September 30, 2008

"But God, Sir, in Your manner of teaching us about life's consequential nature, isn't death a bit ... um ... extreme, pedagogically speaking?"

"I know the lesson that we're studying is difficult. But dying is more homework than I was counting on."

Writes P.J. O'Rourke, who will -- in all likelihood -- survive his "inglorious" cancer.

Perhaps one of your body parts is lying in wait and will, one day, rise up and drag you to your doom. If it has to be one body part, what body part would you want it to be? Surely not that one.


El Presidente said...

I think he meant:

"Butt god, sir . . ."

bill said...

vaguely related and completely disturbing, stories from the ER: what happens if you have an erection lasting for more than 4 hours.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Left pinky toenail.

Anonymous said...

The brain. Definitely a tumor in my head.

AllenS said...

Since I'm missing part of a finger, I'll just have to say, "I gave at the office."

bleeper said...

I had my heart stopped and cut open and repaired. Have had many parts biopsied. I have a sneakin' suspicion that my lungs will be the traitorous organs. But, cough cough, until then, I will live life and wear a respirator. And shorts.

Anonymous said...

There's something so undignified about succumbing to disease. I plan on being devoured whole by an evil Republican velociraptor.

Anonymous said...

Life is the harshest teacher, delivering the test first and the lesson afterwards.

Ron said...

I've always known my left elbow was a traitorous's just bidding its time, waiting for its moment...then, WHAMMO!

Although what that will be I can't rightly say!

Ron said...

Plus, my earlobes have always loved that Russian Roulette scene in The Deer Hunter...what's up with that?

William said...

When young you bargain to increase your strength and use that strength appropriately. Just the reverse in old age. Every year, in ways you never expected, you become weaker and more debilitated. The trick is to pretend that you are stronger than your weakest joint. The balls of your feet, for example, go bald--the cushioning on them diminishes--and long distance running and walking becomes problematic....I feel that if I ever get lung cancer or liver cirrhosis, I will have deserved it. But bald feet balls are completely undeserved. God doesn't punish you for your vices, he just punishes you for your existence. Our drunken stepfather who art in heaven.

kentuckyliz said...

Well, I've had three primary cancers, so welcome to the ball game.

My skin could kill me. Seems appropriate, we've had a terrible relationship. But I keep catching it before it goes invasive, so not likely.

My boobs could kill me. I could envision it happening thusly: my insurance company won't pay for a followup PET CT scan...unless I have bad liver enzyme levels in my blood labs, feel new lumps in my breasts, or start vomiting blood...i.e. advanced metastasis. Now I've worked the system to arrange my post-treatment scan in January, but after that, who knows. But then would it really be my boobs killing me, or the insurance company? They're in collusion. Mom's boobs killed her 4 years after she figured out they were in mutiny.

Save second base! It was truly tragic. I have a magnificent rack--legendary--and now it's scarred.

But what would be truly weird is for a body part I no longer have to kill me. My thyroid is gone but I am stuck with a low-but-stable thyroid cancer cell count in my blood stream, and it won't be treated again, so cancer is a chronic condition for me. For life. I wouldn't be surprised if it set up camp and blossomed to a thrush throughout my entire freakin' body.

But what may truly kill me is when the economic system fails, including distribution systems, and I don't have enough canned goods and ammo to barter for Synthroid. Once bipartisan greed and stupidity throws us back into the Stone Age, I'm dead within a couple of months. As is everyone else who is medication dependent.

In that case, it would be a death by missing body part in collusion with pols and Walls. Thanks @$$holes.

George M. Spencer said...

John Wayne beat cancer (for a while at least.)

If he could lick the Big C, I'm sure that O'Rourke can lick the Big H.

(An old joke from the National Lampoon, which was a good rag until O'Rourke turned it into a T&A fest.)

kentuckyliz said...

It isn't the Big H. He's got colon cancer but he can't quite bring himself to say it straight out like that. It takes time.

Too much steak in the go-go Reagan 80s.

Mrs. Charmaine Gladlee said...

I'll never understand why Professor Althouse didn't blog her mammogram. When Althouse had her bout with cancer earlier this year, she kept mum.

She says that this blog is her whole life. And, it's sad ---the missed opportunity to give readers an inside glimpse into the mysteries of the medical world from the ground floor, and what it's like to undergo treatment, from a patient's perspective.

The only bona-fide affliction Althouse will admit to was her "Walking Pneumonia"...when she confessed to overdramatic coughing spells in the middle of a lecture to thankless students, who brooked no tolerance for such unprofessional histrionics.

But other than that, we are to assume Althouse is full of vigor, and since becoming a blogger, has never felt a more robust in her life.

A perfectly clean bill of health, and nary an ailment to be had !

vbspurs said...

I looked death in the face. All right, I didn't. I glimpsed him in a crowd.

LOL. That's brill.

It's almost as if he were nodding at Death from across a room at a crowded cocktail party, and silently mouthing, we'll do lunch.


bearbee said...

I glimpsed him in a crowd.

W. Somerset Maugham:


There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture; now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me. The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the market-place and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning? That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.

vbspurs said...

Meg Griffin: "Dad, it's mom on the phone"

Peter: "Please be Somerset Maugham, please be Somerset Maugham, please be Somerset Maugham."

Lois, on phone: "Peter?"

Peter: "DAMN!"

