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Entry 31 Bioethics for Lunch

Thursday we discussed the Consumer Price Index in economics. This was interesting and I enjoyed myself. It was not until I got to geometry that I saw one very anxious Koli. The poor girl lookd like she was going to burst. I'd love to ask her what's the matter, but we've got trips to the board. We've graduated to doing real proofs so there is fun in checking out every bdoy's work. I remember the more complex proofs that we do for math team as well. The "we" is Lenny, Atalaya, and me. Koli prefers Model UN where the country our school repressents is Chad.

Koli says Chad is a joke of a country. She says it is one of the few (there may be others. In fact there is at least one other) countries on the face of the earth with a name that is a four letter word. Atalaya has pointed out that Chad is Tchad in French so the four letter word t hing does not hold up but then again shit is merde in French so go figure.

Finally, it was lunch time and Koli burst: "Thanks for that pretty bean salad your mother brought last night."

"You ate some?" I asked and then I felt woefully stupid.

"Of course I did," she answered. "But some of the little kids wouldn't try it. You know how little kids are."

I thought of Stasch. Then suddenly I thought of the poor grandmother. She was so very sick, it was kind of overwhelming. "I'm sorry about your grandma," I stammered.

"You don't have to be. She's been sick that way for a couple of years. They thought she'd be dead in three months. What did the stupid doctors know? I think they'll kill her one day in Louisville."

"You don't trust doctors?" asked Josh whose father is a surgeon.

"Why should I. They just want to poke and prod you and get paid for it."

"Doctors save lives," answered Joshua quite affronted.

"That's the good part, but there's the other part too," Koli was not going to let Josh win this one.

"What's the other part?" Joshua was starting to get mad.

"Doctors just go through the motions and don't really cure anybody except a few lucky people like if you have a broken leg or are a kid with a strepped throat."

"It's strep throat," complained Josh.

"That's what I said," Koli answered. "Strepped throat. Now the doctors for my grandma, they just shoot her full of radiation and give her medicines but nothing makes her better. It just keeps her alive and sick and making everyone else miserable and tired taking care of her."

"So what should the doctors do for your grandmother?" asked Josh.

"Tell her the fucking truth or tell my mother the fucking truth real blunt: Grandma isn't going to get better and if we treat her with the radiation and chemo, she'll just stay alive and sick. She's lived long enough and should just have pain killers and no more trips to Louisville."

"What if grandma wants treatment?" asked Josh.

"Well, then I guess she should get it, but she's not really competent any more. Besides that if the doctors quit lying then maybe my parents and grandma would all just get the painkillers and no more treatments. I'll miss grandma, but not the sick person she's been the last few years."

Joshua sighed. Atalaya shook her head and put an arm around Koli. Joshua rolled his eyes. "My dad calls all this stuff, bioethics," he told me. "It's very complicated."

"Do doctors really lie?" I asked Josh.

"No. It's just that they want to be successful so they can't just give up. It's against human nature."

I don't answer. I'm glad I still have four healthy grandparents.. Clare's mother is the last of Koli's grandparents. Imagine losing all your grandparents before you finish high school. That has to be really awful.

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