Friday, 14 May 2010

Don't Mention the War

When I saw the young, newly qualified doctor that day back in December, he never once said the word 'cancer.' He danced awkwardly around the nasty word and chose instead to use phrases like 'difficult times ahead,' 'you can get counselling,'  'have you got family around you,' and he even asked 'what did you think it was?'

He said everything apart from the 'c' word.

I remember sitting there numbly, and thinking - 'just write the bloody letter to get me referred, little doctor boy, and please stop talking.'

I often wonder if he looks back on our consultation. When I first walked through the door, I bet he thought - 'oh here's another one of those bloody mothers with an earache.' Next thing - he's stumbling, stuttering and fumbling to find the right words, and making a right bloody hash of it....just like Basil Fawlty.

When I left the surgery, I sat in the car for a while, cried, and thought about what had just happened. Everything was ok that morning when I'd packed the kids off to school, and now, one hour later, everything had changed. The GP was scared. I was terrified.

I drove into the village. I needed to post a parcel, and I needed some cash. As I got out of the car, I could feel the weight of a big sign across my shoulders saying, 'this wifey is doomed.'
I stood behind an old bloke doddering about at the cashpoint and I remember distinctly thinking (and nearly saying out loud) 'how the hell did you get to be so old? How come you're still alive? And I bet you're a grumpy old bastard.'
This old guy was probably a really nice grandad who bought his grandchildren sherbet fountains and took them on adventures, but I just saw him as a lucky old sod - and I'm sorry about that.

Its very strange what goes through your mind in the moments after you've just stared into the eyes of cancer.
On my short drive home that day, I thought about the things that I might never see - not the things I'd already seen.

For my little boy, out of all the things I could have thought - there was strangely one thing that seemed to bother me - and that was that I might never see him play his first proper game of cricket. Why the hell that little thought popped into my head, I don't know - probably because its something that he absolutely adores, something that he's good at, and something that I see him and his dad doing when I close my eyes and think of them.

Cancer is a scary word, but I can say it now without falling into a heap on the floor. I wonder if my young GP has practiced saying it too.

On Sunday - I shall watch my little lad play his first game of cricket.  The only thing that will stop this from happening will be hoying down rain, snow or gales - not cancer.
Its not an important game, but for me, its a VERY important game, and I will treasure every moment of seeing him out there.

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