The doctor wanted to regularly check my dad after the accident -- after all, being in his 70's and having busted himself up on a motorcycle seems to demand some attention. It was on one of his normal follow-up visits when the doctor noticed a "spot" on the x-ray.
It was bone cancer -- one of the most painful forms of cancer (and one of the most difficult to treat). His pelvis was riddled with it, and he had other areas that were starting to show metastasization. The doctor was not optimistic, right from the start. He told my dad that remission from this type of cancer with this much advancement was rare.
"But not unheard of?" my dad asked.
"No, not unheard of."
That was all my dad needed to hear. He underwent all the standard protocols -- the chemo and radiation, so forth -- and got all the standard effects -- the hair loss, the nausea, so forth. Complaints from him? None.
Well, one. He (frequently) pointed out that he now, finally, had less hair than his son. Of course, he also pointed out that his would grow back, whereas mine was a vaguely fond memory.
Now, the backstory to all this is this: in between his accident and the appearance of the cancer, I had moved back from Dayton to Cleveland (about 4 hours away). Until our Dayton house sold, though, my sister was kind enough to let me stay at her place while my family stayed in Dayton. As soon as our house sold down there (which we hoped would be very quick), I'd get a house in Cleveland and my family would move up to be with me.
Well, that process dragged and dragged. The economy in Dayton was pitty; and there was not much market for a large (and somewhat unusual) home. What had looked to be a short stay with my sister became an extended stay.
Anyway. When the cancer appeared, and he began to weaken a bit, I moved from my sister's to my parent's. It was a win-win -- rather than being a burden to my uncomplaining sister, I was able to be a help to my parents.
Of course, I was not prepared for all that....I had no training, of course....and I also was not prepared for the emotional bruise of watching my father -- who had never been sick in my memory -- become progessively more dependent. Oh, trust me, it was a privilege to be able to help him....but it was also painfully difficult.
I went through a miasma of emotions; and I finally reached the point where I didn't think I could take it any more....