Thursday, June 03, 2010

treatment parallels

When a major disaster occurs, such as the current undersea oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico, people pile on with a million different ideas for how to remedy the situation. The problem, of course, is that it's impossible to implement all of these ideas simultaneously: in such cases, they have to be tried one after another. The process looks for all the world like a series of failures, but every failure brings the disaster workers closer to a viable solution.

This insight struck me while I was following the news in the Gulf, because much the same thing occurred during my mother's brain cancer: people would often write or call with a host of treatment ideas, and we, as a family, would discuss various options with the doctors we visited in Virginia, Maryland, and even Texas. In the end, however, we had no choice but to implement the options one at a time, moving from radiation and Temodar to Avastin, switching over to carboplatin (a step backward, in my opinion), then finally standing on the precipice of a major new type of treatment, only to discover that Mom's cancer had grown too severe to be treated with it.

I trust that the workers in the Gulf are trying their damnedest to plug the leak. I know that the American public is off to the side, watching with a mixture of anger, frustration, and helplessness. As method after method fails, the public's cynicism will grow. But the public needs to cool off and understand that this is how it has to happen: you can't implement several procedures at one time. Eventually, a feasible method will be found and put into action.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Kevin, for putting what I have been thinking so succinctly. I think the key is that the public feels helpless which is not a good feeling in an emergency.