Some folks I have been playing pick up volleyball with for a quite a while now went to visit a friend in the hospital; a friend who just discovered cancerous tumors in his chest and neck. Roy, sometimes called Super Tan Roy, has to go into for chemotherapy treatments for four days at a time every three weeks. We call him Super Tan Roy because he is always very sun tanned, and he probably lays out tanning twice as much as he plays volleyball when he comes down to the beach with us the last few summers. This means that you actually get to know him better because he is always in the sitting out area talking to everyone, and he is just a great dude. I have never heard him say anything bad about anyone, and he is always in a good mood.
So it was no surprise when we came to visit that he was walking around his spacious hospital room in his cargo shorts and listening to iPod speakers at high volume. He was really happy to see us, and at no point did he seem down at all. Apparently what he has is very treatable, and the doctors are confident that after only the first few treatments the tumors will be all wiped out. Also, when he left after his first stay, he lived his life like normal, going to the gym and everything. He really hasn't felt any of the side effects, and he even said that the second they hooked him up to the orange bag of chemotherapy juice, he felt better instantly.
Roy was telling us that it sounds strange, but he has never felt this good. Seeing how many people have been contacting him has made him feel grateful to have so many great friends and family members. Roy also stays in touch with some rock bands that he has seen over the years and who have played concerts at his house (I suspect Roy is rich), and one pretty big band that I won't say by name said that they want to do a benefit concert just for him!
I told Roy that his point of view has inspired me. I know for a fact that there is no way I would maintain this guy's level of confidence and upbeat attitude in the face of what he is going through. Friends would likely come visit me only to hear me blubbering "why me?" Do you know this dude has made it a point not to turn the giant television in his hospital room on once? He said that he spends his time emailing friends and writing blogs on his Facebook page. I like to think that if I were in a similar predicament that it would light a charge into my writing somehow. But who knows. I could very likely have the TV on and guests would catch me crying to "The Dukes of Hazard" because Rosco P. Coltrane died and I was scared I would be joining him in a sad redneck afterlife. But through my brief visit with Roy, I know that wallowing for too long would only be a waste of precious time and a downer to anyone else.
Even though I didn't know Roy all that well, I am glad I decided to go the hospital that night. It was the right thing to do because he was happy to see all of us but also for the insight he has given me.