you come to my door, or don’t come at all.
After all, the plumbers did.
Along with reality, bring a story – a rip- roaring funny story.
Make me belly laugh.
When you show up, tell Betsy you need some “private time” with me, shut the bedroom door and say something like, “Typical, this dying thing you’re doing, Ed. You always have to stand out and be different and now here you are doing it again.”
“Why can’t you just get your shit together and live a normal life, like the rest of us do?”
Give it to me hard and straight. Make me laugh until I can’t stop.
I want to be gasping for breath.
Tell me a joke (off-color, if you have one – it may save me from the estrogen).
You’ll know you are successful when Betsy cracks the door and glares at you. Ignore her.
Oh, and please don’t make my funeral service a somber, religious affair either.
Appropriately reflective and reverent is fine, but I want you walking out the door excited for my new status in life.
After all, “for the Christian, the worst things are never the last things.”
So out of respect for the power of the gospel, let’s laugh our way through this transition.
I am, after all, being reborn to the man I was meant to be in Christ.
Laughter and awe at God’s stunning work seem appropriate.
Hey, it’s how we respond when people are born the first time, isn’t it?
Let’s stay together.
You know what would mean the most to me?
That, in me taking my health woes public, you had gained something that became a lifeline for yourself and perhaps another in crisis.
It would thrill me that you learned from my journey how to both live and then die well when your time comes.
Several if you have started to comment on the community that is developing off of this blog and how the comments are often better than the blog itself.
All this makes me feel like a proud father.
How wonderful to be a part of true community – in life and in death.
I know the last mile is mine to take alone, but thanks for coming along as far as you can.
How lovely this thought is to me – almost as lovely as the thought of each of you.
“And thanks be to God who does His will.”
P.S. Do you remember our guest blogger, Jen Taylor, from last week? After posting, Jen spent most of the week shyly avoiding social media, certain she had damaged my readership with her attempts at writing.
Meanwhile, the internet was blowing up: almost 3,000 people read her post, it was pushed out to FaceBook over 360 times, and comments focused primarily on, “Will you be guest hosting more often, Jen?”
At first I couldn’t understand this strange phenomenon. Then it hit me. It’s her teeth.
Just like my sister, she has really white teeth.
Great job, Jen. You knocked it out of the park.
Thank you for your heart, your story, and your hunger to care for those in need, no matter now much grief comes your way as a result.
© Ed Hague. All rights reserved.