Society & Culture

Citizen Sunflower and America’s Future

Cancer imposes innumerable indignities on its victims.  In addition to possible death, the disease, its complications, and its treatment also force patients through the most inhumane gauntlet of our health-care system.  When you’re not giving a blood sample, you’re likely hooked up to an IV full of toxins or being zapped with near-lethal doses of radiation.  Cancer treatments consume your days with both their application and the subsequent recovery period.  But unlike other illnesses and medical procedures, we rarely remark on one epidemic indignity: the inordinate amount of time wasted in the waiting rooms of doctors’ offices and hospitals.  Sitting with other cancer patients in sterile surroundings while waiting one’s turn to see the doctor only further deadens the spirit and stifles the will to survive.  Sartre never spoke truer words than when he described Hell as “other people.”  One recent wait at my physical therapist’s office did more than just hammer Sartre’s point into my head yet again; in my paranoid, cancer-addled state, the incident gave me even more reasons to fear for the American Republic.

I have been attending physical therapy twice a week since my chemotherapy and radiation treatments ended in June.  Through a combination of exercises and stretches, my therapist teaches me how to compensate for my lack of balance and diminished...

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