(Bearbee, that was great, thanks!)

Mrs. Charmaine Gladlee said...

Does anybody know what contingencies are in place, should Althouse become incapacitated, pass-away, or otherwise become incapable of doing this Blog?

Are the sons prepared to take over the reigns pending any Althouse infirmity rendering her completely unable to perform the duties of her chosen occupation ?

I'm thinking Glenn Reynolds has been assigned Guardianship of this Althouse Blog, and they have an Arrangement whereby he will merge it into his.

Are the Sons prepared for the burden of assuming leadership and reader retention?

Who will be the new Executrix, Proprietress... in the event of an Althouse misfortune ?

Peter V. Bella said...

Up to the time I was forty, my motto was live fast, die young, leave a good looking corpse.

Now it is live slow, die old, and the hell with the rest.

bearbee said...

O/T For those fond of Britsh actor Hugh Laurie in 'House' check out another Brit Damien Lewis in 'Life' in second season, playing LA cop. Episodes are on line at NBC site.

KCFleming said...

Good morning heartache
You're the one who knew me when
Might as well get used to you hanging around
Good morning heartache, sit down .

vbspurs said...

Performance art, my ass. Maxine is nothing but a succubus.

Cedarford said...

kentuckyliz said...
It isn't the Big H. He's got colon cancer but he can't quite bring himself to say it straight out like that. It takes time.

Too much steak in the go-go Reagan 80s.

Many "lifestyle" activist groups wish to cast cancer as purely a matter of right-wrong food consumption and "banning" various perceived environmental threats. And the media loves to publicize each claim as gospel. "Will brocolli save us all from cancer??" "Could it be a high fiber diet will block most cancers?" "Does a nuclear power plant in your state mean you will die a horrible death from cancer and not the radiation-spewing 9 coal plants???...Possibly".

We want control, but aside from smoking and heavy drinking, cancer is mostly outside our control. A function of treacherous genes.

Nor has "high technology" significantly enhanced cancer survival rates outside certain blood diseases. It HAS prolonged the time it takes to die from them.

And all the money dumped into it since Nixon started the War on cancer? Well, it has benefited us if you believe in transfer of taxpayer dollars to the wealthy does benefit us all through "trickledown" and boosting the fortunes of the Hawaii conference industry, Big Pharma, and various Mercedes and BMW dealerships...

KCFleming said...


She mus' be succin' on sumpin' perty sour.

bleeper said...

I had a tumor on my arm. My now ex-wife saw it and yelled at me that I hadn't eaten enough brocolli. Damn, that was one mean, stupid broad. Thanks for the sympathy and support in my time of need, you harridan. Hope I can return the favor eventually.

But, on the other hand, I married her. Like the democrats nominating their favorite jihadi, marry in haste, repent at leisure, I suppose.

Mrs. Topsy Canning said...

How does Maxine know Ann Althouse's intimate medical secrets ?

Crimso said...

I once asked an oncologist "If you had to have cancer, what would be the best type to have?" After furrowing his brow for a minute, he responded: "Let me put it to you this way. Cancer is never a GOOD thing to have."

kentuckyliz said...

Cedarford, I didn't say not enough broccoli, but too much steak. There's some scientific epidemiological evidence for that. But PJ doesn't seem to mind the price of lifestyle choices.

You're telling me cancer is a mystery. I live healthy and am an athlete and have had three primary cancers, perhaps you missed that factoid. I am a rare and wonderful creature. My long-experiences onc docs and nurses can only think of maybe two people in their entire careers who had three primary cancers (no mets).

BTW cancer doesn't kill you, mets does.

That's why I'm so damn healthy despite messing with cancer for nearly twenty years.

The technology and the meds have improved and impacted survival. Mom's boobs killed her but shortly after that hormone receptors were figgered out and we have lovely things like tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors. The HER2-neu factor was discovered and Herceptin developed as a treatment. I take both of these, and mom probably had those factors. I'm just on the lucky side of the science timeline.

There's lots more cancer survivors around nowadays than ever before. We're kickin ass and livin' strong.

Althouse: ^2 boobsmack. Pink ribbons babe. Save second base! Hope you're doing all right. E me if you want to.

kentuckyliz said...

Actually Dad just died a long lingering decline-death with Parkinson's...not sure which would be worse, Mom's painful death from cancer or his many years of debility with Parkinson's until he couldn't speak or swallow any more.

I just want good drugs, no matter what. My sis, my health care POA knows that. Drug me up enough to kill the pain even if it accidentally kills me.

Colon cancer sucks because the treatment is stressful on the GI tract and you quit eating and waste away. Sorry PJ.

Anonymous said...

A friend, who is a nurse, told me that most people spend 90% of their total life's medical bills in the last two weeks of life.

Unplug me, let me die, pocket the savings.

sk2322 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KCFleming said...

"It's not that I'm afraid to die. I just don't want to be there when it happens."

babuilder said...

Due to my breach of contract with "Little Babuilder and his two pals" as it relates to what I promised when we were fifteen, regarding the quantity and variety of activity they could expect with womankind in the future, I suppose it would be only too fitting if one of those organs took me out.

blake said...

Karmically speaking, colon or prostate cancer makes sense for all the pain-in-the-ass types.

former law student said...

prostate cancer

Most men will die of something else before their prostates could kill them. On the other hand, your testicles can kill you in your twenties and thirties.