Two days with Tom

The cancer progresses.

I’m trying to spend a couple of days a week in Salem. The only thing I can do for my brother at this point is let him know how much I love him. So that’s part of it.

And the only thing I can do for my sister-in-law is give her a chance to have a few hours of normalcy in the course of all of this. So that’s another part.

Tom is a tall guy, and right now his skin looks like it belongs to someone three time his size. His visible tumors become increasingly swollen and red and angry. The worrisome ones are apparent only by the effects. The one in the brain  causes anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, and confusion. The ones in his lungs are shortening his breath and causing a lot of congestion. It’s hard.

Somehow he still maintains a sense of humor, and periodically it surfaces. It reminds me why I love him so much.

I believe that we are not offered things with which we cannot cope. As Leslie Nielsen says in one of his insane movies, that which does not kill us makes us better. I take that more seriously than he seems to in the movie, but then Nielsen was never serious in public.

This is not killing me, but it is very, very hard to see someone you care a lot about suffering at this level. Hospice is great, and they’re keeping him physically as comfortable as is probably possible. But he still has enough cognition to feel what’s happening. And it hurts him.

I think at this point if I could give him one gift, it would be the gift of nepenthe, no sorrow, of oblivion. But I might be wrong about that. There is, after all, that occasional sense of humor.

That’s all for tonight.


2 Responses to “Two days with Tom”

  1. OmbudsBen Says:

    I’m sorry to read of his troubles, Marianne, but am glad he and his wife have you there to help them. I know you’re strong, and a pillar of strength for them both — my best wishes for all of you.

  2. Marianne Says:

    Thanks, Ben. This thing will play its course no matter what I do, and I appreciate the good wishes.

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