It could be worse.
I just read a news story that started as follows…
A man was rescued after spending more than four hours Tuesday trapped up to his chest in sewage waste after falling into a Long Island cesspool.
… and I realized that I’d really rather be sitting in the chemo chair than join that man in the cesspool. So, even though chemo is pretty much like getting a root canal once a week and having someone come to my house to poke the tooth with a metal probe all day long on the non-chemo days, I decided that playing a game of “it could be worse” with myself might just keep me from screaming and running down the hall before Thursday’s chemo session. (Long sentence, take a breath.)
For example, even though I face the possibility of a long slow death from cancer, at least I can be sure that I won’t meet this lady’s fate…
Swedish police say they’ve cleared a man who was arrested for allegedly murdering his wife after deciding the culprit was most likely a moose.
[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=moose&iid=7200343″ src=”e/6/d/2/Bull_moose_at_dc1a.jpg?adImageId=8149464&imageId=7200343″ width=”234″ height=”256″ /] Huh. Killed by a moose. The advantage that lady had, of course, is that she didn’t have a solemn-faced doctor sit her down in his office one day and say, “Some time in the next five years you will be killed by a moose.” She was spared the special misery of anticipation. Still, killed by a moose, forewarned or not …. nasty.
Of course, I know that I shouldn’t get my energy from the misery of others. but I have to say that one of the few hopeful spots I had when I was first diagnosed with metastatic disease was walking by the joint replacement ward in the hospital and watching those poor miserable people trying to work their new parts. I thought, “Well, at least I won’t live long enough to have to do THAT.”
Soon I’ll finish a post I’ve been working on about things not to say to a cancer patient. One of the things on many “don’t say” lists is “Any one of us could die any time. I could walk outside right now and get hit by a bus.” I’ll explain in that other post why that’s not a good thing to say to most people, but I’m one of the few who finds that rather hopeful and not a bad option, other than the trauma to the poor bus driver. One lady recently died when a Taco Bell sign fell on her truck. That would spare the bus driver, so maybe we should switch to saying “I could walk outside right now and get hit by a Taco Bell sign.”
There are other quick and unexpected things that can happen in the street that sound worse to me than the proverbial bus or the Taco Bell sign. For example, in 1814, seven people died in the London Beer Flood. Imagine 1.5 million liters of beer bursting forth from a brewery. I know this might be an ideal death for some people, but the bus would be quicker.
Molasses would be slower. Unfortunately, 21 people suffered that fate in 1919 during the Boston Molasses Disaster. Imagine 8.7 million liters of molasses rushing down the street at 35 mph. I am glad that will not happen to me.
Another thing I like to keep in mind is that I can be pretty well assured my own stupidity won’t kill me and that I won’t be one of those family family stories…. Not so for a Ukranian chemistry student who was recently killed by exploding chewing gum. He was in the habit of dipping his chewing gum in citric acid — odd in itself — and forgot one day that he also had a beaker of explosive liquid on his desk. Both liquids looked the same. Dip. Chew. Boom.
Then there are the “who woulda thunk” ways to die. Ways that I most certainly don’t have to worry about. For example, I don’t drink martinis. If Sherwood Anderson had been a teetotaler he might have lived to write more stories. Instead, he died of peritonitis after he swallowed a piece of a toothpick that had been inserted in a martini olive.
I’m also not in the habit of wearing flammable Civil War costumes, so I will most certainly avoid what happened toMartha Mansfield. Poor Martha was an actress who died horribly after a cast member in the movie they were filming lit a cigarette and then tossed a match that accidentally ignited the Civil War costume Martha was wearing. It was 1923 and she was 24 years old. Terrible. Horrible. And not something I don’t need to worry about.
So, ladies and gentlemen, it truly could be worse. At least I have a chance to fight back. And the fight continues. I start radiation tomorrow, which will last for two weeks. At the same time I’ll continue to have chemo on Thursdays.
But it could be worse.