I sat next to him in the hospital room, waiting for the doctors to come in. It was obvious that something was wrong with him for quite some time, and every one wanted to talk about it, except for him. The silence was almost unbearable, and it seemed like words only made things worse.

Finally, a knock on the door, and the doctor steps in. In his white coat and tie, he seemed so professional, like someone who would finally have the knowledge to give us the answers. I was anxious to hear what he said, and quickly stood up at his arrival, but Bill didn't even glance up at his coming in.

As he engaged Bill in some conversation about his symptoms, it was quite clear by Bill's short gruff answers that he did not desire to discuss the problem.

Finally the doctor turned to address me, and Bill returned to his magazine. He always read those magazines, but never did anything with them. But that is how he lived his life. Always learning how to do new things, but never doing them. Meeting new people, then never seeing them again. Asking people how he could pray for them, and then never praying.

The doctor goes into great detail about Bill's problem. It is quite clear what is wrong, and the steps Bill must take to get healthy. He has to clean his life up, and get rid of the things in his life that were killing him. The bad habits and the vices he had were obvious,and it was all catching up with him. He managed to write off the illness as due to other factors. His wife, his family, his neighbors, and friends all took the blame at one time or another. He changed doctors many times, thinking that they were just out to get him, and they didn't understand what the real problem was. All the people around him. But here he sat in the hospital, a shell of his former healthy self. He used to be someone that people used to enjoy being around. He used to draw large crowds to his house. But one by one the people that he cared for left him, unable to put up with his lies, deceit, blaming, and refusal to face the problems. Now, not matter how big of a party he put on, how many people he invited, how much advertising he did, no one wanted to be around him any more.

As the doctor finished talking, describing the problem and how to fix it, I turned to look at Bill. He was listening. I know he was. But I could tell he didn't care. Because of my stupidity or sympathy or whatever you want to call it, I was the last one who cared about him. The doctor finished and looked at Bill with great sadness, and then turned and left the room. I knew that look. I had given it many times. And I had seen it given to Bill many more times than I could count. A look that saw all of the potential, the wasted life. It saw the man behind all the illness. It was a look that faced the reality that this man would never take the steps to be healthy again.

I asked Bill if he was going to do the things that the doctor told him to. I don't know why. I knew the answer. But part of me really believed that this time he would listen. I asked and just knew that this would be the time.

"No" he said. "That doctor doesn't understand my problem. That might be the case with other people, but not with me. I think that I'm fine the way I am."

After that, I sat back in my chair. I had cared all I could. I had given all the advice I could. I had spoken the truth to him to many times to count. And now all I could do was to sit here with the power to cure him in my hands and watch him die. Because he wouldn't listen.


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