Tribulations of Treatments.

images Loving Couple

You know winter is near when the wood-smoke greets early morning’s walking our dog, Milo. This is now done each morning before the trip to Campbelltown hospital for radiation. It falls on me while Helvi gets ready. It includes her dressing and make-up. A woman takes much  more time with those rituals. She needs patient husband. After coming home from radiation in late afternoon, we both take Milo for another walk. Milo is very fit and so are we.

Yesterday’s treatment involved as usual the same batch of patients. We sit together in the waiting rooms. A kind of conviviality has developed. We are all in the same boat. Life is precarious enough without cancer. We become even more tenacious by hanging together sharing our plights. The man with the prostate cancer confessed he had become impotent. ‘This treatment did it’, he told the room. The wife looked annoyed. ‘Is that all you ever think of’, she said?  He looked to be in his late seventies. ‘No, it is not all, but I always enjoyed it’. ‘It’s a major part of me;’ the husband said proudly.

‘There is more to life than just that’, his wife replied. ‘Just think of the nice holiday we will have when going up north to the sandy beaches of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. ‘I am not talking about a holiday’, he said. ‘I can’t crack it anymore’, he added. This time he was miffed. Perhaps the wife did not give enough credit or importance to his masculine side. I too thought the wife might have handled it a bit more diplomatically.

The husband looked around the room hoping for support. I could only mumble;  ‘they are different types of enjoyment.’ ‘A holiday and sex are different things’, I added optimistically.  Another supporting male lifted the spirit of the husband. He seemed pleased and continued, warming up to the subject. ‘For my whole life I woke up each time with a ‘morning’s glory’, he enthused, followed by a more sombre;  ‘not anymore now though.’ For the uninitiated, the morning glory refers to erection. It reminded me of another expression. A rather coarse one; ‘cracking a fat.’ This was a popular expression between trade plumbers or sewerage specialists. In the US they refer those sort of remarks to; ‘locker room talk’.

 

The waiting room’s atmosphere really warmed up now. Almost like a locker room. The husband looked somewhat triumphant having brazenly confessed his declining state of morning’s tumescence. The wife sighed, shrugged her shoulders.  I subtracted that she might well have endured her husband’s libido for peace sake more than for her own joy. Sex is often overrated. It doesn’t get you anywhere. I often prefer a good book or a herring.

A younger female patient joined in and  gave a much needed supporting sigh to the wife. ‘Those men.’ she said defiantly, ‘they are always banging on about their own things’, she said. She told the room that she has a brain tumour which had spread to her lungs and liver. She has two boys of seven and nine. After finishing her story of plight and worry, the previous issue of erections and cracking, seemed trite. ‘That’s life’, she said. She seemed happy and was accompanied by her mother. I thought, at least she will have her mother to look after the boys if she doesn’t beat her cancer. It seems such an unfair business.  The room became quiet again. One hears miraculous stories of beating the worst diseases and ailments against all odds.

Let’s hope the mother of the little boys survives.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

27 Responses to “Tribulations of Treatments.”

  1. Yvonne Says:

    Oh boy, we do take our good health for granted, don’t we? We never know what’s lurking around the next bend.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, a visit to the cancer clinic is a sobering experience Yvonne, and it helps to stay focussed on the essentials. Yet, people are all so brave, it is uplifting and it can be very funny. Many patients laugh a lot and that is so good to behold.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. urban liaisons Says:

    I hope the same for your wife, good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. bkpyett Says:

    I do like the way you concluded your story, Gerard. Such brave people, especially having to consider leaving young children would be a massive challenge. Keep up the good fight! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  4. berlioz1935 Says:

    It is interesting that for a man the loss of an erection is so important and for the young mother the two children are of utmost importance.

    The function of the so-call “morning glory” is not to be ready for sex, as welcome as that may be, but not to urinate during dreaming. The so-called wet dreams are a different ball game altogether.

    Bedwetting stops for boys after the onset of puberty.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The plight of the young mother brought a welcome balance back to the waiting room, Berlioz. Erections and the loss of them are to be applauded. Looking at mine at earlier times, I often thought; is this what drives me? Is this what it is all about? Surely not!
      How are you going Peter and Uta?

      Liked by 1 person

      • berlioz1935 Says:

        We too are visiting doctors waiting rooms more frequently now. But we still enjoying life. It would be good if we could meet you and Helvi again. We could certainly drive up to Bowral. Write me an email to arrange something.

        Liked by 2 people

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        I sent you an email. The daily trips to the radiation clinic will be finished after next week, so after that it would be nice to catch up again. Any week-end will be fine too. Things ought to get more peaceful after the radiation. Of course, a hearing aid test will come about, Helvi getting new spectacles, the flu shots, but they are normal everyday events. A bit like shopping really.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Julia Lund Says:

    These snapshots of life within the context of life-threatening illness are very poignant, Gerard. There is an advertising campaign at the moment for a cancer charity in the UK that shows ordinary people doing ordinary things: a mum plaiting her daughter’s hair; a couple cuddling up to go to sleep. The message? A mum with cancer is still a mum; a husband is still a husband. So many people round the world facing huge challenges within the confines of ‘ordinary’ life – this extraordinary life we all get to live in our own set of exceptional circumstances. Thinking of you and Helvi and your waiting-room acquaintances, sending love and prayers.

