Well Elder Paper: Good Ol' Mr. Pete

Submitted By firegirl7
Words: 987
Pages: 4

Driving up to the house it looks small and quaint. It has a brick facet with concrete driveway and carport on the side. Leading up to the door is one concrete step. There are no obstacles in the way. There is a screen door with no tears or jagged edges. Once inside the house there is sturdy looking antique furniture. Mr. Pete welcomes me in with a warm smile. He is a dear neighbor and a genuinely great man. He just recently turned seventy years old on January 9th, but if you ask him, he'll let you know real quick, he'll always be thirty-nine. He says he is honored that I want to write a paper on him and starts telling me about himself before I can put pen to paper. I am excited to spend time with Mr. Pete, God only knows how much time we have left with him. We sit in the den, he in his loveseat, and me on the couch across from him. Mr. Pete has a hearing impairment so I speak clearly and face him. I ask if he needs anything before we get started and he shakes his glass of clear liquid and tells me he's ready. I thought he would be a little more laid back than excited, but he surprised me. I think he was just excited to have someone besides his wife to have a conversation with. I start the interview by asking about his childhood. He had a fairly healthy childhood. He said he never went to the doctor growing up and only people that were about to die went to the doctor then. He was in the Army at age sixteen and remained enlisted through retirement. He was stationed in Germany in his twenties and met his wife, who he is still happily married to today. Mr. Pete was sent to the Vietnam war for two years and believes he was in contact with Agent Orange. He believes that Agent Orange may have effected his risk for cancer. Agent orange is an herbicide that was found to be a carcinogen used during the Vietnam War. Fast-forward to today, Mr. Pete has been diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. I empathetically let him know that I understood the physical side effects he was experiencing from chemotherapy and radiation. I advised him that if he had not already stopped smoking that now would be a great time. I told him that smoking was the number one risk factor for lung cancer. I gave him a flier from the American Lung Association that listed different support groups in the area, what to expect during his radiation and chemotherapy treatment, and a phone number to their helpline. I also went through a list I made for him about my treatment and what I did that made my quality of life better. The number one thing on the list was to stay mobile but rest when he felt his worst. Number two was drink plenty of fluids to help with the dry throat. Number three, the biggie, don't ever say “I can't.” We walked around his home and did not find a lot of safety hazards. I told him that he should really look into a phone with an amplified receiver so it would be easier to understand whoever was on the phone. I advised him that I would purchase one at Radio Shack if he was interested. He expressed gratitude and told me that he would be glad to try a new phone. I told Mr. Pete about an incident I had in my home with a handrail going down stairs. It was loose, I was pregnant, and I tumbled down five to six stairs. I checked his handrail down the front steps of his home, even though they don't use that door, and it was snugly in place. I asked Mr. Pete to tell me…