At some point in time some of you or some one you know may hear words like these, stunning, sometimes shocking, and always sobering.
“I am sorry to say the illness you have is terminal there is nothing more we can do treatment wise. We are treating you now as a palliative patient.” said the doctor.
My brother heard these words last week and passed it on to me via email this way.
“Test results are in and not good. Mainstream medicine is washing its hands of me as far as treatment goes and shifting completely to palliative. Will be calling Mom et al to let them know verbally.” He typed.
Bang! Just like that from hope to the end is coming, from there is a slim chance to I am dying, all in one simple sentence of only 29 words. Sometimes this is all the patient gets before the doctor leaves the room.
Even though the thought may have crossed the patients’ mind before, in this case Peter’s, it was a fleeting moment – the uninvited guest, death, being ushered away by either hope the butler or denial the maid. Now, the guest invited or not wasn’t going to be ushered away, hope and denial had been replaced by stark truth ushered in by the messenger reality.
I sent a text off to my brother’s wife April that went like this. “Thinking of coming your way in mid-September… how are you doing?” I querried.
Her reply relayed the blunt news from the medical system had an immediate impact.
“Good day today. Darren is here. Leaving Monday. We r going to plan a short Winnipeg trip. Shud b back by mid September. Will let u know when things r sorted. Peter has good pain control now, sleeping & in good spirits for real, no more denial. Things r pretty organized for care etc.” April responded.
Peter’s son Darren in Creston for a visit. Peter heading back to Winnipeg to see his sons living there. Me heading to Creston to visit Peter. My mom and sisters planning another trip west. This time, these texts, telephone calls, trips, and visits take on deeper meaning – they could be and some time soon will be the last one.
Reality has finally set in and I am thankful for that. Personally, I would rather deal with the raw reality of it all than mess with the hammerhead of hope and denial. Yes it is a rough go, and at last we are all on the same page now and that is way easier to work with.
Now is time now for fun, memories, appreciation, bad family jokes, gratitude, and meaning – forget the charts, the numbers, the treatments, and the prognosis, these days are about living as fully as we all can given the end is nearing.
Warmly and with deep gratitude