Monday, November 12, 2012

What to do to make a difference

Have I made a difference?  I don't know, I think that I have influenced a few people, made them think differently about food a bit maybe.  Yesterday, after spending the better part of the day walking around the Fountain Hills Arts and Craft Fair, I met up with Karrie and her luckiest guy in the world fiancee, Jay for a couple beers and conversation.  Karrie, has made a difference.

A few years ago she and her parents, who are both Healthcare Professionals, got together and spent a lot of time getting donations of medications and medical supplies and then they went to Kenya.  There they went way out past civilization and helped out at a remote medical aid station.  They treated the native people for a host of basic medical needs, and helped in ways that are unimaginable to most of us.  And they volunteered and paid for most of the trip themselves.

The one thing that Karrie told me was the most haunting thing that they did there was when these parents had walked over 60 miles with their 18 year old son with them in a wheelbarrow.  The boy had years earlier started off with a large tumor on his wrist, which the village medical person cut off with a hack saw and then bandaged with banana leaves.  A couple years later, he grew an even larger tumor on his elbow, which was treated in the same way.  Now, at manhood, he had tumors on his face, shoulders and in his neck.  These tumors had grown into his neck to the point they interfered with his breathing and left him unable to talk.  And in a great deal of pain.  Incapable of walking they hauled him there in the wheelbarrow.  The prognosis, was not good at this little facility in the middle of nowhere.  The parents were understanding, and just asked to help them alleviate his pain and help him to pass from this morbidly painful existence, into the next.  They did.  And the long suffering youth left the life that he had known for so long and in the presence of his loving parents he passed over.  Then they wheeled him back home to be buried.

What must it take to ask for the means to provide a son a quick and painless death.  To watch your own child grow up, with horrifyingly debilitating health problems, and to know with certainty, that there is no hope for any sort of cure.  What must go through the minds of those parents.  And certainly, it isn't just the parents living out in the bushlands of Kenya, or other remote places, but here, today, in modern society.  There are unfortunately large numbers of ailments that destroy life, and modern medicine is unable to provide any long term solution.  It happens all too often, and without the simple defining answer that the couple in Kenya received.  As doctors practice their profession, they make life miserable for a whole host of patients that they know that there is no hope for.  But continue to prolong the agony because no one wants to take a stand and to provide the type of final care that some, Dr. Kevorkian for example, provide.

Well, that was a deep subject for today's blog entry, one that will hopefully make some of you think hard and long, and maybe, just maybe, one more person out there will volunteer and do what my wonderful friend Karrie and her parents did once a few years ago.  We need more people in the world to make a difference, and not like me that just makes you think about what you eat.

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