Tuesday, 10 February 2015

life can, in fact, go on

I stood in the hospital lift by his bedside, next to the nurse, wondering if the smile and laugh was real or merely reflexive. 

'Hi, Dad.'

On a Wednesday, he went to hospital.  On a Thursday morning, my mother called, several times.  The last time, she told me to get my sister and get there, fast.  On a Thursday evening, I saw him in the high dependency unit, unresponsive to his family but grimacing in pain.  On a Friday morning, he slept easily but continuously, despite overheard whispers from staff of a difficult night.

On a Friday afternoon, I met the palliative care doctor.

They'd increased the steroids, but there was nothing further they could do but offer pain relief.


It was a Friday afternoon when he woke up.


It was simultaneously the worst and the most miraculous few days of my life.  We genuinely believed that he wasn't going to wake again; we wouldn't be speaking to him again.  In the early hours of Friday morning, I listened to hours of music in the warm dark of the bedroom, tears leaking down my face, holding a jersey I'd borrowed from his bedroom.  At 4am, I saw a light go on and Mum and I sat in the shared warm dark of the living room, drinking a cup of tea and quietly facing a new reality.  Friday afternoon and Saturday I lived on a euphoric rush of life, life, life

He was released on a Monday to travel to start the treatment regime.  He's not the Dad of life before diagnosis, nor is he even the Dad of life shortly after, but he's my Dad and he's alive.  He's alive

I am so profoundly grateful and yet I am utterly bereft and broken.  The reality is that there will be peaks and troughs in an inevitable downhill slide.  I thought I was talking realistically before when we were planning for one year, maybe two if we were lucky.  I now appreciate that to have him in July when the baby is born will be a gift, one we may not receive.   

I hate what this is doing to him.  I hate what this is doing to my mother. 


I'm struggling to write about it.  Apart from that brutal Thursday and the vulnerable days that followed, I'm ignoring the problem in everyday life.  In my own city, between visits and phone calls, I'm able to pretend that everything is fine.  I need the catharsis of writing and talking but I can't bring myself to indulge. 


I love him.

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