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DEaVF1 Essay 6 Tuesday, April 20, 1982 5/23 (22%) candidate joints hospital surgical replacement
– Dreams, "Evolution", and Value Fulfillment: Volume One
– Introductory Essays by Robert F. Butts
– Essay 6 Tuesday, April 20, 1982

[... 3 paragraphs ...]

It seemed to me that once medical science got hold of you it wanted to justify its existence, to exercise its wonders for those fortunate or unfortunate enough to be considered “proper candidates” for its full ministrations.

Several of the brightest young rheumatologists and orthopedic surgeons had my future all mapped out for me, or so it appeared, as they discussed my case. When they spoke to Rob and me I tried to listen, but my hearing was still so poor that it was nearly impossible to make out one full sentence at a time. All the doctors seemed to agree that I had a kind of burned-out case of rheumatoid arthritis, with little active inflammation. But one doctor soberly told me that I’d never walk again, or even put my weight upon my feet again, unless I underwent a series of joint-replacement operations—if, he cautioned, I proved to be a “proper candidate.”

Being a proper candidate meant that I would turn my life over to medical science in the hospital for at least a year: a year spent in therapy, surgical procedures, and more therapy, until I ended up having at least four separate operations. My knee joints and hip joints could thus be replaced.

My condition had certain drawbacks, however: The two sides of my body were uneven, so I could end up with four bright new metal and plastic joints and still not be able to walk properly. I might need a cane, or a walker. Medical science would be willing to try, however. Out of the goodness of its heart, all of its scientific procedures would be put at my disposal. True, the amount of money required for such surgical possibilities was staggering, but insurance of one kind or another could be found to carry the cost. (We didn’t have nearly enough money, but could qualify for adequate insurance by fulfilling the terms of an 11-month waiting period.) But regardless of cost, one orthopedist saw me staying right in the hospital—now that I was there—until the entire procedure was finished. Particularly if, again, I proved to be a proper candidate.

(Long pause at 9:02.) Being a proper candidate meant getting rid of those bedsores, for one thing, as well as taking extensive physical therapy. As I listened to the doctor talk, poor hearing or no, I could almost feel medical science starting up all of its gears, ready to go to work on my behalf—and I wasn’t ready to make any such decision right then. I wanted to see how my body would react to the synthetic thyroid hormone and to therapy first. I wished to hell I could (underlined) run, I thought, for boy, I’d have run right out of there, fast!

[... 14 paragraphs ...]

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