“Did you sell the business yet?”
I marvel at my patient Jack: despite his breathlessness, he’s somehow managed to greet his wife Sara with a complete sentence. Given his condition, it’s truly amazing.
Most of his lung function has been devastated by his forty-year, pack-a-day smoking habit; the rest has been demolished by cancer. The easy, automatic breathing he once took for granted is just a memory. He can’t even lie down without feeling like he’s suffocating. Propped up on pillows in his hospital bed, he struggles for every breath–pulling it in, forcing it out–his brow creased in a perpetual frown of concentration.
Sara and Jack have been married for thirty-five years, since before he took over his father’s small shoe concession and turned it into a thriving business.