We went to visit, for a short time, our friend whom I mentioned the other day (in the post I accidentally deleted) who has terminal cancer. We have promised that one or other of us will call in to see him every day.
I mentioned that the hospital, which has received a fair bit of bad publicity for its care of the elderly following inspections recently, had upset him very much - or rather, an insensitive doctor had. Apparently, the doctor asked if he'd been told what was wrong with him. He replied that he'd been told there was a blockage. "It's no blockage, you've got cancer."
This bald statement came as a considerable shock. He was alone, his family had not been invited to be with him and he had no idea in advance of the diagnosis, never mind the grim prognosis.
Nine years ago last September, my mother was in receipt of similar news. There was no comparison between the way the two of them were told. My mother had Wink and me with her and we were told with great compassion by a young and anxious doctor who was trying very hard to be as kind as possible. All the same, it was a huge shock.
You would not think it would have been. My mother was desperately ill and, only a few days before, I'd said to her GP - and shocked him by saying it - "is it worth her going to hospital? She would prefer to die in her own bed, I wouldn't want her to go there and not come out again alive." He reckoned it was worth it, and the palliative care she received unexpectedly enabled her to have a wonderful quality of life for her final six months. However, and I cannot understand it but assure you it's the case, whilst we expected her to die within days (and had been told that on her admission to hospital), to be told that she had terminal cancer was still terrible news and oddly surprising. We all clung together and cried.
Our friend is still able to sit in a chair and was reading the newspaper when we arrived. We kissed each other, I held him, we talked. I asked if there was anything he wanted me to do, now or later for his wife. He suggested that I might help most by shooting him, and we all cried.
What do you say? I said that I loved him and couldn't bear to think of losing him. I reminded him of the last time he came round when Chester was still alive, the day before the vet visited. Chester brightened to see his old friend, staggered over and butted him lovingly in the knees, as he always had. He smiled, remembering.
Sorry loves, don't mean to upset you, but I know this will. I'll be back to Normal for Norfolk by tomorrow.