Page 129 - Pat's Tavern
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Pat’s Tavern by Thomas J. CraneWhy Me?As I had mentioned in a previous article, my job at the medical center where I worked consisted of providing radiation protection or monitoring service in a section of the hospital where patients were either injected or implanted with sources of radiation to slow or provide palliative care for cancer patients. There was no cure. The outcome was always the same in that the patient eventually died. My job was to check the patient with a radiation monitor or detection device in order to calculate the amount of time that the medical staff or visitors could spend next to the radioactive patient in order to limit the amount of radiation exposure that they received. The standard procedure was to tape a radioactive sign on the patient’s door with the allotted time shown. If a patient’s life was extended for a limited amount of time, it was considered a minor victory as life is precious no matter how brief. Most patients accepted their eventual fate. It was heart- wrenching for all concerned to watch someone die.One day I entered the room of a female patient who had once been a physical education instructor. She must have been a very vivacious woman full of energy and life. Now she was wracked with pain and suffering. One day while I was in the room the housekeeping lady entered and the woman was cursing her fate and asking God, “Why me Lord? Why could it not be somebody else?” The housekeeping lady turned and said, “How could you wish your suffering on someone else? Wouldn’t it be better to accept your ordeal and die like the woman that you are?” The woman died, but she did so with an acceptance rather than with a curse. That housekeeper had instilled in her the strength to die.129

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