Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Such a morbid title!

When I was in graduate school Dr. Lyons used to use Monty Python to illustrate basic public health principals.  Many of the clips he used were really stretching it as far as the connection but whatever; it made epidemiology more fun.

To make the connection between morbidity and mortality he used the "Bring Out Your Dead" clip.  Then he talked about how the guy was definitely in a state of morbidity (I'm not dead yet) but mortality wasn't until he was hit over the head with a shovel.

On Monday we were having dinner with my in-laws,  We were talking about grandma who is 95 and not doing well and Aunt M's husband P who has Alzheimer's and also is failing in heath.  Two cases of morbidity and how hard it is for M since she is trying to care for both of them.  Just as I said that the phone rang.  I looked at the caller ID and it was M.  She rarely calls my house; except if we are coming down for the weekend and she wants to make plans.  Immediately we knew that something was wrong.  I handed the phone to my father-in-law and we all braced ourselves to find out if grandma or P had gotten worse or died.

Then my father-in-law blurted out "Oh my God."  He wouldn't have said that in such a manner if the above two had passed away.  The silence in the kitchen was heavy as we all waited knowing something bad had happened.  We only got a few clues as he talked to M.  "At least he died doing what he loved" "Since he planned to be cremated we don't have to hurry to plan something"  etc.

Finally he hung up and said "K is dead."  His brother had been working on the Kid Castle* at his cabin and was found dead on the ground.  We have yet to find out if it was a heart attack (he had gotten a clean bill of health the week before) or a fall (if so I hope it was quick the thought of him lying there for days is too hard to comprehend) or what?  The autopsy should be done in a day or two.

It all brings me back to morbidity and mortality.  A year and a half ago he had gone in to the doctor for chest pain.  He had severe blockages and was told that he needed to make a 180 or he would be dead in a few months.  He was so proud of the fact that he quit drinking and smoking and was eating healthy.  He drop 50 pounds and was doing great.  He was so full of life and energy and now he is dead.  In that instant of time whatever happened and now he is gone.

I just can't wrap my head around it.  There is that person who is always supposed to be there (like my dad). The one who is always telling the joke or story.  The one who makes family events fun.  I never even got a chance to ask him what he thinks of "my" new Pope.  It is not as painful for me to lose him as it was when my dad died but my heart is heavy.

*K had one granddaughter who he adored (his other grand kids aren't really around).  All he talked about was L and how perfect she was.  He was building her a play house at his cabin.  He loved to build and his cabin is basically finished (he hand built the whole thing) so he had put his energy into L's kid castle.  It is apparently two stories with windows and doors- any kids dream.  I don't know how much he got built and my heart breaks for L that her grandpa died working on her castle.  Unfinished castle and unfinished time.

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