WRITTEN BY MICK
Ten years ago Prue’s greatest fears in life were losing me, anything involving doctors and running out of Pale Ale…. and not necessarily in that order. Whilst it’s safe to say the no beer fear will never be overcome, she courageously dealt with the possibility of my exit and continues to amaze with her stoicism in the face of the squatter. The latest chapter re squatter obliteration took place on Thursday, when we once again met with chemo-king James Bull. It was four very long months ago that we sat in his Lismore rooms listening to him detail his plan of assault on the squatter and to Prue literally stacking her dacks. Whilst she was understandably disappointed with her compromised bowel dropping the ball that day, I reminded her that we weren’t there to discuss the weather with this bloke, or living in Lismore, a thought even more daunting than the proceeds in her pants. I said, ‘Relax, the guy’s an oncologist… he’s seen, heard and smelt it all before… he buries half his clients’. I thought my girl’s commendable effort was up there with Spike Milligan’s epitaph which reads, ‘I told you I was crook’?
The harsh reality back then was that the squatter had dragged her into the deep end of a pool full of shitty experiences and it was only dreaded doctors like James who could throw her the life buoys. And so far they’ve done a bloody good job at keeping her afloat, borne out by surgery considered to be 100% successful. Thursday was the first time in six months that the patient could tell one of her practitioners that she felt great and that she wouldn’t be sprinting to the nearest loo mid conversation. James once again outlined his strategy for mopping up any rogue remnants left by the squatter, a possibility because the big bastard had punched a hole in the back passage (the one dodgy lymph node).
This was purely precautionary because scans had not revealed any other squatter activity. James said if he was in Prue’s shoes he would definitely continue with the chemo, but it was her call. Obviously, he was hardly going to flog us Rescue Remedy, but he said the worst outcome would be to one day regret not completing the universally accepted treatment regime, especially after what she’s been through. We have chosen to continue the chemo, a cocktail this time, in the knowledge that it can be modified to suit Prue’s tolerance. Why risk regret?
Many have asked, how am I going? That’s a fair enough question given Prue and I agree that it’s tougher emotionally on the caring partner. As the patient, your focus is necessarily self-centred, even more so where pain is involved. I now have a much better understanding of my patient’s pain threshold and have learnt that she’s pretty bloody tough. As a result she has stayed strong throughout this ordeal. Thank God for that. Prue’s situation has confirmed that I don’t do pain very well – mine or anyone else’s. I recall being in pre-op on Tommy Tumour eviction day and how I hit the deck the instant I heard the epidural needle touch my skin; actually, make that the moment I heard it being unwrapped. When I regained consciousness I asked, ‘How did the operation go?’, to which the guy in the white gown replied, ‘You haven’t had it yet, mate. You’ve got four hours to go’. In fairness (to me), science has proven that feinting is a physiological response rather than outright cowardice. But, thanks for asking!