The Next Appointment

Tomorrow, I will go with my father to hospital.

It could be nothing serious. A minor thyroid problem, perhaps. But it doesn’t look like nothing.
He’s not in pain. He’s not feeling ill, or over-tired or any other noticable effects. The doctors who looked at it had him X-rayed and appointments were made, but there was no urgent rush to get him to a hospital. This should be a relief. But, to look at it… Just at the base of his neck and the top of his chest, a lump emerged almost overnight that measures eight inches one way, ten inches another, and sticks out enough to be clearly visible under clothing like a balled fist under his flesh. The doctors didn’t seem too worried, but I’ve been deluding myself that I’m not terrified.

Tomorrow’s appointment is with a doctor he sees regularly anyway, but I’m hoping whatever this is, it doesn’t have anything to do with this doctor. Not that I don’t like or trust him, he’s part of a team that has helped save my father’s life with the work they do. I don’t want this to fall under his area of expertese, because that would mean it’s myeloma. Cancer. Again.

In the many months since I last wrote here, my father not only beat Myeloma once, but had it come back for seconds, and again be kicked into touch. But he was already a man struggling to recover from a punishing illness that landed him in hospital, catching pneumonia and fighting to live. Since then, he has made strong steps to recover, but at seemingly every point where he can advance, he is met with another obstacle. He has been given the all clear to have his knees replaced every year for the last three, but every time he’s been all set, something has happened to scupper it.
I want him to be able to live. To be able to get about without discomfort, without pain, without some new illness keeping him in his chair in his house that he never leaves, save one trip a week to get a paper and endless journeys to see medical professionals.

It could be nothing serious.
The doctors’ decision not to rush him to hospital should reassure me of this. His lack of additional symptoms or pain should calm me.
But it doesn’t.
It’s the not knowing. And it’s seeing something with an eight inch diameter that sticks out of his chest as far as his nose sticks out of his face.
After what happened to him, he’s afraid of being admitted to a hospital again. He is afraid. As am I.
I’m afraid of illness following him for the few years he has left until something claims him, until he’s just too tired to keep his elderly body fighting. He was so strong, and he still is; two attacks from myeloma – one with pneumonia on top – few people of his advancing years could come out the other side breathing.
But I want him to be free of constant appointments, to outrun this constant dark cloud of treatment. I want him to be able to catch a break. I want us both to be able to escape, to live.

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