Saturday, January 10, 2015

Charlie Mike

It means, "Continue the Mission." When I was working at the mental health center, I read a novel called Charlie Mike, written by Leonard B. Scott, a veteran of Viet Nam. His theory of PTSD, not a bad one at the time, was that when you are in the shit you don't have time for tears or navel-gazing. If you are going to stay alive, if your buddies are going to stay alive, you have to Charlie Mike -- Continue the Mission. It's only when you are back in The World and nobody's shooting at you any more that you think about those things, and feel them.

I think most of last summer and fall I was Charlie Miking. This afternoon, while fixing lunch of all things, I burst into tears remembering how he didn't get into the study, and how much I would have given for two more years. (His doctor had told us that there was a "little statistical tail" of people in the study who were still alive after two years. Whereas, according to all predictions, Mr. Simply at that point had less than two months.)

Two more years! How rich that would have seemed! Instead, in four short days he was in hospice and dying. In six weeks he would be gone.

I don't remember if I cried the day he called me and said he'd been rejected from the study again, this time because of his liver function. But I sure as hell did this afternoon.


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