This week I talked to a lawyer about the possibility of bringing a suit against my urologist for medical negligence. It’s a non-starter, partly because at least in my state, maybe nationally, there’s a one-year statute of limitations for malpractice. Unless I find out that the pain in my side really is being caused by a forgotten forceps, I have to let it go. The other factor is that I’ve had four urologists, trying to find one that’s human and humane, at two different practices and three different hospitals. The lawyer said they’d all come en masse, in white coats, and the jury would fawn all over them.
He sounded like a nice guy, listened to the whole story of the past five years, and wondered why I hadn’t bought an Uzi.
I had such high hopes. The money would have been most welcome, but mostly I just want to hurt someone who hurt me. I’m not a violent woman; I don’t own a gun. The worst I will say of myself is that I think of cruel things to say, and make sure I don’t say them.
But decades ago, I was a judge for college speech tournaments. I sat in on a round of prose because one of our students was performing, and I wanted to hear him. I’d seen him on stage, and he was good. Too good. He did a piece about Vietnam, and it included one story I haven’t forgotten. A young man serving there somehow got a puppy. Every night, he twisted the puppy’s paw until it cried. He said he wanted something else to hurt the way he was hurting. Fortunately, he knew this was not the sort of man he wanted to be, and gave away the puppy.
I have never twisted an animal’s paw to relieve some of my own pain. But I understand the impulse. The now impossible lawsuit wasn’t just about money. I wanted retribution. No, I want it. Now, still, sitting here on a sunny day with a pain in my side.
I called the lawyer because the talented young man grew up and we became friends. He told me to call, fearing that if I didn’t, the whole thing would eat at me like an acid. Now I am trying to focus on the good things—I do not have to spend time or emotional energy on a court case. I am still in remission. I have friends, food, shelter, and a life that lets me indulge in naps.
With this post, I am letting it go.