My mother is dying

March 4, 1998

Dad has taken Mom to the oncology clinic for chemo today. He has been improving slightly, and Mom was given some hope at the clinic yesterday, enough to continue her chemotherapy anyway.      

Yesterday was a tough day for me. I woke early after a disturbing dream which could be interpreted as a wish for my mother’s death. I couldn’t go back to sleep. My wife drove me to my parents home on her way to work. I took my Mom in for blood tests and a meeting with her doctor. There was a long wait in the oncology clinic, and the place was extremely busy, with the doctors running an hour behind. Despite the many differences I could not help but remember the visits to the cancer clinic with our son Theo, and the growing guilt at his recovery as other hollow-eyed parents waited, watched their children die.

Despite the lengthy wait, Mom was encouraged by what her doctor had to say. I went with her into the consultation room to support her, to help her remember the questions she had for him. He wrote a prescription for her wig which saved the provincial sales tax. Her Blue Cross extended coverage should also reimburse her for some of the cost of the wig.

We asked how her progress would be monitored and he indicated primarily through watching her blood test results and his physical examination, his touch. I left for the examination. Mother came out of his office with hope and a full colostomy bag.

She went to the bathroom while a clinic nurse explained what her medication and chemotherapy regimen was going to be.

On the way home Mom explained that he had not been embarrassed to check her colostomy bag, indicating it was helpful for him to see how she was progressing. He was pleased she was beginning to form healthy stools. A good sign. He told my mother he had hopes for her recovery, and his examination seemed to show the tumors were not growing, and might in fact be shrinking. Mom had asked if there was a point to the chemo, because if not, she’d rather stop the debilitating treatment. What he said has given her the hope to continue the chemo treatments. He also told her that she was a “good patient” which is important to her, her need for approval as strong as mine.

I was ashamed as I drove her home, trying to be supportive and show my care for her while harbouring deep resentments that she might actually recover, or at the very least, take a long time to die. What’s wrong with me, that I wish my mother dead?

My brother was going to stop for lunch after his dental appointments and before he had to leave town to return to work. He didn’t wait for us. This too, made me angry. I had hoped for a ride back to my home, and wanted him to see my mother. I couldn’t help but think he was avoiding us, no matter how far he had to drive or what meeting he had to get to.

Instead I drove with my Dad in my mother’s car, Dad planning to get a haircut on his way home. As I was about to get out of the car he expressed his gratitude for what I was doing for them, speaking in German that I would never have to feel guilty for not having done every I could to help them. “I love you Dad,” I said, as we both choked back some tears.

Exhausted, I spent the afternoon on the couch, napping and using our portable phone to take care of what business I had until the kids came home from school. Later, I took the bus to my psycho-therapy session. It was a rough hour, trying to get at my feelings of anger and shame and the paradox of my ongoing care and love. Returned home by bus feeling like a total wreck. Watched some t.v., talked to my wife about my day. Went to bed worried whether I’d be able to do the freelance assignments I committed too, and attend my daughter’s classroom play presentations right after lunch. Somehow there has to be time to do some housecleaning and make dinner. Have to spend the day, here, at my computer, writing with our cat on my lap or at my feet.

This content is exclusively available to Patreon members who pledge $ or more.
This entry was posted in Susann with Two N's. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>