I’m always looking for ways to stretch the toonie (Canadian dollar) as far as I can, so when people offer suggestions, I’m all ears.
One follower of my blog sent me a private suggestion about cutting my hair shorter, resulting in a longer interval period between haircuts. Seeing I am also suffering from yet another stye (which comes from high stress and poor sleeping habits as a result of my current situation), I figured I kill two birds with one stone. I went for the shortest cut next to a shaved head: trimmer setting #1.
The end result wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. My hair has been very thin on top for the last ten years and there were only so many ways I could rock my combover. Once my beard grows back (I had that shaved off to make the trim easier), it will look a lot better. I’d bear a more stately countenance, or at least resemble the lead singer of the band “Clutch“.
Right now, however, I look like a cancer patient — with apologies to cancer patients who might be offended by that remark. I take the suffering these people go through very seriously. I’ve lost a lot of family members and friends to cancer — my uncle just recently — and am royally pissed off at the ROI from cancer research donations to organizations like the Terry Fox Foundation and the Canadian Cancer Society. Where’s the god-damn cure, people?
That’s a rant for another day, though. I want to talk about a subject I’ve only touched on in a past post, something I really did not want to address, but after seeing my shorn appearance in the mirror, I think it’s time to do just that.
Despite the stye and dark rings under my eyes, I am in good health for a 52 year old man. I can see very well (though reading small print on an aspirin bottle has become a bit of a bitch), have a healthy blood pressure level, don’t get up in the middle of the night to pee….absolutely nothing, and can easily walk from Charles Street Terminal to Columbia Street in warm weather (a distance over 5km). Being healthy means I can still fight the good fight to return to financial self-sustainability and independence.
What happens if things change, however? What happens IF I go to a walk-in clinic for a seemingly innocent medical issue and am told I have cancer?
It’s an important question. Undergoing chemo and radiation is tough enough for those who have stable housing and gainful employment. That’s not my situation. I have just gigs to keep a bit of money in my pocket and my current housing is supported by family members. That type of housing is not long-term. What happens if I’m told that while (hypothetically speaking) undergoing cancer treatment, “Sorry, hon, we can’t support you anymore.”?
Could I handle the treatment while in a shelter, couchsurfing, or sleeping on buses? Could I afford any prescriptions I have to take that are not covered under OHIP?
After some thought, what I came up with was a blank. I couldn’t. Not only was it impossible, it would also be very cruel and unusual punishment for any person in that situation to go through. Cancer treatment wreaks havoc on bodily functions, especially the immune system and the body’s ability to maintain a constant core temperature.
The one thing I was certain about was I would apply for medically assisted suicide under Bill C-14. If I cannot handle the treatment while homeless, my death would be a foreseeable outcome, and a very long painful one at that. If I’m going to go, I might as well go peacefully and painlessly.
Taking that course of action does not make me a quitter. I’ve heard stories about the homeless succumbing to an illness while out on the street. I will not let that happen to me. My chronic unemployment and lack of stable housing might have robbed me of many things, including my independence and pride, but it sure as hell won’t wrest from my cold dead hands my right to die with dignity.
Thanks for reading.