Friday, August 20, 2021
Just hung up the phone. On the other side of the line, was a friend I haven’t spoken to for years. They’re interesting to have, these impromptu catch-up calls. You chat after a long time, look back, see where the waves of time took you…
Only it wasn’t that kind of call. Not exactly.
I stumbled upon a short TV report about her mother. It left me in shock. I reached out, we talked. The waves of time weren't waves; they were laser beams cutting through the fabric of hope. And she… she was racing against the clock.
Earlier this week, on Tuesday, her mother took the last immunotherapy treatment that was available at the hospital. The next session was supposed to be on September 7. The one after that, on September 28, then on October 19. You got the picture. Every 21 days. Without those immunity boosts, her health will deteriorate…
Her stage 4 cancer could not be treated with chemotherapy. Radiation doesn’t work for stomach cancer since it’s not localized. The only thread of hope came after one year of immunity treatment, as stability became a new achievable target. A gift that meant she was bound to continue the treatment to sustain the results. Even if it was a lifelong commitment, 17 trips to the hospital per year meant that there was a year, that there was a life to commit to.
What’s next? The caretaker minister of Public Health, Hamad Hasan, has to sign a paper, my friend told me. That’s all he has to do for hospitals to be able to access the medicine and administer it. But when is he going to sign it? And with the current chaos brought upon us by the indecisiveness of incompetent leaders about the lifting of subsidies, will he sign it?
The insurance company, fully paid in hard currency (every dollar worth almost 20,000 LBP), is covering the expenses up to the unofficial rate of 3,900 LBP to the dollar.
As if one fight wasn’t already enough…
We live a life in which, as we remember the loved ones we lost in the recent past, we feel grateful for their early passing, because we know how more excruciating it could have been now.