Cancer. The Big C. A tumour… and it’s malignant. And probably many other euphemisms.
Mrs Grasshopper was diagnosed with stage 4 terminal pancreatic cancer on 25 October last year.
Der Tod ist sicher.
Prognosis – how long before you die – twelve (12) months from diagnosis. As at today, Mrs Grasshopper is still alive (but not alive and well). Every day is a bonus. Guesstimate now as to how long she has got is now 6-8 weeks, maybe a a few days later so she gets to see Christmas Day. But who can tell?
Anyway this article is not about Mrs Grasshopper per se. Death, sad to say, is certain. That’s a brutal fact. But what about Grasshopper, my classmate from the mid-70’s, hard-nosed riot squad policeman?
Ever since diagnosis, Grasshopper and I have kept the communication lines open. He calls me “Padre Ginge.” I send him and Mrs Grasshopper a pastoral card.
In the last two months, Mrs Grasshopper has been suffering new symptoms on a weekly basis. Grasshopper has been dealing in a businesslike manner, being a trained medic, logging her symptoms and monitoring her slow downhill journey.
Mrs Grasshopper is in denial. She truly believes she will be alive in two years to see her son’s graduation. It’s unlikely that she’ll still be around in two months. That’s a brutal fact.
To be honest, cold, callous and clinical, Mrs Grasshopper is not my main concern. My main concern is to make sure that Grasshopper does not end up having a nervous breakdown while looking after his wife. Today he admitted to me that he had had a meltdown this morning and had spent almost all day in bed. That is out of character for Grasshopper, who is normally a very positive, matter-of-fact person. We had a good long chat via Whatsapp while I was taking the tram into the city centre this afternoon. He sound weary. His voice was starting to crack a bit. First time I’ve heard him like that. Big boys do cry, or at least allow their voices to wobble a bit.
I mainly listened. Grasshopper needed to let off steam. I told him I was here 24/7 if he ever need a good rant. I don’t want him having a nervous breakdown or “doing something stupid.”
Yesterday Grasshopper found this pastoral card from me landing on his doormat.
Who cares for the carers?
Have a caring day, won’t you!