Mortality – Christopher Hitchens

May 08

Mortality – Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens was a prolific writer and orator. While on a book tour, he was suddenly overcome by excruciating pain. The pain would later be diagnosed as Stage 4 esophageal cancer. For a year and a half, the man fought the good fight, writing essays all along the way. His humor, wit, and intelligence shone through to the very end. He brilliantly described the land of cancer, from how he was treated, to the horrors his body was going through, and everything in between.

He had a quick minute of denial; he didn’t want to miss scheduled appearances, even after the diagnosis. “I managed to pull off both gigs without anyone noticing anything amiss, though I did vomit two times, with an extraordinary combination of accuracy, neatness, violence, and profusion, just before each show. This is what citizens of the sick country do while they are still hopelessly clinging to their old domicile.”

Mr. Hitchen’s discussion of a short handbook of cancer etiquette should be required reading in medical schools and by anyone who knows someone with cancer. (That’s just about all of us.)

My heart broke a little when the man lost his voice; the importance of communication, especially for him, must have been devastating.

I was telling The Doc about this book; it turns out he actually used one of the articles when he was teaching a Literature and Medicine class. For the 900th time, folks, try to marry a smart guy.


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