Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Morbid Interlude

Same day, another post. I'm going to set a personal record at this rate, giving 2010 the most posts in a year. I imagine 2008 is actually the second highest, since it started in June, and managed 123 posts, but...Totally off topic.

The Deepwater Horizon leak was capped last month, and BP is now trying to stuff the oil back where they found it by forcing mud and cement into the well. It's estimated that five million barrels of crude oil was spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, making this the largest oil disaster ever. BP has taken responsibility for the environmental impact this accident has had, and is working to make reparations.

But what of the human cost? It seems to me that their negligence cost many men, most of them fathers, their lives. Yet BP hasn't acknowledged their role in the deaths of these men. I don't understand that. How does this oil company make the statement? "Oh, wow. Ummm...Sorry about the oil spill. We know it'll kill thousands of creatures and make a massive impact on the region, so we're gonna clean that up. But the men who died? We know nothing about them." In Yiddish, we call that chutzpah. "Balls." It takes balls to ignore these deaths.

The reason I bring it up is because it seems these seemingly few deaths have been overshadowed by everything else that is the Deepwater Horizon. In fact, if not for an article I read just an hour ago, I wouldn't have known there were deaths at all. I thought the explosion had managed to be a fatality-free incident. Everything has been about the oil, the environmental impact, and the cost. Very little has been said about the PEOPLE who died during this act of greed.

Yes, greed. Safety gave way to profit margins, and that's why there was this horrible disaster. It's cheaper to pay off inspectors than effectuate repairs, right? (I have no idea if that's true, but I know proper inspections weren't held, so that's my first suspicion.) So what price tag do you place on a human life to replace a lost loved one? How do you face those wives and children and tell them that a sum of money will replace the man called "husband," "father," or in some cases, "fiance?"

There's another reason I bring this up. In a fit of boredom, I went back and watched some favorite episodes of "House." If you haven't seen the episodes entitled "House's Head" or "Wilson's Heart," you may not want to read, since here there be spoilers.

The end of the fourth season had two spectacular episodes. Broken into two parts, House ends up in a bus accident and lands himself a concussion. As he struggles with his injuries, he tries to remember what he saw before the accident that makes him believe someone is going to die. He tries everything he can think of to jog his memory, and ends up having a few hallucinations along the way. (The scene in which he's trying to run a differential diagnosis in his head while Lisa Edelstein is stripping/pole dancing is very entertaining. "You'd rather be diagnosing." "I screamed 'no.'" "And your own subconscious ignored you. Because you'd rather fantasize about finding symptoms. How screwed up is that?") The episode focuses on the bus driver, and Dr. House makes yet another brilliant diagnosis to save yet another life.

But then he realizes he's saved the wrong person. Someone is still going to die, and he can't remember who. House overdoses on Physostigmine, an Alzheimer drug, in the hopes of kicking his neural cortex into overdrive. The result is not only a revelation, but a heart attack for House.

THIS IS THE BIG SPOILER, KIDS! It's Amber, Wilson's girlfriend. How and why she was on the bus with House is revealed in the second episode. It doesn't matter what's done, Amber is going to die. And it's the performance of Robert Sean Leonard as Dr. James Wilson that makes this an extremely powerful episode. His tears...his frustrations...his overall pain is made completely believable, and an imaginative viewer like myself can easily find themselves imagining what it would be like to spend the very last moments with the person they love most.

My mind immediately redressed the scene, with Becky dying in the hospital, and me by her side. It hurt. G-d, how it hurt! And it didn't help that there's something about Anne Dudek's face that resembles Becky's so much. I imagined myself lying as I did during cuddle sessions, on my right side with my head propped up, and arm around the woman I love. I imagined all the potential things that life could throw at people, and how I could lose her unfairly to death. I imagined the irreconcilable pain while telling her I loved her, and having her breathe her last breath in my arms. And each time I see the scene on the show, I replay my version of it in my head, and I start to choke up. I don't ever want to lose Becky. Not for any reason. It's is slowly becoming the greatest fear of my entire life.

This is a radical change for me. Until recently, the greatest loss in my life could be my father. He's the last of my family that I talk to. No one else who shares blood ties with me seems to know or care where I am or what's happening in my life. All I have after my father is Becky and the plans we're making for the future. I can't tell you when I fell so irrevocably in love with her, but I can no longer see myself letting go of her easily under any circumstances.

I don't know how other people feel. Yes, love is a similar emotion for all of us, but the details of the emotion vary from person to person. Imagining my own pain at losing Becky for whatever reason, I can't help but wonder how those families feel after they've experienced the sudden loss of loved ones in the Deepwater Horizon disaster. No one could put a dollar value on Becky for me. Offer me $100,000,000 for her death, G-d forbid it ever comes due to accident or negligence, and I will probably say it's not enough. There could never be enough money to replace her. Because money doesn't replace a human being. It doesn't replace love. It's a band-aid on a wound that'll never heal.

That said, I don't think I'm going to make it to May or June of next year. Each time she and I talk, there's mention that I may end up moving to PA come her spring break in college. Not only do I miss her, and everything about her physical presence, but I have the same desire that she has. You see, one of the things that Becky wants most is to come home at the end of every day so she can be wrapped in my arms. Well, I want to be wrapped up in her arms every day as well. It's an ongoing fight to not pack up right now and tell her to come get me. "Let's skip the plan where you live alone and just move in together." I miss the cuddling. I miss the kissing. I want to be able to fall asleep with my sweet, beautiful Becky beside me. And I don;t ever want to lose her. Not to another man. Not to a disagreement. Not to death. Like my father, Becky needs to live forever.

That's not asking to much, is it?