Yesterday was a nervous and stressful day, it was results day for my best friend, L, had the cancer gone? was her swollen armpit something sinister? How is her breast / scar?
Also the memory clinic was coming to see mum and dad, giving mum the results from her latest memory test. Previous results have been 80/100 but the last one fell down to 50/100. I had asked to be there so I could ask questions and also just be another ear to listen to what they said. Now originally when dad gave me the date it was the 5th july. I remember saying, oh I’m glad it’s not on the 4th as I’m going with L to get her results. Anyway, dad said he didn’t want me there as he knew mum wouldn’t be happy about it. Nothing unusual there, but I felt it was important I was there, dad does forget things, doesn’t hear well and won’t speak honestly in front of mum whereas I would. But everytime I asked to be there for these appointments, mum has thrown a fit so dad would tell me not to come. Two weeks ago dad changed his mind and said yes come. Knowing my parents I waited until closer to the date for him to change his mind. They phoned on Monday, supposedly dad had discussed the impending appointment with mum and they would like me to be there, but he then said the date was the 4th, not the 5th. I said you told me the 5th, I remember saying oh thank god it’s not the 4th because I was going with L. He said no it’s the 4th. So I intended to go round early, spend some time with them, then hopefully be there for when the people arrive before I had to go to L’s house.
So yesterday I was getting ready to leave when dad phoned. Mum was hysterical, why were the memory clinic coming again? Why are you coming? I don’t need anyone around to tell me my memory is going. Dad said he mentioned they were coming at breakfast time and that I was coming and she just went mad. What am I forgetting? Write it down so I know, your dad is never happy, I can’t do anymore than I’m doing, I cook, clean, do the laundry, garden, shop, but he’s never happy. In truth mum has done nothing except sleep for a few years now. There was no calming her down, these tantrums are not new, she will throw them to get what she wants and it works. Dad has always given in.
Dad told me not to come. I phoned an hour later to see if things had calmed down but mum was still at it. By this time we got the usual comments, I’m useless, if I’m not doing anything, I may as well be dead, I’m a fucking waste of space. I tried calming her down but she wouldn’t stop her barricade, if I’m that bad, I’d rather be dead, why can’t you just leave my memory alone, you talk about it non-stop.
I don’t know how dad copes with this, though he is used to these outbursts, but over the last few years, these tantrums have become much worse. In the end dad just put the phone down. In the evening I phoned them again to see what the memory clinic said, mum was still going, anyway they never turned up. Now will they come today, like dad originally told me?
One of the big problems I have is I can’t speak to dad alone, he puts the phone on loudspeaker and always brings mum into the conversation even though she never speaks, I’m going to phone him about 8am today, hopefully mum will be asleep so I can find out just what happened yesterday. The problem is dad still doesn’t get the fact that mums brain just isn’t the same. You can’t ask her opinion, ask what she’s done, you have to think ahead and these days you have to lie so she thinks we’ve discussed it and agreed to it. But dad still sees it as a betrayal, it must be terribly hard for him after over 50 years of marriage he now has to make the decisions for them both. Dad should never have told mum who was coming, or that I was coming. I had planned on popping around to see them and oh I didn’t know anyone was coming today, pretending it was all a surprise. Instead by telling her, she’s had time to throw a tantrum until she got what she wanted, and that was me not going, he doesn’t help the situation. Dad is going to phone the clinic today and find out why they didn’t come, we need help, how do we prevent these tantrums, how do we give her, her meds as she refuses to take them and dad won’t crush them into food as he sees it as deceitful instead of helping. I can only advice dad, it’s up to him to do it, but at what point do I say, you are not helping, and I have to take over. As I can see this happening.
But the fantastic news is that L has been given the all clear. The dr said, I like it when I have to say this but get lost, I don’t want to see you again, I don’t want you back here again. Go and start this new chapter of your life, get used to the new you with your breast like it is.It’s a new beginning.
I think we were in shock. Her breast is still swollen, her swollen armpit is just her body healing, getting the radiation out of her body. Her breast is still tender but will go in time, the scar tissue will heal but still feel hard. But he is very happy with the results. She will go for regular mammograms now, if there are any change she feels or sees in her breast, she must phone the cancer clinic immediately, don’t go to your GP first. I said I wanted the phone number and told her mum she must have the number too, just incase we need it for L. So this appointment lasted less than 5 minutes, by the time we were back in the car, I think we were all shocked, in a dazed state of happiness, wanting to cry with relief but no tears would come. We went for dinner on the way home to celebrate. Now she can look ahead, unfortunately this means facing more operations as both knees are giving way again, she thinks one knee will need a full replacement again, and the other she thinks will need a hinge replacement, both big operations. But they are causing so much pain, and getting around physically is becoming hard work. But she’s had these operations before so she knows what to expect.
So that was my day yesterday, a nervous, stressful but happy day.