January 15, 2010


Poppa was not in a good way when I saw him. He mostly slept the whole time and I sat next to him and read a Kate Atkinson novel I borrowed from John's mum and almost completed the quick crossword in the paper. Does anyone know how to do cryptic crosswords?

When I went to leave late in the afternoon I suddenly realised that I hadn't seen him drink anything the whole time I was there and so I held his little plastic cup while he sucked out of a straw. My hands shook but no more than usual. And then he started to choke huge wracking oxygen-depriving coughs until his face was a purplish-red colour. I hovered over him poised to run into the corridor and yell at any of the robustly-built nurses that had been buzzing about his room earlier (of course it was completely deserted when we needed someone) However, the cancer patient diagonally opposite Pop reminded me that there was a buzzer to call for help that I pressed, but while we were waiting for someone with some practical use on this earth to arrive and save him he started to breath again, raspy and rattly breaths but enough to delay "the final round" as he had ceremoniously called it in one of his lucid moments earlier in the visit. When the nurse finally arrived he looked sympathetic and checked something, vital signs I suppose, and then said he was fine and that he would go and get his drugs, steroids and anti-nausea and hopefully some more pain relief. It is the cancer, crushing his organs, making it impossible for him to eat or drink or breathe comfortably. Hopefully the chemo will bring some relief. Otherwise it may just do what it did to mum and finish him off with merciful speed.


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