It’s a year since my dad fell ill. Several months since he passed. It’s snowy now, just like it was last year when he fell in the snow and could not stand up. We thought his legs were cold–nobody suspected that his fall was the first symptom of a large brain tumor which within months would make his body and mind useless.
If I could go back and talk to myself of a year ago, I would tell her to be strong.
I would tell her that her worst nightmare was going to come true. Dad was going to have a lot of futile treatment, suffer a lot, and die, after barely meeting his grandbaby.
And I would tell her that her life would go on, and that it would not always remain at the intense level of horribleness of that particular moment. And that with her father’s death, his suffering would be over. That the phrase “brain tumors” would plop back into the murky whirlpool of horrific things that happen to Other People, and she should live her life and let it go there. There is a poignant line in Dr. Frank Ochberg’s Survivor Psalm:
I may never forget, but I need not always remember.
I started bleeding the other day. We called the OB late at night. He told us that this far into pregnancy (it was 15 weeks or so) the most likely cause of bleeding was placenta previa. We asked if we should go to the ER (same ER that, a year ago today, told my dad he was fine and sent him home.) He said that in principle yes, but that in practice the ER would run a lot of useless tests and make us sit there all night. So just come in stat first thing in the morning.
We did. Since it was a walk-in appointment, we waited about two hours. The sonographer was the same sonographer as in my previous pregnancy, at another practice. She was very kind. She did a detailed sonogram. She was careful not to let us see the screen until she had found the baby. She consulted the doctor and returned and said that my cervix was closed and long, the placenta was anterior (not placenta previa), and basically that they didn’t know why I was bleeding but it didn’t seem like anything was wrong. Come back if it got worse or started again. The doctor didn’t need to see us at all.
I have never bled during pregnancy before, so it was a pretty unnerving experience.