An Old Car??? & Cockroaches???

Posted by Big Papa | | Posted On Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 8:42 AM

The other day when we were at the Oncologist’s office with Grandma Elser (I’ll refer to her as this, usually to me she is Verna but I don’t want to confuse people into thinking I am talking about my wife) he used several analogies to describe her condition and possible treatments and etc. to us. I thought these were quite unique and not usually what you would hear from a doctor and thought I would share what I can remember of them with you.
The first was when he was talking of her present conditions and the health aspects of her body. He said it is like a car. When it is new and you get into a little fender bender you will naturally take it and get it fixed. As the car ages and starts to get some miles on it and the water pump or something on the engine wears out if the miles are not excessive and the engine runs good without using a lot of oil and such you would replace the water pump. If the engine was getting a lot of miles on it and using a lot of oil but the rest of the car was in good condition you may consider replacing (transplanting) the engine with a good used or remanufactured engine. When your brakes are getting worn it is not unusual for them to be working fine when you pull up to a stoplight and maybe at the next light they start grinding and suddenly need to be replaced. (emergency medical care) As time goes on and the miles continue to pile up on your car it really begins to show it’s age and some of the dings and dents are overlooked, some of the repairs needed are overlooked as they are not critical to the operation of the car. The paint starts to fade, and often times rust starts creeping through. This is when it starts to become more difficult to make decisions as to if it is worth while spending anymore on this old car. It was at about this point in the discussion that he told Grandma Elser that she is like this old car. She has some dings dents, scrapes and bumps but more importantly her kidneys are only working at around 70% efficiency, she has had heart by-pass surgery several years ago, she has had a knee replaced, she had a broken hip a while back, her bones are getting weak, she cannot see well enough to read or drive, and now there are spots of cancer on her colon and her liver. He said the bottom line is your getting pretty rusty and I’m not just talking about your bumpers, it’s the whole car that’s rusting away.
He then proceeded to tell us about treatment procedures which led to his analogy of a room with 10 cockroaches in it. Referring to the cancer as the cockroaches he said that you can stomp on eight or nine of them and help the problem of the infestation but unless you can stomp on all ten of them they are likely to come back. With the different chemo or radiation treatments they could probably kill 8 or 9 of the cockroaches, maybe even all ten of them but to be certain that they were all gone the best thing would be to get entirely eliminate the environment that the cockroaches are living in. This would be the surgery needed to remove the affected area that the cancer has affected which is typically what they would do in a car with only rusty bumpers.
There were more analogies that he used in the hour or so that we were in his office but I can’t remember them all right now. If they come to me I will try to pass them on as it was quite entertaining but yet enlightening to listen to this professional bring things down to a level that we could really relate to.
Oh yeah, I must add that Grandma Elser related very well as she shared with the doctor that the car she just quit driving a few months ago had something like 230,000 miles on it, (she knows exactly how many) has had the engine replaced, has had many repairs and is in fact starting to show a lot of wear and tear and rust.

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