Thursday, April 06, 2006

R.I.P. Catherine Davis, 1966-2006

Dixie continues to recover well. Early reports indicate that he has yelled at least one nurse, surely a good sign.

And yet… Just as I was feeling like I could exhale after weeks of months of holding my breath, I got hit by a sucker punch to the solar plexus this morning.

I found out that my friend Tom Davis’ wife Cathy passed away last night, succumbing to cancer at Portland hospital. .

It is really hard for me to accept, believe, digest. She was sitting downstairs eating dumplings with us a couple of months ago, a tall, athletic woman exactly our age. She said she was having persistent lower back pain and doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. She otherwise felt good.

I just feel like there has been a mistake, like they took the wrong person.

I feel so devastated and so close to Cathy and yet I only met her a couple of times and spent one real evening speaking with her. But I know Tom very well, and I know that the two of them were a very, very special pair who shared an incredible bond and were only forces of goodness in the world.

How many of you think of yourselves as pretty good people? Now how many of you would adopt a two-year-old girl knowing that within a year she would have to have bother of her legs amputated? It’s not a decision many of us could or would make but it’s what Tom a nd Cathy did with their beautiful three-year-old daughter Sudha, in the process saving her from a life of unthinkable misery in the streets of India. They were beginning the process of adopting a disabled child here as well.

Aside from complete befuddlement and anger at the cosmos, this whole situation fills me with incredible anger towards Boeing, Cathy’s employee, who took a horrible situation and seemed to go out of their way to make it worse.

They blocked her from going home to receive medical treatment for a couple of months. The gatekeeper doctor there patronized her, the first woman to ever hold such a position in the company, saying, “You’re under a lot of stress, honey. Take a week off.”

Her boss here finally made up a conference so she could go home and get checked out. She was diagnosed within hours of landing in Seattle, after months of going to the hospital here because of various unexplained pains. Don’t even get me started on that medical incompetence.

Then Boeing told them they had to get out of the house here by April 15 since she was no longer working here. That’s why Tom came her last week to close things out. Cathy took a turn for the worse while he was gone. He missed five of her last 10 days or whatever. And that just fills me with hatred and bile towards Boeing. I understand that nothing could have saved her, but both Boeing and the hospital here failed to do the things that could have eased her and her family’s suffering.

I really can’t overstate how upset I am about this whole thing and how sad I feel for Tom and his daughters. I don’t really believe in heaven as a real place, but I like the idea of Cathy sitting on a cloud right now listening to John Rummler play a song as they look down on their kids.

I am working to set up a fund for disabled orphans here in Cathy’s name.