13 Oct 2013: An Opportunity to Teach
Last week, Dr. Cheung asked me to address three medical students/HKU undergraduates from my hospital bed concerning my cancer journey. HKU’s medical school is on the British model so there is no pre-med; undergrads are on a speeded-up track.
I had no time to prepare a formal outline but did a reasonable job all the same of coverage. I described my feelings of being very fit and healthy person and how they may have contrasted with a smoking habit that lasted until 2000 and a Nicorette/nicotine addiction that held on until 2012. I described managing the terror of the diagnosis result day fairly well through a spiritual practise.
I said that perhaps palliative care sounded less terrifying than it does to many because I had entered the cancer journey at a mostly palliative stage (IV/D1). I also described how highly addictive prescription drugs such as Fentanyl hold for me at this time little attraction since I’d always preferred booze. I do admit their usefulness as pain suppressants as the essence of civilisation which doesn’t allow even the Stranger to writhe in agony in the park (and doesn’t by default code him/her as an addict as a part of its lack of compassion).
It should be noted, however, that I didn’t make the last point in the above passage in my talk.
I thought of the late Edward Said who lectured on English topics while being hospitalised for leukemia. These activities are very important for me at this time.