So I flew back to London yesterday.
My mother told me, before I left, that I should be talking to my brothers and spending more time with them. This is a lovely idea, but not helpful, seeing as they are both halfway across the world. On the 6th of November, one will be in Israel for a few days, and we are all planning to meet in Geneva for "Thanksgiving" (which is what we will call the time that all the Americans seem to be taking time off at). So, just to make it absolutely clear, the planned dates for the coming months are:
2nd November: fly back to Israel
9th November: Back to London
16h November: Back in Israel
22nd November: Back in London
27/28th November: Geneva possibly
30/1st December: Houston for the tests possibly
8th December: Back in London, entirely dependent on what the doctors say
I am finding it utterly impossible to keep to any kind of weight-loss plan while I am jumping from place to place. This may sound trite, but so long as I am only a week in any place, I psychologically feel like I am on holiday, in a weird way. This must stop. Diet and exercise start now!
I have a smear test booked for Friday. I know, too much information. But the woman on the phone was very reluctant to give me an appointment. So I played the Cancer Card. I have not been doing that so far, although my father is happy to. He was taking out his crappy mood on my mother the other day and when she asked him to stop he said, "I have cancer. I will do what I like". She responded with, "I don't care what you have. If you treat me like this, I will kill you myself." Point.
In the meanwhile, my father is being as irreverent about the Cancer as I tend to be in this blog, which makes me feel like we are on the same page about some things. It drives my grandmother crazy when my father starts making jokes about death, pain or anything cancerous at all. To which he responds, "It's my cancer and I will say what I like about it". So the Cancer Card can work both ways.
Having left the country, I am no longer in such close contact with my parents. Of course I talk to them at least twice a day, but it's not the same as getting the inside info on how they are coping. And I think it's hard right now.
I have been worrying about whether having a disabled partner and dealing with medical matters, pain, fatigue and drugs every day has somehow made me jaded or cynical to what others are going through. Sometimes, instead of sympathising with what my mother goes through with the doctors and so forth, I think "yes, I know, I have been doing this for years!" She does get very stressed, which does not do her any favours. Of course, my partner does not have a diagnosis which may prove fatal, but I think that what my mother hasn't figured out yet is that, as well as my father having a life-threatening condition, it's also a chronic one. If she tries to keep up the pace she is at for a long time, she will burn out. I think she knows this, but can't switch off the panic. And a very small part of me, I am ashamed to say, thinks "na ni na ni boo boo, I have been doing this for years and you have always only looked down on me for it. Now it's your turn." God, that's terrible schadenfreude. But now it's out there and I can move on.
In other news, my grandmother had her 80th birthday on Sunday night. The enormous plan to take her to Florence had to be aborted because of my father's diagnosis, so we had a small dinner in her honour. Everyone got into the mood, which surprised me, given the circumstances, although my father did cry a little bit. Facing one's mortality every day sucks.
I gave my grandmother a photo album of pictures that my father has taken of us over the years. She has not been able to see the pictures since my father went digital in 2003 or so, so I thought she would like it. And the unspoken reason, which I think everyone knows but no one talks about, is that, if my father doesn't make it, she will have something to look at to remind her of him.
Anyhoo, this has got a bit heavy, so I will go back to drinking my coffee and wondering why I was up at 4am. Jet-lag, yes, but I believe I was dreaming about my dad castigating me about something. Why can't he just be satisfied? :-)