In January 2000, as Lance-Corporal GermanGinge I did a military interrogator’s course. Three expressions are still embedded in my head:
- ICATQ (“I cannot answer that question.”)
- The shock of capture
The shock of capture is the “Oh dear, oh dear, oh f*ck!” moment when a prisoner of war realises the game is up: he has been attacking you, has lost the fight, and he is now hoping his enemy will not kill him.
Today Mrs Grasshopper went through the shock of capture. Since her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer at the end of October 2017, Grasshopper (my old Klassenkamerad) and I have been in daily contact, swapping jokes, URL’s for corny 70’s songs and then interspersing with businesslike “sitreps” (“situation reports”) on Mrs Grasshopper’s progress.
Yesterday was another major milestone: another appointment with the oncologist. The oncologist agreed with Grasshopper’s suspicions that Mrs Grasshopper’s increased self-dosage of oramorph, the increase in her tumour marker to 6000 units and several other symptoms were indicative that her cancer was spreading – despite ten sessions of heavy-duty chemotherapy.
This afternoon I phoned Grasshopper. He was stoic. He has been ever since diagnosis.
Pads brat banter. I pull his leg about being a policeman. He pulls my leg about being a “ginga.” We laugh. The Germans in the Düsseldorf sit and try – as ever – to eavesdrop on our Anglophone conversation
Then the $64 million question. Deep breath.
Grasshopper, now, tell me to f… off and mind my own business if you like. How did Mr Grasshopper react to the oncologist’s prognosis yesterday?
Grasshopper told me she had had a major meltdown down the local cafe this morning. The realisation that she
does not have long will probably die soon. The realisation that she cannot ask her enemy, the cancer, not to kill her. The shock of capture. The thoughts. All the what-ifs. Every single “why?” question.
Next time you are moaning about:
- Your bus being late
- There being no milk in the fridge
- Your team losing their World Cup match
Please think of Mrs Grasshopper.
No picture this time, just a song.
Have a shockless day, won’t you!