Dr. Ronald Paquette’s stature as a research oncologist, professor, and physician looms much larger than his slight, hurried presence in the stairways and hallways of the UCLA medical center, where he is usually little more than a smiling blur as he runs through his domain, making hurried contact with patients whose futures, together with his decisions, are profoundly entwined. His previous meetings with Aaron were quick, intermittent, and pretty much observational, as Aaron’s awareness was mostly absent and his immediate needs were being met by those whose goal was to restore that which the enemy destroyed. Dr. Paquette’s goal is to destroy the enemy.
At his first scheduled meeting with Aaron on Wednesday morning, he looks at Aaron and decides he needs more time to robustify before starting the next round of poisons, “consolidation”. For 4 days (unlike the previous 7), beginning on July 24th, poisons will again flood his body in relentless pursuit of the hidden enemy.
Aaron continues to improve unabated. He has gained a couple pounds and does not have quite the Auschwitz look. Exhaustion is continuous, nausea comes in intermittent waves. He has his first burger on Wednesday. The resulting nausea tempers enjoyment.
A fundraiser for Aaron (even good medical insurance leaves much undone) is scheduled for next Saturday at Lake Casitas in the beautiful and of late rather toasty Ojai Valley. It is sponsored in part by Aaron’s employer, New Leads, by the Ojai Valley Wesleyan Chuch where Aaron moonlights as youth pastor, and by the Ojai Valley Baptist church.
A troubled world would do well to peek in on Ojai, where community is more than a concept. A unity that flows from diversity among Ojai’s “competing” churches testifies that at least some things in this world are as they ought to be.