At the hospice

Elaine wrote this yesterday:

Today I went for my day at the hospice for the first time since May 15th. It’s a very cheery place and it’s good to be with so many different types of people all in the same position of having incurable diseases.

One of them K. made me feel particularly humble and grateful for the life I have had. Only 31 and with an 18 month old son, she developed MS when she was 25 after a life which seemed until then very successful. She done a Maths degree at Manchester University and then became an insurance actuary, a job which she obviously loved and found very fulfilling. Her MS has taken some frightening forms including 6 months of blindness from which she has now recovered. She discussed her situation very matter of factly without a trace of bitterness or whinging. She can’t walk without a stick, has to have bath aids and has had several falls luckily when her little boy has been at his nursery. She took such pride in her son who she even managed to breast feed.

We shared stories of the horrors of peripheral neuropathy which is one of the symptoms of MS and a side effect of the drug oxaliplatin which I have been given & our fears about becoming a burden. But it felt so wrong for me to be having this conversation with someone of my daughter’s age rather than my own or older.

If self pity creeps up on me I am going to try to remember K.

2 thoughts on “At the hospice

  1. Jack Folsom

    Yes, Elaine, these encounters with other patients can be like treasures. When I was in the worst possible shape after a failed glaucoma operation years ago, I met a lively, optimistic young woman in the daily clinic whose case was so much worse than mine that I could not think anymore of self pity.
    And now when I meet other patients in the cancer clinic here, for now their cases are worse than mine. When my turn comes to be worse, I’ll try to follow that young woman’s example when I meet other patients. Anyone who reads this should try to remember people like Elaine when their time comes.

  2. Marion

    You are entitled to indulge in bucketfuls of self pity Elaine but it doesn’t lighten the mental or physical load of your illness. It certainly is true though ‘I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man with no feet’.

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