Bladder cancer

Moonlight, a Study at Millbank exhibited 1797 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851To the hospital. We stop in the coffee shop, opened 1991, and the lino on the floor is a bit scuffed, it could do with replacement. I do not like hospitals. The place is too crowded. Striking tattoos on that man.

-When does visiting time start?
-We can go up any time you like.
I do not say, then why have we stopped for coffee?

Could my hands get warm? I could offer healing for comfort.

B is semi-reclined, her hair neatly brushed back, looking lively enough. The flower pattern on her nightdress and the pattern on the bedspread are pretty. Out of the window, there is not a cloud in the sky. I hug her, and say what I wanted to say: as she introduced me to the Sibyls, I might not have transitioned without her. Then I hold her hand. Yesterday, she was sleepy, but today she is better. I meet her daughter, F.

I had to come, to say goodbye, but having said that I don’t know what else to say. She is comfortable enough on the morphine. She was sitting up for a bit this morning: I saw the slippers, and say I thought that was a good sign. I told my Macbeth joke. And that story about the lion. What can you say? The cancer has metastasised. I went there to see her for the last time. F goes out for a walk in the sunshine, and brings her back a choc-ice. The hand-holding is the most important thing. In comes a “housekeeper”- she is going off shift, and she tells us this is her twentieth wedding anniversary, and they are going out for dinner tonight. F tells us the staff are all lovely like that.

She is mostly comfortable on the morphine. She tells us she had a very bad night last night, but actually F later tells us that that bad night was over a week ago. She just remembers it. So F has to remind her of the good things- wasn’t it lovely to see Clare today?

B is getting a bit sleepy, so we leave. F comes out with us, and tells us the cancer, originally in the bladder, has spread to both kidneys and one lung. Suddenly we have a lot to talk about. She tells me how feminine and attractive I look, which I think is a trans reference- though she did not say “for a tranny”, she said “not like me”. I said I think she looks lovely.

B’s other daughter is back in the US. She keeps referring to her “dad”, which irritates us. I suppose she has a right to use the word.

On our way home we stop at the model shop: radio-controlled cars, planes and boats, £60-£120. Lovely things, and I would like to have a play, but not to use them more than once. Here is a helicopter the size of your hand. Dave would like one steady enough to hold a camera, as his hobby is archaeology, and it is useful to get aerial photographs.

4 thoughts on “Bladder cancer

  1. Well, I feel … hmm … sadly calm, the peaceably prose helps mitigate the painful circumstances. It made me think of my father who, died in a hospice. His cancer metastasized as well, but he was quite perky up until about three days before the end. He only really recognized me, which did not go down well with my siblings (it wasn’t my fault) and he would pinch my cheek and say, “Here’s Bear Bear.” That was my nickname when I was a toddler … Self-given, of course. The strangest thing is that one afternoon he looked me in the eyes and said, “Have you ever thought of becoming a woman? You’d be a beautiful woman.” Of course, I flushed scarlet in front of my siblings and mother and jokingly said, “Oh, good grief, I’d never master high heels or hair extensions.” Sorry, I always ramble on your posts !


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