For all those who read my post Dad and I…One of the better days, we finally have an answer.
The answer isn’t good, and yet there is a peace and calm at home; the kind of peace one gets at reaching the end of a long, arduous journey. Its not the satisfaction of the destination as much as seeing the sign-board that says, “You have reached your destination.”
4 months of numerous visits to the urologist, neurologist, nephrologist and finally the right doctor : the gastroenterologist. Following multiple MRI scans, colonoscopies, some more MRI scans and some more colonoscopies and finally… the cat is out of the bag. It’s the dreaded “C” – an answer to the inexplicable weight loss, the continued constipation and dad’s change in behavior and frustration with all those who wrote off all the symptoms as a “natural side-effect of old age.”
There’s a lull at home, a peace as I said earlier, after weeks and months of frustration that kept brewing inside each one of us. I’m not sure if this is the lull after the storm or one that awaits a storm but the truth is all of us…including dad feel we’re finally on a path or on the first step to a flight of stairs that leads to the answer. It’s like finally finding the door and now we must take a step at a time and pray to the Lord for strength and to alleviate the pain and suffering.
While we got to know 2 weeks ago about the malignancy, we haven’t started treating it yet. Because the doctors are divided on the nature of treatment. While the doctor we went to for the second opinion suggested immediate surgery, the first doctor wanted us to do some more tests before coming to a conclusion. Most probably, the first doctor will eventually come to the same conclusion as the second. Now you may ask, why we still choose to wait.
In the world of medicine I am a layman and I do not understand a word of the medical jargon in the reports. The first doctor explained the situation and was empathetic. The second explained it as well but seemed distant. The first seemed more understanding to the fact that dad’s age and condition made surgery the last option. What she said was what we all wanted to hear so we simply decided to go with her. Actually not all of us. Dad does not have faith in the first doctor because she’s ‘nice’. He belongs to the group of people who think ‘niceness’ is a sign of weakness. He doesn’t like the second doctor either because he asked us to meet the ‘Financial Counselor’ of the hospital when dad asked him the cost of the treatment. Honestly, I hadn’t known until then that hospitals housed a financial counselor. Not all hospitals. The private ones. The financial counselor’s room was a plush cabin with his title printed in white italic on the glass door. His job apparently is to spell out the approximate cost of the treatment and advise you on how best you can source the finance to meet the cost. Something like a wealth manager in a bank.
And so, over the last 2 weeks, I have been visiting various multi-specialty hospitals suggested by the first doctor, for dad do some more tests. Last week, I had to return after being in the hospital for 4 hours, as the doctor was unable to do an endoscopy because dad’s intestine was not clear. We were informed that the endoscopy would have to be repeated and so would the colon cleaning procedure. But that’s the problem to start with. Dad’s suffering from constipation and none of the laxatives seem to be working; so how do we clean it? Thankfully, the doctor number 3, understood and changed the dosage of the laxative and has asked us to return to Wednesday, that’s day-after-tomorrow. Dad seems to have taken a liking to the hospital in which doctor number 3 will be doing the test because the dosage worked and dad did go to the washroom. This was a good thing- worth a celebration. Now, we only hope and pray that the tests reveal no major problem and the doctors do find a solution. It’s been long. It’s been tiring. For him, for me and for all of us as a family like I’m sure it is for anybody who has a member of the family going through a long illness. If you are one of them, I pray the Force is with you and your family.
The reason behind writing all that was happening at my end was to explain why I haven’t written a post in so long. I haven’t had the strength. Whenever I have a little reserve energy, I go on my walks to charge myself some more or get some ‘me’ time sitting in the porch gazing up at the sky or catch up with friends over a coffee. ‘Nothing like a coffee with friends,’ whoever said it, said it right! One of my friends’ even asked me if I was sure I wanted to have them over for dinner with all that was going on in my life and my answer to that was and is, “Yes, yes…life must continue.” So that’s what we’ve been doing. There have been celebrations amidst all this chaos- of birthdays, festivals, family get-together. We keep the shadow lurking in the dark from showing its ugly head and we move on, a day at a time.
However, in all of this, writing seems to have taken a back-seat. And when I haven’t written for a long time, I find it vexing. It rankles somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain and makes me feel guilty. So, to all those who are reading this, please consider this piece as writing practice, a diary entry of my life, a way to end my guilt or just some way to shed off some of the load that I’m carrying.
And if you’ve reached the end of this post and read it all through, then thank you for hanging in there. May God be with you and May you find the answers!
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