Sunday, March 27, 2011

Rooster My Rooster!

By Saturday the 19th I had absorbed 12 doses out of the 14 intended. I’m glad they stopped. I had been told that the only person in the last few years that had taken 13 doses, had to stay an extra two weeks because of brain toxicity. Dan and I were also told that no one had made it to the 14th dose.

There had been talk of them releasing me that Saturday morning, so I was excited even in my delirium. Dan was holding my hand when one of Duke's leading doctors walked in. I had met him before briefly during an appointment in the previous month. I recognized him right away - like he was a celebrity! - somehow I knew he was the one to OK the release. I could hear him talk -  like an adult on a Charlie Brown cartoon, he sounded like a muted trumpet. I tried to keep up, “Hello, Dr. Kelly Marcom! How are you Dr. Kelly Marcom?”  “Oh, Yes, Dr. Kelly Marcom. I’m ready to go home, Dr. Kelly Marcom!”  “Goodbye, Dr. Kelly Marcom” “Thank you Dr. Kelly Marcom!”

I don’t remember the cab ride home, but I do remember leaning on Dan to get into the house. My hands on his back, shuffling behind him like the sick caboose of a small train. I was tipped into bed, tucked in and waited on hand and foot for every need I had. Dan would get up in the middle of the night to make sure I had my 12AM and my 6AM medications. Anytime I needed to get out of bed, he would be there to help me. We would do the shuffle train so I wouldn’t fall over, and I would thank god for him every-time. If any of you know the Charles Portis book True Grit or have seen the new Coen brothers movie; there is a scene that is my favorite:  It’s the one where Rooster Cogburn is riding through the night with Mattie Ross, delirious, across his lap in the saddle. The horse is whipped into running harder and harder, the night sky is spinning around in Mattie’s eyes, spurs are digging in to keep the horse going, the sound of labored breath and the galloping hooves are the only thing audible until Rooster brings Mattie to the safety of a cabin where she is saved from her snake bite. It is a beautiful, surreal scene that's emotionally hard to watch. The determination that Rooster has to not let Mattie perish makes me cry every time I think of it.

Dan is my ‘Rooster Cogburn’ , though I can attest that no animal has been, nor ever will be harmed in the saving of myself.


  1. dear letha,

    this is min's wife, constance... you and i spoke a few months ago. i just wanted you to know that you are in my thoughts daily and my heart is overflowing with prayers (yes, prayers!) that your treatments will be successful.

    constance yee

  2. Amazing. What a thing to go through! So glad you are both dealing with it so heroically. Such an inspiration. Much love to you both.


    that's a great picture you posted. love roosters, being one, you know..

    that scene is so beautiful but sad, poor horse...

  4. We all need a rooster.
    We all hopefully will get to be a rooster some day as well.