Monday, September 27, 2010

Heartbreaking


I answered the phone and a woman asked if we had any books on deep brain stimulation.

"Deep brain stimulation? I don't know for sure," I said, perusing our section on medical books in my head, "I think that might be too technical for us to carry in the store, but I'll look it up."

"Or even if you can tell me what's available, I want to see what might be appropriate for me."

"Ah, here are some, but they are classified as textbooks and are pretty expensive, and a lot of them talk about how to perform the procedure, not about the pros and cons of the procedure." I named some titles (clinical and technical, most of them) and prices (upwards of $150, many of them).

"Is there anything related to deep brain stimulation and Parkinson's?", she asked.

"It looks as though deep brain stimulation is used for epilepsy, mental health issues and Parkinson's." I told her the titles that seemed to relate to Parkinson's. Then I said, "My dad had Parkinson's. I never heard of this procedure."

"Your dad had Parkinson's? Was he older when he was diagnosed?"

"Yes, he was. In his 60's."

"I was diagnosed at 38. It's a pretty major procedure, I want to find out more about it and see if it might be something that might work for me. I still have a 10 year old son. Does your list describe the books?"

"It does, but I have to click on each one. Do you have access to the internet?"

"I don't, that's why I called."

"Well, these books are really too technical for us to carry in the store, we can order them, but then you don't know if it's what you want and you've already paid for them. What you might do is go to a medical school library, or a university library, they might have something there, and you wouldn't have to buy them."

"Oh, that's a good idea," she said with relief. "I'll do that."

"Well, good luck. I hope everything goes well."


******************

A woman was looking at the Self-Improvement section. "Is there anything I can help you with?", I asked.

"I wanted to know where any books are about death and grieving. Also I'm looking for a book called The Shack. Have you heard of it? I'd like it on audio if you have it."

                         

"We should have it on audio, let me check." After much searching, I did find it and gave it to her.

"Now can you show me the death and dying section? I just lost my daughter."

"Oh, I'm so sorry. It's right over here. If I can ask, when did she die?"

"It was on her birthday, she was 34, so I had quite a bit of time with her. Oh, sorry, here I am rambling on and I didn't even answer your question. September 2, she died September 2. She had been battling with the disease of alcoholism for a long time, and...", she paused.

"I'm so sorry. There's one book in particular I'm looking for...ah here it is.

                         How to Survive the Loss of a Child: Filling the Emptiness and Rebuilding Your Life

"That's perfect, that's just what I need. Oh my goodness. I've been trying to tell my husband how it is, how you put all this energy and love into another person, teach them, love them, and it's not like when your grandparents die or even your parents, this is your CHILD. I haven't been able to explain it very well to him. I haven't been doing very well with it. I'm sorry, I'm rambling again."

"It's only been a few weeks, not very long since you lost her," I said. "It's okay."

"No. Fortunately all the family was all together for a wedding two days after she died, so everyone was there. Now I'm heading home and it'll just be me when I get there. I thought I could use some extra help for the drive back and then when I get there." She reached out and touched my arm. "Thank you so much for all your help and your time. These are just what I needed."

You can email me, Bibliophile, at 2of3Rs@gmailDOTcom. I'd love to hear from you!

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