All gathered this terrible body – the thirteenth, cancerous. Persecuted and persecuted, silent and vigorous, hard workers and money-grubbers – they collected and depersonalized everyone, all of them are now only seriously ill, torn from the habitual situation, rejected and rejected all the familiar and native. They do not have anybody else’s house, no life else. They come here with pain, with doubt – cancer or not, live or die? However, nobody thinks about death, it is not. Ephraim, with a bandaged neck, walks and tires of “Sikivero our business”, but he does not think about death, in spite of the fact that the bandages rise higher and higher, and the doctors keep silent – he does not want to believe in death and does not believe. He was old, for the first time released his illness and now he will let go. Rusanov Nikolai Pavlovich – a responsible employee, who dreams of a well-deserved personal pension. It got here by accident, if you really need to go to the hospital, then not this one, where such barbarous conditions are (neither to you a separate ward, nor to specialists and care, which is proper to his position). Yes, and the fellow climbed up in the ward, one Ogloyed of what is worth – exiled, rude and simulant.
A Kostoglotov (Ogloedom it all the same astute Rusanov called) and he does not consider himself sick. Twelve days ago, he crawled into the clinic not sick – dying, and now he even dreams of having
A wonderful way to recover with tea from chaga (birch mushroom) revived and interested all cancer patients, tired, disbelieved. But not such a person Oleg Kostoglotov, to disclose all his secrets with these free., But not taught “wisdom of life’s sacrifices,” who can not throw everything unnecessary, superfluous and treated…
Believing in all folk remedies (here and chaga, and issyk-kul root – aconitum), Oleg Kostoglotov treats all “scientific” interference in his organism with great waryness, than he does much to the treating doctors Vera Kornilyevna Gangart and Lyudmila Afanasyevna Dontsova. With the last Ogliad, everything breaks into a frank conversation, but Lyudmila Afanasyevna, “conceding in the small” (canceling one session of radiotherapy), with medical cunning immediately prescribes a “small” injection of synestrol, a medicine that, as Oleg later found out, that only joy in life, what remained to him, after fourteen years of deprivation, which he experienced every time he met Vega (Vera Gangart). Does the doctor have the right to cure the patient at any cost? Should the patient and wants to survive at any cost? Oleg Kostoglotov can not discuss this with Vera Gangart at all his desire. Vega’s blind faith in science encounters Oleg’s confidence in the forces of nature, man, in his own strength. And they both make concessions: Vera Kornilevna asks, and Oleg pours out the infusion of the root, agrees to a blood transfusion, to the injection, which destroys, it would seem, the last joy that is available to Oleg on earth. The joy of loving and being loved.
And Vega accepts this sacrifice: self-denial is so much in the nature of Vera Gangart that she can not imagine another life. After fourteen deserts of loneliness in the name of her only love, which began very early and tragically cut short, after fourteen years of madness for the sake of the boy who called her Vega and died in the war, she was only now fully convinced of her rightness, today she acquired a new, finished meaning her long-term loyalty. Now, when a man who, like her, has borne years of hardship and loneliness on her shoulders, like her, who is not bent under this weight and therefore so close, native, understanding and understandable, it is worth living for such a meeting!
Much must survive and change your mind before you come to this understanding of life, not everyone is given this. So Zoyenka, the bee-Zoyenka, no matter how she likes Kostoglotov, will not even sacrifice her nurses’ place, and she herself will try to protect herself from a man with whom you can kiss secretly from everyone in the corridor dead end, but you can not create real family happiness with children, embroidery floss, pads and many more and many other joys available). The same height with Vera Kornilievna, Zoya is much denser, because it seems larger, more sedate. And in their relations with Oleg, there is no such fragility, understatement, which reigns between Kostoglotov and Gangart. As a future doctor, Zoya (a medical student) perfectly understands the “doom” of the patient Kostoglotov. It is she who opens his eyes to the mystery of the new injection, registered by Dontsova. And again, like the pulsation of veins, is it worth living after such? Is it worth it? ..
And Lyudmila Afanasyevna herself is no longer convinced of the impeccability of the scientific approach. Once, fifteen to twenty years ago, radiotherapy, saved so many lives, seemed to be a universal method, just a find for oncologists. And only now, in the last two years, patients, former patients of oncological clinics began to appear, with obvious changes in those places where especially strong doses of radiation were applied. And now Lyudmila Afanasyevna has to write a report on the topic of “radiation sickness” and to sort out in memory the cases of the return of “radiation”. Yes, and her own pain in the stomach, a symptom familiar to her as an oncologist diagnosed, suddenly shook her former confidence, determination and domination. Is it possible to raise the question of the right of a doctor to be treated? No, here Kostoglotov is obviously not right, but this does not calm Lyudmila Afanasyevna. Depression – this is the state in which the doctor Dontsova is, that’s what really starts to bring her closer, so unattainable before, with her patients. “I did what I could, but I’m hurt and I’m falling, too.”
The tumor was already asleep in Rusanov, but neither this joy nor relief brings him this news. Too much was made to think about his illness, made him stop and look around. No, he does not doubt the correctness of the life he has lived, but others can not understand, do not forgive (neither the anonymous letters, nor the signals that he was simply obliged to send on duty, on the debt of an honest citizen, finally). Yes, not so much he was worried by others (for example, Kostoglotov, but what does he know about life in general: Ogloyed, one word!), How many children do they have: how do they explain everything? One hope for daughter Aviet: that is right, the pride of his father, clever. Hardest of all with his son Yurka: he is too gullible and naive, spineless. Sorry for him, how to live something so spineless.
