Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What Would Lenny Skutnik Do?

I'm back in the chair this week for my final hell week of chemo. My veins are almost healed, but still some tightness and puffiness in the veins. But the doc thought I could continue so yesterday I started again. It was a long day, chemo went until 5 pm. Nausea started up almost immediately.

But I managed to eat a normal lunch and dinner. I went to bed early but was again awake at 2:30 am where I moved to the couch and played video games until 6 when Jules got up. We took Bica for a walk and had breakfast. After the usual morning cleanup I took the bus into the drs office where I sit now with an iv in my arm and pre-hydration running into my veins.

This probably isn't the right venue for what follows but it's been on my mind for a while. Some of it most of my life, well at least since that fla air flight crashed into the 14th st bridge.

I can remember watching the drama unfold on tv in Florida that day. Watching as a regular guy did the most heroic thing I've ever seen. Stripping down and diving into the icy potomac, water full of blinding jet fuel, swimming against a current to save the life of a woman who was too weak to grasp the life saving ring from the helicopter above. Lenny Skutnik was that man and the fact that he has been humble about his actions make it all the more an incredible story.

Years later I would learn that Skutnic had a wife, which makes his actions even more incredible to me. I can't imagine being in his shoes that day, knowing that by going in the water I would likely die instead of saving a life and that I'd never get to say goodbye to my wife (these were pre cell phone days).

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this, I've just always wondered if I could have done what Skutnik did that day. And I've tried to help people out, strangers often, when I see they need help. Nothing heroic, helping to push stalled cars out of the road, holding doors open for others, etc. all minor things that everyone should do, and most probably do.

I hope never to be tested like Skutnik was that day, I'm worried I would be like the numerous bystanders that terrible day who all stood around watching (including many emergency personnel). I don't want to find out that I wouldn't rise to the occasion, and I'd be terrified of dying myself and leaving Julie alone (she'd never forgive me).

I don't know if this is my point or not, but I need to end this eventually. If Lenny Skutnik could face a snowy, frozen Potomac river to save the life of a complete stranger, well I think I can survive cancer treatment.

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