Office Visit

[Note: this is a work of fiction.]


“Well, Mr. Amos, the test results have come back. I’m afraid it’s not good news.”

“Very well, Dr. Randolph. What is it?”

“The big C, Mr. Amos. A large tumor on your colon. We’re worried it may already have spread to your liver and other organs. If you had had regular checkups, …”

“We’ve discussed that already, Dr. Randolph. Your fees …”

“Are peanuts, compared to your life.”

“We will come to that in its turn. Please continue. What’s the forecast?”

“It’s a hard one.”

“Make it anyway.”

“Probably a 50/50 chance at best of your being here five years from now, if we move immediately.”

“What’s ‘immediately’?”

“The earliest we can schedule you for surgery to remove the main mass is two weeks from now. I’ve already made the arrangements. We’ll take out all we can and look around for any other major signs. We’ll follow the surgery with a six-week intensive chemotherapy regimen, plus radiation treatments if the tests show them to be appropriate to get at some of the smaller spots. You’ll lose all of your hair and be sick as a dog throughout the holiday season, and we’ll probably have to go through the whole regimen again starting in late January, but if we get started now and stick with the program all the way through, we can lick this thing. We’ll set the wheels in motion as soon as you sign these forms.”

“And just how much will this 50/50 chance cost me, Dr. Randolph?”

“Don’t worry about that now, Am …”

“I asked you a question, Doctor. What is this going to cost me?

“Probably around $500,000 all told, Mr. Amos. Of course, your insurance will pick up 80% – no, they just changed their policies, didn’t they? – 65% of the total.”

“I see. You can have your forms back, Dr. Randolph. I don’t reckon I’ll be signing ’em.”

“Doctor’s orders, Mr. Amos.”

“Let me set you straight there, Doctor Randolph. I ain’t takin’ no orders. I’ve paid you good money, more than I can afford, to get your advice on what’s ailin’ me. I now have that advice, and I thank you for it. I will act on that advice as I see fit. And I don’t see fit to sign them there papers.”

“If it’s the money, Mr. Amos, I’m sure your loved ones …”

“I’m sure of no such thing, Doctor.”

“But this is your life we’re talking about, Amos!”

“Yes it is … That’s a nice-looking car sitting in the parking lot down there. BMW?”

“Yes, newest model. Really sweet. You should take a spin in one.”


“Uh huh. I’ve wanted to add one of those to my garage for years.”

“But the one next to it’s a proper limousine, now ain’t it?”

“Yeah. Belongs to the CEO of this health maintenance group. He really likes his comfort. The CFO has one just like it. They go all out trying to keep up with each other. But we were talking about your future, Amos. Your life.”

“Reckon so, Dr. Randolph. My life. Which is mine to use as I think best. And I think that mortgaging my loved ones unto the third generation, so you and your C-whatthehell-Os can make the payments on those cars, is not the best use of my life. Thank you, I will see my own way out. Good night, Dr. Randolph. Sleep well.”

  – O Ceallaigh
Copyright © 2009 Felloffatruck Publications. All wrongs deplored.
All opinions are mine as a private citizen.


  1. I so agree with this. When you have to pay $5.00 for a damn tissue in the hospital, something is wrong. After seeing all what my mom and aunt went through with my grandmother who just passed away I will never have allow that to happen. You just pay and pay and pay and for what good? I would be just like Mr. Amos and not sign and walk out. You have to enjoy life for what it is and when you are going through it today. And what Dr. Randolph doesn’t also mention is the hell you put on your family and friends go through while trying to keep you living. To use a word from yesterday, fuck the doctors and their luxurious lifestyles. But I will say that not all doctors are like that. Mine own is a very humble and just ordinary man and that I do appreciate. But who is to blame for all of this? The Doctor? Our American Way of Life? Oh I know, so I will spare the rod..George Bush. And I’m sure the new Mesiah will correct it all. One final thought..what price do you put on a human life?

  2. And here I thought that only the covert-operations people in Accounting used the edible paper, Dawg.

    Sorry to hear about your grandmother and the trials associated with her illness and passing, Thom. As Quilly says, none of us are going to get out of this alive. There’s an art to knowing when it is the right time to go. Who of us, when the time comes, can claim to have mastered that art? In truth, few of us are willing to go, and few of those who love the ones who are going are willing to let them leave.

    That there are those who will willingly profit from that unwillingness is normal. That we let them profit from it tells us something important about ourselves. I will say, though, that more thought needs to be given to the poisons spread through society by anyone‘s over-luxurious living.

    As for the price of a human life, it depends on whom you ask. Ask an inorganic chemist, and she’ll tell you “about five bucks”. Ask somebody in the organ trade, and he’ll say “several million dollars”. Ask Mastercard, and they’ll say (of course), “priceless”. The US Government has set the going price for cannon fodder at between $250K and $500K. Your mileage may vary.

  3. Thank you OC for your thoughts. Well I’ll tell you what I’m one of those that is willing to go and I was so trying to get my mom to let GM go. Difficult process. Thank goodness I have mileage plus!!!

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