[Mar 2013] Death Sentence

Last evening I felt quite good, but I couldn’t fall asleep until very late, so I knew waking up this morning will be difficult. And it was, especially because I knew today was going be a very hard day. I started at the hospital in the city, meeting with my father’s oncologist, in order to talk about the results of the latest CT-scan and the things to come. Meanwhile my father had to go to the nearest hospital from their home with my mother, because he had water in his lungs, that had to be drawn out. I decided to turn off every communication tools, until I can talk to his oncologiest. Then I wanted to go home to them and tell them about the certainly bad news.

I didn’t want to get up early and walk through such a day as a living dead. So I only arrived to the hospital at 10am, and faced a very long queue, and a long waiting, just as I expected. An old man sat next to me, who started talking to me. He seemed about 75 to me, but it turned out he was 89 years old. It really disturbed me first that he didn’t let me be with my own thoughts, but then I started to enjoy his company. He turned out to be a very famous mechanical engineer, and his wife was a chemistry teacher, with a Nobel-prize nomination. As the people before me were decreasing, I started to feel more and more nervous. The next-to-the-last spent almost half an hour inside, but the last one finished qucikly, and it was me to go. I wrote a long list about the things to discuss. I was very frightened and nervous. I couldn’t concentrate and think clearly, but I asked the most important things. I could arrange that we can come here with father if anything happens, although there are several hospitals closer to his home. The doctor told me about the CT, that they found new tumors in his adrenal glands, and the tumors in his lungs grew further. Only later could I see on the paper, that there were new tumors in his liver and in his kidney as well. When I asked the hardest question, she told me, that it is really hard to tell, because in his condition anything can happen at any time, but it could be only a few months at best. I expected something like this, but it was still horrible to hear.

Then I sat into my car and drove home to my parents. Driving felt good, it calmed me a bit. I was drifted away with my thoughts. Arriving home I stepped into the empty house, my parents were not at home yet. Even the dogs were sleeping in their little houses, and didn’t want to come out. This meant that my parents had not finished at the hospital yet. I had hoped that they could manage this water-in-the-lungs problem without me, but this seemed to change. This was the frist time I checked my phone today. I had unanswered calls from my mother. I called her, told her that I was home, and I was going to the hospital to meet them, just wanted to know where they were exactly. When I arrived to the hospital, my father was in the examination-room. He finally came out, but they could only remove part of the water, and offered him another appointment in 9 days. It really upset me, but I was not in the shape to fight this. I told my mother what to say and do, and I went out to the park to get some fresh air, because I started to feel dizzy and had enough of the hospital atmosphere. When I went back, they were waiting for the final report, when my mother told us she had to leave for work. So I got the whole package, again. I didn’t want it, but I had no energy to fight with my mother, so I just let her leave. My father started to talk about everything, and – seeing my frustration – he tried to defend the hospital and the doctors, just like usual. He said that they were really very kind and nice, and they did everything very well, and they must have had a good reason to send us away to hell and give us a next appointment in more than a week. More than a fuckin’ week in his condition, when he is not able to sleep because of the water in his lungs! I couldn’t listen to him anymore, so I stood up and walked away to stop the conversation. Then he started asking about the CT results, but I decided not to talk about that here, because I thought it needed calm circumstances. After another hour we finally received the final report, where they refused any further treatment, because we started his treatment at the Oncology Institute. I didn’t argue with them, because I realized it would be better anyway to go to the Institute in the city, because there were always problems when we wanted to do anything elsewhere. So we sat into my car and went back home.

We weren’t talking much during the road, and I didn’t mind it, because I wouldn’t have been able to listen to him. I knew, that the worst was yet to come soon. I was happy that my mother went to work, because we could be together with my father, just like I wanted it to happen. It had weighed on me for weeks, I knew I had to talk to him seriously, because desipte of all the facts, he had still kept on saying that everything was going to be fine with time. No matter how clear it was that we were running out of tools and hope, he kept on comforting everybody around, mostly himself. I could never really decide if he was serious about that, if he was only lying only to us, or to himself as well. I’d bet he was lying to himself and wanted to repress the truth, because he wasn’t able to face it. I kept certain information from him, not to destroy the hope and the willingness to fight. But I knew the day will come, when he had to be faced that it was all over, because I couldn’t let him die without knowing he was going to. If I tell him too early, he can give up too early. If I tell him too late, he might die with a lie, and he won’t have time to prepare and settle things around him. It is not an easy decision, and a huge responsibility. But seeing things recently, his behavior and attitude, the denying and distortion of reality, really disturbed me and made me sick sometimes. I had felt irresistible urge to talk to him about this several times, but I had resisted. It caused me a few very bad days. Whether it is good or bad, I am not able to exists for long in such a heavy, disturbing, painful dissonance in me, whatever it is. It can be my father’s denial, a bad relationship, unaccepted feelings, untold thoughts, undone plans, injustices, or pretense. It makes me frustrated, anxious, and sick. It makes me throw up, it eats up my body. I can’t live with them for long. I can be diplomatic for some time, but in the long run, it is killing me. This is the way I am, whether I like it or not.

So I knew, this was the day, and this was the time. When I had to tell him everything, with the devastating CT report in my hands, I had to reveal the truth. After getting home I did a little this and a little that, letting him settle his things and arrive a bit, and sit down to his armchair, waiting for the perfect moment to come. I was very nervous and impatient, and I felt nausea. I knew it will be very hard. I didn’t really want to just get over it, but I wanted to start it at least, I wanted to start very much. Finally I sat in front of him, took his hands, looked into his eyes, and started speaking slowly. I told him that the CT result was not good, actually very bad. I burst into tears at about the third sentence, but I kept on talking. I wanted to tell everything I wanted. I told him that besides his stomach and lungs, cancer attacked his kidney, liver, and adrenal glands as well. I told him that fever, coughing, and pain was all because of the cancer, not something else. I told him that we were out of tools and we lost the battle, despite of the herculian efforts of the last 12 months. He understood it. He asked me how much he had left. I told him a few months maybe, but it could be any time. I confronted my 54 year father with the end of his road, that the fight was over, and he was going to die within weeks or months. I was sobbing because of the pain, and he was sobbing heavily as well. I told him he can let go of hope and condfidence. His only thing to do was to do whatever he wants to be done and say whatever he wants to be said.

Hours went by with sobbing, when finally my brother arrived. I let my father informing him, and he did exactly what I expected. He started talking bullshit. Then my brother went upstairs, and I told my father that he had to tell him the truth, just like I had told it to him before. I thought I can help him facing the terrible truth better with this. His second attempt was much better, so much that my brother was shocked. I hugged him and started to cry, to make him cry at least. His tears started flowing, just as father’s. We cried for a little while, then my brother went out to the garden to turn his sorrow into work. I let him go, I let him do whatever he felt best doing. I had things to do at home, but I cancelled everything and waited for mother to come home. When she arrived, I ordered father to tell everything to her as well. We cried a lot with her as well.

I was really exhausted, but relieved as well, because I knew I did the right thing. I made a very difficult step, and turned things to the right direction, inside me, and in my family as well…

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