Chapter 21-3: End of the Road - The Final Days

For the first time in over twenty years the pain at the base of his neck took a backseat to the pain spreading from his liver, which was now swollen across his abdomen and had doubled in size. And the pain, the endless pain that he had been trying to get treated for years, was still raging. Even in the oncology ward, the hospital staff were not trained to treat a patient who was already taking a high dose of morphine. It took a threat to call the hospital director to get the hospitalist just to call his pain doctor to provide his base background pain medication. Two weeks later, on September 14th, Bob came home in an ambulance to spend his final days surrounded by family and friends.

Alpine Sunflowers

On October 10th, 2015, Bob died peacefully, quietly, after fighting pain for so much of the previous twenty years. On the death certificate the cause is listed as metastatic melanoma and ocular melanoma. No mention of chronic pain. No mention of the disease that had invaded and disrupted his life for so many years, and which he had borne with stoicism and humor. And who knows how it played into the growth of the tumor in his eye, which then spread to his liver. He rarely discussed or complained of his pain with even his closest friends, and when he went out, which increasingly over the years was fewer and further between times, he would always have a smile for friends and family. This gentle, kind, loving man deserved so much better from the medical profession. In the last ten years there were three years where he was treated with respect and dignity and his pain adequately managed; but for the other seven years his treatment was hard to bear.

Bob MacLeod  (July 12,1946-October 10, 2015)