I went to the hospital
to see Dan today. He's been a friend of mine for some years now, primarily because of our shared interest in science fiction
. He's one of those guys who are often made fun of as a typical SF fan. He's overweight, middle aged and has an encyclopedic knowledge of film and television. But he's also very nice, well read and thoughtful and has a practical mind. Dan has lots
of friends. And he is organized, motivated and polite. A few years ago my favorite convention. Context
was dying when Dan took it over and rebuilt it.
None of that really matters right now because Dan is dying. Despite a college degree, he hasn't been able to find work for years and hasn't been visiting doctors for years at least in part because he has no health insurance. Doctors want lots of money up front if you're uninsured, and Dan has little. Well, this time he had to go. And on Valentine's Day, the took a tumor the size of a tennis ball out of his brain.
Well, they tried to anyway. It was too entwined with good tissue so they got a little more then 70 percent out. That's not good. Dan has gliobastoma multiforme (GBM), a very aggressive form of brain cancer. Normal treatment is surgery, radiation and chemo and life expectancy is about fourteen months. That's with 99% surgical removal, which the doctors got nowhere near. The fat lady may not have sung yet for Dan, but her sheet music has arrived. There other problems, but cancer is what will do it for him.
People talk about making your own luck but sometimes luck makes you. Here is a really kind, intelligent, principled human being who drew the Ace of Cancer. I've known him for sixteen years, and in all that time I've never known him to date anyone in part because he is not handsome, and in part because he's too shy to ask for a date. But if his wallet is poor, he is rich in friends, and people have been there every day for his hospitalization. His friends took him to get groceries when his sight got too bad to drive. His friends found him and took him to the hospital when the tumor made him collapse.
Dan's never been to a Worldcon. I think maybe his friends ought to see that he gets to one before he leaves the building.