“Someday, There’ll be A Cure for Pain.”
November 21, 2006
The doctors say that they can’t be sure how long she has to live. The cancer’s primary origin is unknown. In private, Dr. Kupchella informed me that they have little hope of curing the disease, though they claim that their treatments and capabilities would suffice to help her live out what time she has left in comfort. They can’t do anything. These useless fucking doctors: the very same useless fucking doctors who’ve looked her over time and time again. They’re telling me that it’s in her head. They’re saying that it’s nothing more than a minor headache, or that perhaps an operation on her pancreas might be necessary. Finally, Dr. Kupchella had the guts to tell it to me straight.
“John, we can’t be sure how long she has left. It’s definitely cancer. We believe the cancer to be adenocarcinoma. We can’t be sure where it originated, and that makes it difficult to work for a cure, although the treatments could help her quality of life through the time that she has left.”
I think of Janine lying on a bed; balding, too weak to walk, mumbling her beautiful words incomprehensibly. Too weak to talk… that won’t do. I can’t live without her, and I’ve decided that I won’t. Today I put cameras up in every room in our house. I spent our savings to date on microphones, and the right kind of computer. If she goes, she’ll still be here with me in my heart.
December 28, 2006
Janine collapsed today. Against her wishes to remain in these walls for the last of her days, I’ve been forced to take her to the hospital. They can’t treat her without her own consent, but if I keep pressuring her into it, she might accept the treatments. Today Dr. Kupchella asked me about the video camera I was putting up beside her hospital bed. I told him of my recordings, that I need something to keep her with me when she’s gone. I could tell that he understood my heartache. I’m confident that he’s the best we could get, that if anyone could do something for her, he could. He seemed very interested in my recordings of Janine. He actually asked some questions a little more explicit than I wanted to talk about. Regardless, I told him about everything.
I’ve recorded every moment of Janine’s life for the last month, from our love making to grocery shopping. I told her what I was doing after I put the cameras up around the house. She was uncomfortable with it. She stiffens up a little bit with the camera, although I’ve assured her that I wouldn’t show the intimate tapes to anyone ever. I can’t come to terms with reality right now, everyday life is just so difficult, and I’ve taken a leave from my job at the factory so that I could be there as much as possible. It just isn’t right that she be taken from me before we see our grandchildren, or even children for that matter. I’m praying for a miracle.
January 3, 2007
Dr. Kupchella told me about an idea today that I can’t get out of my mind. He told it to me while Janine was recuperating from her chemotherapy session today. I have the recording, so I can dictate it perfectly from what he said.
“John, you should keep recording Janine’s life.” He paused here for a moment; I could tell he was having trouble finding the words for what he wanted to say. “Now you know that there’s a very slim chance, if any that we could… save her… right John?”
“Yes Doctor, I’m aware. Why?”
“I haven’t told you this John, but I also had a bit of schooling in computers. In fact, I have a doctorate in computer science, and worked a bit in school with the idea of computer generated personalities. John, imagine having Janine with you forever, with no fear of her imminent death.”
“Doctor, she isn’t dead yet, what are you getting on about?”
“I know, John, but it’s unlikely that she’ll live. I’m very much trying to help you right now, John. I’ve been working in private for years on this idea, John. I believe that, given the proper footage, the kind of data that’s so extensive it would encapsulate the entirety of a person’s life in a recording. I believe that we could recreate her. Her insides would be different; mechanic, but with your consent, you’ll never have to lose her, John. In college I had a professor who presented the idea of a computer designed personality. His theory was that if we knew a person’s memories, movements, work, and everyday life, that we could build a computerized exoskeleton, with synthetic skin. This recreation would have to be a very precise science, and even something more than a science, this skeleton could functionally hold her organs in place, it’s the kind of work that only a scientist, and a doctor could envision… John, it would be as if nothing ever changed.”
The look in his eyes as he explained this was incomprehensible. There was a lot of anguish in his voice; I wonder if he himself has dealt with something similar? At the same time, his compassion told me that this wasn’t about him; I think that he really is trying to help us. Janine’s religious, so I don’t think she’d want to do it. God, it’s the only thing that could keep me going, how can I not? I hope that God can forgive me for going over his head.
February 26, 2007
The last two months have been the worst hell I could ever feel. Janine died on Thursday February 15, 2007. She collapsed walking to our bed at 129 Martha Lane, in Johnstown, PA. It was 9:30 PM, and I caught her before she hit the floor. Her last words were “You’ll see me again darling, I love you forever.” She mumbled these words to me in her hospital bed. “I love you forever,” that was the inscription I had put on her headstone. My parents, my sister, her father, and Dr. Kupchella were the only ones who attended the burial. Dr. Kupchella drove me to the funeral, and back home. We’ve become close friends, and I gave him all of my material as soon as we arrived home from the burial. She was buried at Grandview Cemetery, and I hold a plot for myself to be buried next to her someday. Dr. Kupchella says that it will take time, but that Janine’s organs were preserved properly, and that he’s confident that there’s a chance at success in re-creating her with the data that we’d compiled. “You’ll see me again,” she said. She had to have known about the doctor’s and my discussions. This isn’t wrong, she’ll be mine again.