Behaving Badly

There are many things I don’t understand.

I understand Primary Progressive Aphasia; that is just Nature’s way of saying that all of life is random and no matter what we think of ourselves, we are really ants on a busy path. But today was a sort of bad day and, stressed by having to keep it all wrapped up and quiet, I lost my own control, yet again.

This morning I got a call from my wife’s oncologist, actually from his receptionist, reminding me of an upcoming appointment. Since her decline, my wife is very stubborn about doing things and so I asked her if she wanted to go and see the doctor. (Several years ago she was diagnosed with smoldering Multiple Myeloma and has so far not progressed to active Multiple Myeloma itself.)

Well, she didn’t remember him; in fact she denied ever having been to see a doctor for anything to do with her blood. Her disease (prinary Progressive Aphasia) has progressed and her understanding of anything but very simple things is non-existent. I tried explaining, careful never to say ‘cancer’ but eventually just gave up.

She is not high-risk, simply because she hasn’t progressed in the first five years and her ongoing risk is fairly low. Her oncologist is a nice, approachable guy and I’m will talk to him about what we should do.

The idea of putting her through more tests, more attempts at explanation and the possible, incredibly unpleasant treatments was just too much. So I was wound up tighter than usual.

Instead of cooking, I went to pick up Chinese food. I didn’t want to talk to anyone just to have a few minutes in the car alone, then get home and have supper and do the dishes and be quiet. There is an excellent Chinese restaurant locally, so large and popular that they have a separate little waiting room and counter with two people doing nothing but taking orders and giving out to-go food.

So I ordered two main dishes and a single order of soup (my wife doesn’t like their soup). The young woman taking my order was quite cheery and outgoing and she repeated my order. She said two main dishes and only one soup, was that right.

Yes, I said my wife was not feeling well.

Well, soup will make her feel better, she continued.

No, thank you. I just wanted to pay and sit down.

So I sat and wished for a drink.

Ten minuted later the food was ready and I stood up.

I hope she’ll be better soon the young woman said.

And knowing I was wrong to say this, I looked in her face and said No, she’ll never get better.

I left, feeling bad about unloading on someone who was just trying to be nice, but an apology would be even more awkward.

I went home and had a drink, we ate supper and now I’ll do the dishes.

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