My Favorite Lamp.

I didn't think anything about giving him the ProAir inhaler really. Probably didn't even remember doing it 5 minutes after it happened. I knew the man's wife was bedridden and suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, and while it was a source of minor irritation that he had let his refills run out on a Friday night, he was a regular customer and a decent enough guy, and I knew he had his hands full taking care of the woman he married. No big deal really.

"Don't worry about it Bob, we'll just take off a refill when we get the prescription." And Bob was on his merry way. I do remember he said thank you, which is more than a lot of them do.

The next time he was in he asked me what my favorite color was.

I told him blue because I tend towards that color when making wardrobe choices. An ex-girlfriend told me once it was a good color for me and that was that. I didn't think anything about it really. Just said blue and filled his prescription for OxyContin. Or tried to. Goddamn prior auth. It was when we got the PA form back I said a little curse just in case there was a God. "Diagnosis" the doctor had scribbled at the bottom, "terminal liver cancer." Go straight to hell Jesus. Seriously. This guy was decent and hardworking and all he wanted to get out of his day was to be able to take care of his sick wife when there wasn't another soul to help them. Nice one there omnipotent master of the universe. Whatever you are you are not just. You crated an awful, ugly world where we all get by on the occasional scrap of joy and where none of our stories will end well. 

A couple weeks later there was a blue box on the pharmacy counter. "Bob left this for you" the manager said. Inside was a blue lamp from IKEA and a note:

"I just wanted to thank you for being such a help to my wife and I over the years. In particular, I'll never forget the weekend you let her have her inhaler when I was foolish enough to run out of her refills. It showed a level of professionalism and caring that I really appreciate. Maybe once I feel better we can go out to lunch. My treat."

I never thought about that inhaler, and I never really noticed Bob all that much. He was just one of the endless blur of people that whirl through my workday. But to Bob I was an integral part of his life. That is the power of our profession. The dosage of Bob's OxyContin was twice as strong as last time. There's not going to be any lunch.

I wrote this by the light of that blue lamp, and every time I turn it on I'll remember Bob's stand against the ugliness of life. How he spit in the eye of the darkness as it inevitably took him down. His futile struggle for decency.

I owe him that much.





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My Favorite Lamp.
My Favorite Lamp.
Reviewed by malaria
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Rating : 4.5