He’s not well. But it’s impossible to tie down (as is he!). This is possibly the worst, where he is neither consistently ill nor consistently well. Both relatively speaking, of course. A colleague today who lost her child to cancer said how the illness creates a new level of language which means different things to its everyday usage and puts you in a slightly separate world, and she was so right.
It’s been so up and down with dad for a few days, varying from really quite ill to really quite bright and perky in the space of moments so that you never know what to expect and can take nothing for granted. Pain, confusion, intense sleepiness, sickness, loss of appetite, all coming and going in waves through the day, alternating with times when he’s completely on the ball and totally active – I came off the phone from asking my sister’s advice because I was so worried about him, went round to see him and found him doing a load of washing and hanging it out. This morning I stayed off work for an hour to help him get ready for the hospice, went round to get him up and found him already up and dressed and having his wash. I left him to it, calling round at intervals to check on progress, and once I had been lulled sufficiently into a false sense of security to go and get myself bathed and dressed and ready for work everything came to a resounding stop and he fell asleep in his breakfast, nearly falling off the chair as he felt suddenly weak and wobbly and confused. I went round to see him into hospice transport and discovered him only half dressed and without having eaten or drunk anything at all, including about thirteen tablets!
It’s hard. My sisters weren’t planning to come this weekend – one is exhausted after a trip away and the other has a special weekend away planned with her husband – though both are more than willing to make the journey if they’re needed. But are they needed? When he’s at his worst they are, when he’s at his best or nearly so I can manage just fine alone. Biggest problem is that I have an appointment at the hospital for myself on Friday afternoon, one I don’t want to discuss with him, and yet if he’s unwell I won’t want to leave him alone all day and getting his own lunch. And when he’s so up and down, it’s difficult to explain at school about things – one minute I’m in tears having left him in the morning on hands and knees being sick into a bucket and the next they see me walking him up the street, admiring the spring flowers. One minute I’m asking for time off without pay to see him through his final weeks, the next we’re up on the Downs enjoying the spring sunshine and making plans for the summer.
Cancer clinic tomorrow, though. I have a feeling the news will not be too good.