Tuesday, 1 May 2012
"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear."- Mark Twain
How do you take your mom to the doctor so that someone can tell her she's dying? How do you face that?
How do you get up in the morning knowing you are taking your mom to the doctor to be handed a death sentence?
My brother decides we shouldn't let a doctor tell her the diagnosis. It doesn't seem right to take her to the doctor knowing what we know without telling her everything ourselves. I hate the idea of a doctor telling my mom she is dying in a small room in the walk in clinic at the mall. I am glad my brother has the guts to step up and tell her. I could never have made the words leave my mouth.
I don't remember if I am in her room when he tells her. I must be because I remember her reaction, but not his words.
My mom is calm. I don't know what reaction I expected but I am struck by her lack of reaction to this news. She just nods in acceptance. There is no discussion. We get in the car and head to the mall. It feels awful.
Why does my mom's doctor have to have her office in the mall? It is ridiculous to be standing outside Walmart and KFC trying to deal with the worst news we could have received. The contrast between my surroundings and my feelings could not be any more different. It all seems wrong.
The little examination room feels small with all of us in it. I realize that the only painting hanging on the wall is of Peggy's Cove and it makes me smile. But this is not the time for smiles. But I am always looking for a distraction now. Why don't they have more things on the walls?
There are so many tumours in my mom's brain I think I hear shock in her doctors voice when she talks about them.
My mom reacts in her typical way. Calm. Denial. and then the blame begins. I struggle most with the blame. She blames other people, she blames her boss. I try to remember that the tumours are making it so she cannot think logically, but there is part of me that is so used to her "blame game" that I think she would blame this on something other than her cigarettes even if she was able to think clearly. The blame frustrates me. The blame has always frustrated me.
But, now I look back and wonder, what difference would it have made? Would I really have wanted her to accept the fact that she smoked cigarettes her whole life and therefore had lung cancer? How do you take credit for your own illness?