Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Club Med

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Nope; no pictures. It isn't that kind of 'med.' This kind does chelation therapy for people without kidneys, and feeds cancer medicine to people like me.

I started going to Club Med in July, 2008, when I came home from the hospital. I was the newbie of course. Room full of geezers looking at me without looking, if you know what I mean. Geezers are good at it. Kids aren't. Little kid, say, six or less, will run right up to you, ask if you have cancer then tell you their mother's life story. How you handle it has a lot to do with how the Club members handle you.

People don't die at Club Med. They do that at home, or in the hospital. But before they do, they stop coming to Club Med. That's the part you notice. A different face plugged into Machine #3. Oddly enough, you never ask. You already know. And if you were close, you might reach for your cell phone. Or ask one of the nurses, to find out if you've still got time to send flowers. Or whatever.

Whatever else it is, Club Med is a business. It's there to make someone a profit and you have to remember that the profit comes first. No profit, no Club; it is not a charity. But right now -- and for the foreseeable future, business is good. Perhaps a little too good, from an humanitarian point of view. And while you may not know it, there's a Club Med near you! No, they don't want anything from you (well... mebbe not. I don't have a lot of experience with Club Med's. But most don't want anything from you... mebbe kid's toys at Christmas but they probably don't have to ask for stuff like that).

There's only two ways out of Club Med. You gain weight, grow hair, start to smile more often, pay more attention to how you dress. Then you vanish.

Or... you start turning kinda gray. Not your hair, your skin; all of you. You lose weight. Your smile becomes more hesitant, often fails all together, as if to say 'What the hell are you looking at! Don't you realize I'm dying here?) Well... yes, we do. And believe it or not, we'll miss you. But it's a path we all are one day going to travel, the only difference is that Club Med is a kind of short-cut.

Ol' Ironsides comes in both flavors, getting better and getting worse. They are typically 12V-Powered-Loners who arrive in their battery-powered wheel chair, don't need any help, thanks. And really don't. If they are male you can imagine them pumping iron down at the beach, soaking up some rays, playing catch with the kids. I see them out at the shooting range, raising hell with a hand-gun, which is usually somewhere on their person 7/24 because some folks think Ol' Ironsiders are an easy touch. They're not. Going armed doesn't mean they're looking for trouble. In fact, it usually means exactly the opposite.

But most Club Med members come in pairs, the patient plus... someone. 'Care Giver,' whateverthehell that means. My wife comes with me. Going by myself will mean I'm getting better. Stay tuned!

I did Club Med today to pick-up a Zometa refill.(*) I'm exercising more which means I'm hurting more and Zometa seems to help. Another newbie over in Chleation Row and for the life of me, I can't remember who was there just a week ago. Someone notices me looking and fills me in. Others join the conversation, people closer to him. Sudden. Some sort of stroke. I sense a feeling of relief. About the best some have to hope for is to die in their sleep.

Club Med.. It's not for the weak of heart.

-R.S.Hoover

(*) -- Part of my medication regimen is a periodic Zometa I.V.
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