As I pen this narrative, I’m currently sitting at the Bexley oncology wing with my dad (Mally).
My mum, who is also in attendance, reckons today is his penultimate radiotherapy session. Although I’m pretty sure she’s incorrect and it’s his second last treatment.
As I write this he is filling his time reading a tabloid newspaper. It is a publication that regularly feels it has a moral duty to scaremonger about severe weather forecasts, immigration and the death of Princess Diana.
Thankfully, my old man is bright enough to avoid indoctrination by this propaganda. Or at least I thought he was until I noticed he was reading the tabloid upside down. Although, giving him the benefit of the doubt, it might be a better read that way round.
That being said, on the off chance the rag is right about the ice age next week in the Pennine hamlet of Ainsley Scragg, I’d suggest investing in a snow shovel and wellies if you’re in the area.
As I start this paragraph, my mum has luckily had her handbag returned after unintentionally leaving it on the counter of the reception desk.
I say luckily because her phone was in it and she needs to ring to cancel next week’s break in Ainsley Scragg. A sabbatical booked to mark the end of my dad’s treatment.
Mally won’t be overly bothered about the cancellation I wouldn’t have thought. I got the impression think he wasn’t relishing a few days mountain climbing the week after finishing radiotherapy.
I suppose if the mischief making newspaper turns out to be correct about the weather, my pater and mater could still visit Ainsley Scragg to ski, as opposed to climbing. However, not wanting our family life to turn into an episode of BBC TV comedy Last of the Summer Wine, I’ve kept that epiphany under wraps.
During this last few weeks, watching my mum’s behaviour, while ensconced in the loins of a Bexley Wing waiting room, has been an enlightening experience. She spends an inordinate amount of time people watching and making comment on anything or anyone she thinks is ‘nice’.
Viewing my mother behaving this way has re-iterated to me her endearing qualities of warmth, positivity and affability…….. Not to mention highlighting what a nosey bleeder she is!
My dad has now had his radiotherapy and re-joined us in the waiting area. He is sore from the treatment, which currently causes him to walk with a stoop and experience discomfort when sitting or attempting to stand.
It’s difficult seeing the man who I owe so much stricken in this way. I know he’s in his 80’s and had a good life, but those sentiments don’t ease the strain of seeing your father in pain. Even my mum telling him she’d just cancelled next weeks mountaineering trip didn’t perk him up!
He’s currently having the wound from the ever shrinking tumour dressed. According to my mum, who has taken a break from being a nosey bleeder, it’s an unsightly wound not aesthetically enhanced by a five week destruction of tumour mass.
It was an uncommonly erudite synopsis of what’s troubling her beloved husband from my septuagenarian mater. I’d normally have expected a tongue in cheek comment to lighten a tense atmosphere. Something along the lines of “That wound is like me arse… Best covered up!” .
Right, Mally’s back after having the offending lesion covered up, meaning it’s time to depart to run my parents back to their warm and welcoming domain.
It’s been a tough few weeks for my courageous and undemonstrative old man. But it was good to be able to say to him this evening:-
“Just one day more, Mally!…… One day more!”