Live like you are dying

Got the radio going in the truck the other day and the first song that the station searcher came to was the country song Live Like You are Dying. The writer of that song has obviously not been spending much time in the oncology ward at the hospital. As a caregiver for someone with cancer I have some knowledge about living like you are dying and I can say it isn’t a party. The pasty gray faces streaming through the infusion center show no interest in riding a “bull named Fumanchu or sky diving”. For some, just walking into the place is tantamount to running a marathon.

Living like you are dying is real for cancer victims and it becomes an entire lifestyle. In addition to endless visits to the hospital, every aspect of life is affected. Medicine and supplements to keep a person alive are expensive. Finances are drained, jobs lost, businesses shut down, homes mortgaged and even homes lost. Entire families can be destroyed as the wreckage extends beyond the sick person to others who have to take up the slack. Unlike the writer of the song, I don’t wish it upon anyone to have to live like they are dying.

The movie Bucket List might be a more accurate example of living like you are dying, assuming you run across a billionaire who can finance a short spending spree. On the lighter side, I have been wanting to try some Chock Full of Nuts coffee ever since I first watched the movie. My can of Family Dollar coffee is running low, so yesterday as I stood facing the selection of coffee at the grocery store I noticed that City Market has stocked Chock Full of Nuts and I am now looking forward to my first cup of that beverage in the near future. But that is a subject for another blog.

So if you know a person who is forced to live like they are dying, don’t just pay them a visit. Visits are nice for people who are healthy. Their houses are tidy and well stocked with food and drink to offer visitors and taking time out for a chat can be a nice break. There are no breaks for the cancer victim. Maybe a better gesture would be a tank full of gas to help get to cancer treatments, or an oil change to maintain a car that has been overworked with no funds to maintain it. Sick people and the ones taking care of them may not have the strength to keep up with the laundry, so picking up a load of clothes to wash might be nice, or a lawn mowed, snow scooped or leaves raked. And don’t ask the sick person if they need it done, they already feel like they can’t pull their own load anymore. If it is obvious that it needs done just show up and do it. Small things to a healthy person can be huge for a family with a dying person, so it may not take much to make life a little better for someone forced to live like they are dying.

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