Sunday, June 24, 2012

On the nature of unintentional expertise

Michael entitled this blog "The Unintentional Expert" because he was in the process of becoming an expert in something that he'd never intended to study - cancer, or more precisely his own cancer and his journey through surgery, chemotherapy and ultimately his own death.

It's an apt title, because he acquired many kinds of expertise in his life, often without apparently intending to do so.

An example: During his long hospital stay in May 2012 for acute renal failure, he had dialysis. But unlike a lot of patients undergoing dialysis, he actually knew a lot about it, because at one point in his career, he spent a couple of years working for Gambro, a multinational health care company specializing in dialysis. He was a communications specialist, and he wrote articles for the newsletters that Gambro published. In the process, he learned a lot about liver dysfunction, so when he went in for acute renal failure, he knew what that was, and that it was better than chronic disease, because acute problems can be treated and possibly cured, while chronic problems are there to stay. He knew what the machines were going to look like, what the process was going to be, what was actually going on with his blood in the machine, and a host of other things.

He was like that. He learned things all the time, and he did so many things in his short life that it feels like I'm going to spend the rest of my life discovering new things about him. In a way, I'm becoming an unintentional expert myself, in the field of Michael.

I think that's a good thing.

- Kevin


Deborah in MN said...

Well done. You knew him exponentially far better than I did. I hope you will share more of what you knew and will learn. When someone you care a great deal about is gone, you remember them and can't quite believe they're not just a phone call or short drive away. Hearing stories about them is almost like getting to spend a little more time with them. Thanks.

Kari said...

Kevin, by sharing these stories, you may find it helps in your healing process as well. Please know you have people who are always willing to listen if you feel the need to share these memories. Take care.

TootsNYC said...

I'm not sure there's any true "healing"--as in, a cure--for losing Michael. It'll be more like chronic liver failure. But people live with that for a long time, and they have rich, happy experiences.

I love reading the stories.

Wendy said...

And I too can't wait to learn more about Michael through your stories. Today I went to a surprise birthday party for a friend of mine. I learned a lot about her today - all the stories her family and friends shared about her. It made me really glad to hear them today.


Dave Matheny said...

In other words, I think they're saying, keep it up!

Dave Matheny said...

I can even add a few words now and then.

lsikora said...

Kevin - this was a great memorial to Michael, and I would also enjoy it if you continued to post here- I know I would continue to follow...........

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