It reminds one of Rusanov one of the conversations in the ward, even at the beginning of the treatment. The main speaker was Ephraim: after stopping itching, he read a book for a long time, slipped him Kostoglotov, thought for a long time, did not say anything, and then he said: “What does a man live by?” Content, specialty, homeland (native places), air, bread, water – many different assumptions showered. And only Nikolai Pavlovich confidently minted: “People live by ideology and public good.” The moral of the book, written by Leo Tolstoy, turned out to be quite “not ours”. Liu-bo-vu… For a kilometer bears slyuntyaystvom! Ephraim reflected, yearned, and left the chamber, without uttering another word. It was not so obvious that he seemed to be wrong with a writer whose name he had never heard before. They discharged Ephraim, and a day later they brought him back from the station, under the sheet.
Whoever is not going to succumb to his illness, his grief, his own fear is Demka, who absorbs everything, about what would be said in the ward. He experienced a lot in his sixteen years: his father threw his mother (and Demka does not blame him, because she “got busted”), the mother was not at all until her son, and he, despite everything, tried to survive, to learn, to get to his feet. The only joy left was an orphan – football. For it, he suffered: a blow to the leg – and cancer. For what? Why? A boy with a too adult face, a hard look, not a talent (according to Vadim, a neighbor in the ward), but very diligent, thoughtful. He reads (much and stupidly), does (and so much is missed), dreams of going to college to create literature (because he loves truth, his “social life is very kindle”). Everything for him for the first time: and reasoning about the meaning of life, and a new unusual view on religion (Aunt Stefa, who is not ashamed to cry), and the first bitter love (and that – hospital, hopeless). But so much is the desire to live in it, that the leg that was taken away seems to be a successful outcome: more time for study (you do not have to run for dances), you will receive disability benefits (there will be enough for bread, but without sugar), and most importantly – it is alive!
And Demkin’s love, Asenka, struck him with impeccable knowledge of all life. As if only from the rink, or from the dance floor, or from the movie, this girl jumped for five minutes to the clinic, just to check, but here, beyond the walls of cancer, and remained all her conviction. Who is she now, one-breasted, need to be, from all her life experience only came out: there is no need to live now! Perhaps the demo said why: he thought of something for a long treatment-teaching (the life doctrine, as Kostoglotov admonished, is the only true teaching), but it does not add up in words.
And all the swimsuits of Asenkina are left untouched and not bought, all Rusanov’s questionnaires are untested and unfinished, all the construction works of Efremov are unfinished. The whole “order of world things” was recuperated. The first death with the disease crushed Dontsov like a frog. Doctor Oreshchenkov no longer recognizes his beloved pupil, looks and looks at her confusion, realizing how modern man is helpless before the face of death. Dormidont Tikhonovich himself for years of medical practice (and clinical, and advisory, and private practice), for many years of losses, and especially after the death of his wife, seemed to understand something of his own, different in this life. And this manifested itself different above all in the eyes of the doctor, the main “tool” of communication with patients and students. In his glance, and to this day closely-firm, the reflection of some renunciation is noticeable. The old man does not want anything, only a copper plate on the door and a bell accessible to any passerby. From Lyudochka, he expected greater firmness and endurance.
Always assembled Vadim Zatyrko, who for life spent a lifetime afraid to spend in inactivity, the month lies in the ward of the cancerous corps. Month – and he is no longer convinced of the need to perform a feat worthy of his talent, leave people after him a new method of searching for ores and die a hero (twenty-seven years old – Lermontov’s age!).
The general despondency that reigns in the ward is not disrupted even by the varied variability of patients: descends into the surgical demo and two newcomers appear in the ward. The first took Demkin’s bunk – in the corner, by the door. Filin – baptized him, Nikolayevich, proud himself with his discernment. And the truth is, this patient is like an old, wise bird. Very stooping, with a worn face, with convex edematous eyes – “ward silent”; life seems to have taught him only one thing: to sit quietly and listen to everything that was said in his presence. The librarian, who had once graduated from the Agricultural Academy, a Bolshevik from the seventeenth year, a participant in the Civil War, a disowned person – that’s who this lonely old man is. Without friends, his wife died, the children forgot, even more lonely made him sick – rejected, defending the idea of moral socialism in a dispute with Kostoglotov, despising himself and life spent in silence. All this is learned by the one who loved to listen and hear Kostoglotov on a sunny spring day… Something unexpected, joyful cramps the chest to Oleg Kostoglotov. It began on the eve of discharge, delighted thoughts about Vega, pleased the forthcoming “liberation” from the clinic, encouraged new unexpected news from the newspapers, and nature itself, pleased, finally broke through, with bright sunny days, green with the first timid greens.
Pleased to return to eternal reference, in the dear native Ush-Terek. There, where the family of Kadmin lives, the happiest people of all whom he met for his life. In his pocket there are two pieces of paper with the addresses of Zoe and Vega, but intolerably great for him, who has survived a lot and from many refused, it would be such simple, such earthly happiness. After all, there is already an unusually gentle blossoming apricot in one of the courtyards of the abandoned city, there is a spring pink morning, a proud goat, an antelope nilgau and a beautiful distant star Vega… Than people are alive.