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you, Julia.
      You are spot on. Each day is life and can be made the most off. The mother with the brain tumour showed us a remarkable feature of what living is about. She was without complaint or rancour. I mean, the man without erection could still live for many years, make a useful contribution.
      There is so much more to life.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Carrie Rubin Says:

    Such honesty in that room. I imagine you do indeed develop a connection. I hope good things for you all. That’s very sad about that young mother.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Dorothea Jahnes-Oosterman Says:

    Thanks Gerard….great story…great horse…glue it down.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I am finishing the tail, Dora. The trick is to make the tail an integral part of the horse as if it has always been there. It mustn’t look added on.
      AS for the waiting room and the patients. We look forward going there as one always gets to know something more about oneself through the others.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    I hope she survives, too!
    I think it’s so sad when a mother has to leave her children and when children have to lose their mother. 😦 My oldest sister got cancer in her 20’s and died from cancer at the age of 42. She left 4 children without a mom. 😦

    Excellent blog post, Gerard! My continued love, healing wishes, and (((HUGS)) for you and Helvi! 🙂

    I’ve been sitting in a lot of cancer clinics and waiting rooms over the past 3 years. I’ve heard a lot of stories, too, and they have made me grateful for life and love and laughter. I know that each person sitting there is fighting a battle, dealing with physical and emotional pain, deal with life-changes, thinking about their mortality, etc. I wouldn’t want to minimize anyone’s struggle. If they are struggling (no matter how big or how small the struggle) they need someone to listen and give comfort. 🙂 I appreciate those who have listened to me. 🙂

    How is Horse doing?
    HUGS!!! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. gerard oosterman Says:

    One learns to be frugal with time. Trying to get things done in between appointments. The radiation is now over half way but still another ten sessions to go. Through one patient we have joined a group of people doing a course run by Universities for the retired. The theme of the course is ‘Dutch Children books.’ I am curious what that entails.

    Talking about tails. The horse now has a tail and am in the process of trying to paint it in colours that are already on the horse.
    Through sheer luck I managed to buy a spray can of grey which matches the colour of the horse’s mane.

    The next job will be to make ears and somehow attach them as well. It would be nice to get an appraisal of authenticity and age of this horse. It would mean to get core samples carbon dated which I believe can be quite expensive. We shall see, Caroline.

    Sitting in cancer clinics can be uplifting and I am amazed with the bon-homie. Generally, doctor waiting rooms can be a bit glum with not much talk. Leafing though faded magazines mostly about faded film stars or faded celebrities is depressing. I think a book exchange is a much better idea. And that little kitchen with tea and coffee facilities and biscuits also helps patients opening up and sharing their plights and tribulations. Thank you for your best wishes, Caroline.

    How are you going? Hope things are going well for you.
    Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. shoreacres Says:

    Your tales of life in the waiting room remind me of a proverb dear to my Swedish grandmother: “Friendship doubles our joy and divides our grief.” There are varieties of friendship, and I’d say the temporary, circumstantial friendships that develop in situations like the one you and Helvi share are nonetheless quite real. I daresay most people you’ve met find the same kind of solace.

    How nice that you found just the right shade of gray for the horse’s tail! I’m anxious to see it once it’s all spiffed up. I think it’s a magic horse — who knows where it will take you?

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, between horse tail renovations, radiation meetings and Mother’s day, things are hectic.
      On top off it all there was Eurovision. Australia had high hopes for their musical number but sadly came in 20th. After watching huge numbers of video clips at every commercial break on TV I was glad to see the back of that number.
      It is becoming more of an acrobatic event with people leaping about, somersaulting and doing everything but making nice singing.
      The horse is much happier now with the tail, Linda.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Big M Says:

    Yes, cracking a fat, one of lifes great pleasures fades to insignificance when compared to shuffling off this mortal coil, and missing out on one’s kids. One hopes the dear woman survives. The waiting room becomes an ad hoc support group. Some support more than others. Some have greater capacity than others. Some perceive their illness as being worse, or easier than others. One never knows.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, we have a day off, Big M. In another 2 weeks all we have then is once every three weeks chemo treatment at the local cancer clinic. It means we can get about a bit more, visit people and places. Bali? Who knows?
      We shall miss our radiation group.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    Catastrophe does seem to draw people together. As you say, they are all in the same boat. Everyone’s private hell is worse for them than any other person. The loss of an erection seems irrelevant in comparison to some others, but obviously he judges himself on the loss of that ability. Too bad to think so little of oneself.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I suppose the man will get used to his loss of his erection and pick up a hobby. Is that all that drove him?
      I have gone to my group of elderly people discussing Dutch Children’s books. It was really a Dutch language lesson. Very enjoyable. We had a coffee in between. My hearing, or the lack of it plays havoc with my answers to what people are telling me. I can tell that by the puzzled look on their faces.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. rangewriter Says:

    I had to laugh, in spite of myself. Your post really does a great job of summing up that infernal difference between male/female libido. It seems a nasty trick that has been played upon couples. But each loss to a disease is a personal affront. Cancer/cancer treatment robs people of so much: hair, energy, tumescence, appetite, spirit, …. Each individual’s loss is important to that person. I think it’s therapeutic for patients to be able to share their disappointments. And though the wife may be just as tired as her husband (in entirely different realms) she should keep her trap shut about that which he grieves. Good luck to you Gerard. I hope your treatment delivers what is promised with a minimum of what it steals.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, there is so much more to life than a hotchpotch mixture of libidos and the quicker that is realized the better.
      What can be more satisfying that drinking a glass of water when one is thirsty. Compare that with all that grief and regrets about what could or could not be? The banana skin on the doorstep of life so often is sex with all that going up and down. and not really ending up anywhere. It is not that one arrives in Munich or Copenhagen afterwards.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. rangewriter Says:

    You crack me up with your banana skin!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: