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May 22nd, 2008
11:01 AM ET

Kennedy: Public pain, public pressure?

Cate Vojdik
360° Writer

The pictures showing Senator Ted Kennedy surrounded by his family in a Boston hospital catapulted me back eight years to a hospital in Michigan. Thankfully, there were no cameras around when my 75-year-old father, a lifelong smoker, learned that he had Stage IV lung cancer, a terminal diagnosis.

On that spring day, my mother, sister and I sat next to Dad’s hospital bed, numb with sadness, trying to absorb what the doctors, who formed a ring of white coats around us, were saying. I can’t imagine being in the glare of the media spotlight at such a time.

In the photos released Tuesday Kennedy and his loved ones are smiling, putting up a brave front. I can’t know, of course, what went on in the senator’s hospital room during his stay but I have a pretty good idea.

Hearing a doctor tell your father he has life-threatening cancer feels like a punch in the gut. Once you hear “cancer” everything else goes soft, as if someone has hit the mute button. Ordinary time is suspended. A blur of tests and treatment plans begins. Life as you know it ends, even as you try to act like everything will be okay.

It’s natural to put on a brave face, to rally for your loved one. You desperately want to reassure him when you see fear in his eyes. For most of us, this is a painful private exercise.

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Filed under: Sen. Ted Kennedy
May 22nd, 2008
10:17 AM ET

A Sister Found; An Abuse Uncovered

Editor's Note: David Fitzpatrick was part of a CNN investigation into just how easy it is to purchase prescription drugs online without a prescription. Read a report on this investigation at CNN.com/health. He share's his personal experience here:

Editor's note:

Nancy Fitzpatrick

Nancy Fitzpatrick

David Fitzpatrick
CNN Special Investigations Unit

For more than 16 years, I had been out of touch with my sister, Nancy. One day in 1992, she simply disappeared from her California home. She left her two children, her husband, who then was in the early stages of Multiple Sclerosis, and all of her friends and family. There was no note, no phone call, nothing.

The last physical record I had of her movements was a rental car credit bill, charged to one of my cards from Las Vegas, Nevada. She vanished without a trace. Working for CBS News at the time, I tried to track her down through police, county sheriff’s offices, state authorities in California and Nevada but without success. As the months and then years went by, I kept in touch with her children, then in their early 20s. As far as I could tell, she made no effort to contact them.

I became convinced that Nancy, two years younger than I, was dead. She was either the victim of a random criminal act or had died of natural causes.

In early March of this year, the phone rang at our home outside of New York City. I wasn’t there. I was in Washington, D.C. on assignment. But it was a phone call that would change my life.

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May 22nd, 2008
07:32 AM ET

Morning Buzz

Morning folks...

If Obama is the indeed the Democratic nominee, he has his work cut out for him among a few voting blocks...In Pennslyvania, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia and in the lastest contest, Kentucky, he consistently has had problems with "white" working-class voters. Nearly half of the state's Democratic voters said they'd either vote for Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, or not vote at all in November if Obama is on the ticket. NOT GOOD..

Today Obama spends the day in Florida, courting the "Jewish" vote, potentially yet another big problem for Obama. Many Jewish folks don’t like him or don’t think he will represent their interests well. AND John McCain isnt helping. Yesterday he started running ads attacking Obama on the topic, and keeps reminding people that Obama wants to "talk" to Ahmadinejad, and the points out Ahmadinejad ants to wipe Israel off the map, NOT helpful. Candy Crowley has the raw politics...

AND exit polls from Tuesday's contest ALSO show that Democratic Christians are NOT huge fans of Obama's either. Why? Tom Foreman digs deeper into that

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Filed under: The Buzz
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