David Bruce: Be a Work of Art — Theater, Transplants

Theater

 • Lennox Robinson, an Irish actor-manager, once auditioned a middle-aged woman who wished to be an actress. She spoke a few lines from the “quality of mercy” speech by Portia in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, then said, “I think I’d do better without me teeth,” removed her teeth, and finished the speech. According to Mr. Robinson, “Auditions can sometimes be trying; one does not always discover genius.”

• Harley Granville-Barker was very sparing in giving praise as a theatrical director. When he was directing John Gielgud in King Lear, he would sometimes say, “You did some fine things today in that scene. I hope you know what they were.” Then he would give Mr. Gielgud a long list of the things he had done wrong!

• Lilian Baylis’ theatrical company was once invited to perform in the open air at Elsinore. Unfortunately, it rained and rained, and Ms. Baylis, who was always very concerned about her company, went to the door of her hotel, looked out at the rain, and then said indignantly, “This will have to stop.”

• While playing in the poor play Alice’s Boys, Sir Ralph Richardson once went to the front of the stage and asked, “Is there a doctor in the house?” After a man stood up and identified himself as a doctor, Sir Ralph asked him, “Doctor, isn’t this a terrible play?”

Transplants

• As Christmas 2009 drew near, Dawn Pflughaupt, age 37, was happy because she was cancer-free. A bone marrow transplant with her brother, Brock Pflughaupt, as donor cured her leukemia. She had found out that she had leukemia after feeling ill. Dawn said, “I had bruises and was tired, but I thought that was from working in the automotive industry.” She worked for Chrysler in Sedalia, MO. She went to the hospital and was at first diagnosed with a viral infection, but soon she received a telephone call. She said, “They told me I might bleed out if I didn’t come to the hospital.” That was when she learned that she had leukemia. One bad thing was that she had not spoken with most members of her family for over a decade, the result of some bad life choices that resulted in a prison term for her for selling marijuana. She said, “I was a good kid gone bad. I was on the wrong path, and I thought I was big, bad, tough, and strong.” However, Brock, her brother, kept talking to her. She said, “He was always checking up on me, and he always let me know when there was a graduation or wedding.” Her father had died in 2005, but the other members of her family rallied around her. Dawn said, “That was hard: Knowing I was sick and I never talked to him before he died.” She began chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Her sister, Tara Wolfe, stayed by her side. Dawn said, “We rekindled our relationship, and Tara dropped everything to be with me.” Tara volunteered to be a bone-marrow donor for Dawn, but she was not a match. Things were going badly for Dawn, who said, “It was rough and hard. I had no immune system, and I was crying blood and delusional.” Brock then volunteered to be a bone-marrow donor for her. Dawn said, “Brock and I are like twins, as much as we look alike.” He was a 99.98 percent match, the transplant took place, and it cured Dawn’s leukemia. Before the transplant took place, Brock endured a series of injections that turned his platelets into white blood cells. Dawn said, “He was so stiff and sore. He was walking around like the Michelin Man.” She added, “He’s my hero.” Dawn and Brock’s mother, Jacqui, said, “I’m not one bit surprised by my son’s actions. It’s in his DNA.” She added, “His father would be so proud.” Brock said simply, “That’s just what family does.” Dawn is now cancer-free: “There are no words to describe how I feel. All I can do to thank Brock is appreciate life and live it to the fullest.” The family members are now close. Jacqui said, “Families have ins and outs. Sometimes God taps you on the shoulder, and sometimes He takes a baseball bat to the side of your head. We got the baseball bat.” Brock registered for the National Bone Marrow Registry. He said about donating his bone marrow, “It hurt, but it won’t deter me from donating again.”

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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