August 4th, 2010
Josh’s funeral is today.
I wish I could be there.
His wife, Kim, is one of my friends. Our kids are roughly the same ages. Kim and I met one New Years Eve when we were both pregnant with our third children. Their community was my community when I lived in Seattle.
I want to honor him as somebody who had a big impact on me and has been a role model to me as a cancer patient. He was a huge support when my brother was going through treatment. Josh’s cancer battle was more protracted than my brother Jeremy’s. Jeremy stayed in treatment from the time he was diagnosed until he entered hospice less than 2 years later.
Josh went in and out of treatment several times. He had periods of remission. Enough time to build a family, to edit his movie about his second round of treatment with epitheliod sarcoma. That was the bout where he lost his left hand.
If you see Josh’s movie or read his blog, it gives you an inkling of how he managed to keep his humor and humanity. He used his cancer as an opportunity to dig deeper spiritually, to educate the rest of us about what it was he was going through. In this way, he was a role model for me. He helped me have the courage and commitment to share my own treatment with others because I knew how much I learned from what he shared. His honesty has helped me be honest.
As a blogger and filmmaker, Josh was a vigilante patient. He often brought his video camera to his appointments or hospital stays (sometimes to Kim’s chagrin). Once, he was hospitalized and the doctors were unsure of the cause of fluid build-up in his lungs. He was in his hospital bed, anxiously awaiting the results of tests that might clarify his situation.
A resident doctor came in to check on him. Josh caught on film this man’s utter ineptitude in interacting with him. To give you an idea of how bad it was, Josh put it on YouTube under the title “Doctor Asshole,” which was painfully accurate. In the clip, Josh was asking completely reasonable questions and Dr. A kept obfuscating, eventually becoming belligerent and rude.
Watching the clip, I kept saying aloud, “Just say, ‘I don’t know.’ Three words, dude. ‘I. Don’t. Know.’ And then say, ‘I’m sorry.’”
Josh’s hospital made him take the clip off of YouTube, but he knew that the doctor had been reprimanded and, hopefully, educated about why his approach was completely unacceptable. In this way, Josh contributed to improved treatment for all the patients that came after him in this young doctor’s career.
His memory will truly be for a blessing.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 4th, 2010 at 10:58 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.