Saturday, December 01, 2012

The Day the World Changed

I don't know when your world changed, but mine changed - and not for the first time - on December 9th, 2008, which is when the Communist died.

It changed again last Tuesday.  My mother had a scan at the hospital on Monday to find out about the cough.  She had a cold and it turned to a cough and, in spite of two courses of antibiotics, the cough wouldn't shift.

The hospital said that we would get the results in seven to ten days - - unless they found something.

They found something.  We were summoned to the GP on Tuesday to get the bad news.

The cold had been a red herring.  The fluid on Mum's lungs was caused by cancer somewhere in her abdomen.  They don't know where yet, or how far it has spread: she has a "CT scan-aided biopsy" on Tuesday to find out.

This means that she has another scan which shows them where the tumour is, and they take a sample of it, under local anaesthetic, so that they can find out where it is and how aggressive it is and decide what to do next.

Of course, I help to train doctors in breaking bad news.  And I knew it must be bad news, of course, before we got there, because we had been summoned, and because I was becoming deeply suspicious of the cough.  I couldn't help observing and assessing how the GP broke the news.

He was trying very hard, but just not doing terribly well.  He had a strong foreign accent and a lisp as well so poor Mum couldn't hear a word that he was saying.  After a bit of him yelling "YOU HAVE A TUMOUR IN YOUR TUMMY!" I took to repeating everything he said in a way that Mum could understand.

"Tummy" is a word that should never, ever be used in a medical consultation and when I'm in charge of everything I'm going to ban it.  It is Meaningless Baby-Talk.  I knew that by "tummy" he didn't mean "stomach" - - he meant "somewhere in her abdomen".

So after he'd said "tummy" to me a few times I drew myself up to my full height and said, probably slightly pompously, "I do some work for the Yorkshire Cancer Network so I do have some idea of what you're talking about."

Mum's gentleman friend was there too and is being absolutely brilliant in looking after her and keeping her cheerful.  She's simply not able to eat really so has lost a stone in the past month - - and she was pretty tiny to start with.

My mother is eighty-eight.  She has had a long life and has been astonishingly fit and well for almost all of it.  So this is sad, but it shouldn't be seen as a tragedy.  I know that.

However, it feels pretty bloody tragic to me.  My world has changed.  Oh yes.





6 Comments:

Blogger Alex said...

So moving..thinking of you all Daphne.

9:38 am  
Blogger Helsie said...

So sorry to hear this news Daphne. I gather from the way you write about her that you are very close to your mother. I guess even if you weren't it would be bad news. I have my fingers crossed for you that some news is good and something can be done about it but treating these things is never easy or pleasant.
All I can say is "Bugger !!!"

11:14 am  
Blogger Jennyta said...

I am so sorry to hear this, Daphne. Such a shock for you all. From what you have written in the past about your mum, she seemed indestructible. She is lucky in that she has you to fight her corner and make sure she gets the best of attention.

1:39 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

There's little I can say. I know that you love your mother very much and hope that as she begins her departure from the living world she is not wracked by physical pain. You will need to be a rock for her as you cherish these precious days ahead.

9:44 pm  
Blogger Mike Deakin said...

So sorry to hear your news... Having lost two parents in one year I know exactly how you feel x

7:56 pm  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

So sorry to hear this, Daphne. I think Jennyta and Yorkshire Pudding have outlined your role perfectly for the days ahead. I would add only be strong and take courage. You and your mum will be in our thoughts daily.

11:26 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home