One of the more challenging and cerebral days that I spent recently was at the Abramson Cancer Center in Philadelphia ‘helping’ someone understand the process necessary to deal with his cancer. This is a 74 year old man….a tad bit pathetic….has three (3) grown daughters, a few ex-wives and a 79 year old brother….none of which (according to him) were available to help him through this difficult maze. I offered (I’m crazy, yes I know…but I truly believe in the circle of life…when one helps another person, it will come back to them at another point in their lives) to help see him through the initial steps. This is his second bout of cancer in the same location but it turns out, it wasn’t a metastasized cancer, it was a ‘new’ cancer…..yes, I digress….
This 74 year old was seen by four (4) different physicians during the course of the 6 – 8 hours we were there….the training and the culture of this medical institution (I will do another BLOG soon on the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania) is some of the best…the medical staff is not only professional and knowledgeable and at the ‘top’ of their respective fields….they are all personable as well. Each physician asked my friend what he did for a living…in order to get to know the man….I was amazed but only once did he honestly tell what he did for a living….and that was after coaxing from me….
I don’t understand his reasoning nor his rationale….he had informed me that a one point in his life he was a newspaper reporter for a major metropolitan daily….he left there for a period and worked as a researcher for a personal publisher of some sort (whom he eventually sued for unexplained reasons)….he returned to the newspaper reporting business and eventually needed more money to care for his (then) wife and daughters so he accepted a position in the mid-west working for a collecting magazine….from there he, according to his story, went on to become an Administrative Manager for a major collecting organization in central Pennsylvania. He was subsequently terminated from that position and as a result of a federal program offered through the Commonwealth, he started a business approximately 10 years ago, buying and selling stamps and other collectibles. He is highly respected in the ‘stamp collecting’ arena and he learned that his personality was conducive to being a rather successful business owner.
In answering the Doctor’s question of what he did for a living, I think he was much more comfortable telling them that he was a newspaper reporter (a rather ‘glamourous’ job of sorts)…at one point, he said that he was ‘semi-retired’ … again, only once did he actually describe what he does for a living. At 74, he still does something each day that he is ‘passionate’ about..