Friday leads into Saturday, so forgive me if some of what I write appears a bit all over the place. It matches my emotions at the time. Also what follows you may find uncomfortable, disturbing or harrowing. As this is an honest account, I apologise in advance for those of you who can stomach the tale.
I can’t remember if I made an appointment on Thursday or Friday for Laing and I to see the doctor. I also asked for a double appointment as I had issues I wanted to raise above and beyond what we both had. I got Laing to recite to me all his symptoms and problems and I duly noted them on his iPad. I also added bits of my own for me.
When it came for us to consider getting to the doctor’s surgery, I asked Laing if he would rather we got a taxi. I’m sure if he made any mention of cost I overrode his qualms or insisted he was not in a fir state to walk to and from bus stops. We went through his symptoms and I think the doctor wrote out a prescription as Laing found the Oromorph was making him throw up too much. The doctor explained it would be like that in the initial stages, but it would take away the pain. Laing was not really interested in taking the treatment. Laing then said, out of the blue and unexpectedly, “I’m worried about Timbo. He’s taken on so many responsibilities in addition to working, like doing the bin, the shopping. I’m worried about him coping.”
I’m sure I am not the only carer spouse who has been surprised by the other, despite their terminal illness, and the pain of the cancer having spread to his bones, that he selflessly thought about me and raised the matter with the doctor. Well, he prescribed me the anti-depressants I had taken some years back, but was giving me only a half dose, one pill every other day. After Laing had had his time, I looked at him and said, “I’m sorry, can I speak to the doctor alone? It’s rather personal.” He acquiesced, whether he said anything I don’t recall.
Once the door was closed the doctor looked me and asked, “Does he know had bad it is?”. I said probably not as he didn’t want to know anything beyond his diagnosis and his treatment and to follow instructions. I think I unburdened myself a little, mindful that if I spent too long with the doctor Laing might get worried. Come to think of it, this was the point where the doctor prescribed the anti-depressants. As events proved, not even the medical profession realised how ill Laing was at this point.
After I had been seen, we ordered a taxi to take us back home. Laing again retired to bed.
I am writing this narrative a few days ahead of posting. At this point I need to pause, not only because I am tired, but also the events that follow need a clearer and more alert head to recount them.
….. ….. ….. ….. …..
I don’t remember what happened after that, maybe I went to the chemist to have his prescription made up or perhaps I went shopping for food. I must have left him for a while as I sent him a text at 12.29 “All done. I’m on my way home. I will let myself in.” The last sentence was important, Laing had always been at the door ready to let me in, but I knew he was not well and needed to rest.
The next text (I was in the office at the front of the house and he was in the bedroom at the back) I got was at 14.53, “Tea?”
I was finding him to be something of a handful I remember. He kept sliding down the bed from the upright position and I had to get him back upright. He said he couldn’t stay in that position. I said he had before so why not now? I made sure he was wrapped up and the heating was on full blast.
At 18.03 I received three texts in rapid succession that told me something wasn’t right. The first read “Can helpwith iij” and the next two were blank. I went to him and he was distraught. He was being somewhat accusatory that I wasn’t there every few minutes. He was frustrated that he was unable to text to me. He said he had called me but I didn’t hear him. I reckon (again with hindsight) his voice had become weaker. Mind you, my hearing wasn’t at its best either that day. As far as the texts were concerned, after he died I was checking his phone and found he had erased all previous messages to me.No matter. I got him sitting up again and rearranged the pillows. He seemed calmer. From this point everything has become confused in my memory. What exactly took place and when, I can’t recall exactly, but the whole experience was becoming disjointed. All I can say with certainty is he texted me at 19.29 “What is for Dinner tonight”. It was probably something prick and ping. He was really picking over his food. He was simply not interested in it. I got him back to bed.
Sometime or other I told him I was worried about him. That he wasn’t being his usual self. He then started a tirade against me.
“I am not having any of your mumbo jumbo.”
“I know you’re trying to get rid of me.”
These two comments were repeated often and with slight variations. I think he sensed the end was near at the back of his mind. I was convinced the cancer had got to his brain. Maybe it hadn’t, but I found out later that he might well have been starved of oxygen. He kept sliding down the bed and lying horizontally. Anyway, these two comments were a mixture of my getting him in a hospice (we had never discussed it but I didn’t want that, but knew sometimes there is no choice) plus his anti-religious stance. These had melded and became one and the same thing, probably as most hospice organisations are Saint Somebody-or-other Hospice. I was getting to my wits’ end.
I was tired and exhausted. His accusations hurt me and stung. I cried. I told him I didn’t want to get rid of him, far from it. As for the “mumbo-jumbo”, I had no intention of anything to do with it, whatever it was he was accusing me of. I left him. He was suddenly a monster. I wanted to strike him in frustration. I went to the web to see if I could find anything that made sense of his behaviour. I returned to the bedroom and told him I was going to phone NHS direct as I didn’t know what was wrong with him and I was worried. He said do what you want, or something like that.
I went back to the office and phones. I got through and discussed what was going on and the person wanted to speak to him. I returned to the bedroom. The bastard was lying down even though I had told him not to. It was like I was dealing with a child who knows he is being deliberately naughty and annoying. Suddenly he was lucid. He spoke to the woman. He was all charm. She advised I should phone the doctor. I hung up and then I got another tirade. How dare I talk to a complete stranger about him. How did I know who she was? Anybody could say they were a nurse on the other end of the phone. It was useless to try to reason with him.
I phoned the doctor, or more precisely, the out of hours service GP surgeries employ. How things have changed since I was a lad. The male to whom I spoke had an accent that was not a regional British accent. He told me I should get him to hospital. He seemed to assume Laing was mobile and (it was gone midnight) we had a car and I could drive him there. I told Laing and he started off again on his tirade.
By this time I remember I had got dressed. He was resisting me. How can you force the one you love and care for when they are so stubborn? This is the bad stubborn streak he had and this time it was a hundredfold worse than ever. I was trying to tell him he wasn’t well and I was concerned and he was saying he wasn’t going anywhere. There was precious little I could do.
I have no idea what the time was, somewhere about 2 o’clock in the morning perhaps, but I was exhausted and slept on top of the bed in my clothes. He had upset me so much I didn’t even want to cuddle up to him. To think our last night together should have been so acrimonious. It wasn’t his fault. The cancer was screwing him up totally. I slept for something like two hours or so, and this is where Saturday 19th January 2013 begins, and that is the topic for the next and final blog.