It was a typical New York day in January. Glen sat in the living room on his favorite chair. Sharon, his wife, sat by the window. Oh Dont the leaves look beautiful today. So pretty. Yes, yes, Glen said, playing along, Ive always liked the winter leaves the best and he chuckled a little bit. About a minute later Sharon said Is it supposed to rain? Its really getting windy, I hope we dont lose any trees. This time Glen looked up from his typing and glanced out the window at the dead calm. He put his laptop aside and walked over to Sharon. Are you O. K. honey/ he asked. Oh, I feel wonderful sweetheart, I love you so much. O. K. honey, I love you too. Glen went into the bed room and called Doctor McAllister and explained the scenario. Whats happening Doc.? The doctor was silent for a moment I cant say for certain, bring her to the hospital first thing tomorrow, well need to check some things.
Glen thought she seemed a little off for the last couple days, but they had an appointment for next week and he figured it was no big deal. But this was a full blown hallucination. Kind of hard to ignore. She had finished her last round of Chemo a month and half ago and things were looking O. K. then. But now the results of the CAT scan left no doubt that things were regressing rapidly. These are large tumors and theyre too deep for any kind of surgery, But we can try some aggressive Chemo, Radiation, We can throw everything weve got at it, And hope. How much hope is there? Should we really put her through all that? I dont want to torture her. Glen, theres no wrong answer here, Go home and talk it over, Let me know what you decide. But dont take long, understand? Glen shook his head.
Glen wasnt sure if Sharon could even comprehend the gravity of the situation. He tried to talk to her that night but all she said was that she felt fine and that he should do what he thought was best. This was completely different than the past episodes. They were Team Cancer Stoppers, not the greatest name but it helped them both focus on battling the cancer. And it has been quite the battle. Radiation, chemo, hair loss, ulcers, debilitating fatigue, nausea and on and on. And now, one more time? He didnt know if she could take it, didnt know if HE could take it.
The next morning they went down to Dr. McAllisters office. Sharons mood was sullen and she complained of a head ache, she l wasnt really comprehending the situation. Dr. McAllister gave her some heavy duty pain killers and now she just sat staring out the window. Im not sure what to do Doc Glen said his voice quivering a little. I dont want to just give up. What are the odds of success here. Can we get back to a neutral position . I just want to do the best thing for Sharon. The doctor looked at Glen I showed your wifes test results to some other specialists, At this point only an aggressive approach has any chance of minimal success. And in your wifes weakened state, she might not even survive the treatment. What is minimal success? Glen asked. One or two extra months the doctor said. Glen sat down, his head hung, one or two months he muttered. He sat there for a minute one or two months of torture. he said in a raised voice. Dr. McAllister walked over and sat beside Glen. Im sorry, I know there are no good choices here but I want you to be fully aware of what the reality is. Dont be sorry, I knew this would come some day, you just always hope its not here yet. So how much time does she have? about a month, the doctor said. Can she come home, and not spend her remaining time in some hospital room? The Doctor shook his head, sure, we can give her some meds that will make her comfortable.
The meds made her comfortable and non responsive and sleepy and Glen was wondering if he should have just put her in the hospital anyway. He envisioned Sharon and him having some sort of closure. There were so many things he wanted to say, but she couldnt understand anything. She didnt even want to look out the window, It was as if she was already gone. After two weeks she slept almost all the time, so Glen admitted her to the Hospital. He felt guilty, but she really didnt know the difference now.
Glen went home that evening and looked around the house. The reality was starting to hit him in waves. He looked in the kitchen, her favorite hobby was cooking. He would never see her baking or whipping up some casserole again. He walked to the living room. They would never share some coffee and the Sunday paper again. He wandered into the bedroom, he would never watch her stand in front of the closet, wrapped in a towel, fretting over what to wear on date night. Never, ever again. He sat on the bed, then flopped back and started weeping. He had no reason to be strong any more and he wept uncontrollably. At some point the became self- conscience of his crying but he didnt care. It was time to let go.
The next few weeks Glen spent as much time as possible at the hospital. Some people came to visit but he hated that. He didnt want them to see her like this. She was a beautiful and energetic woman and now, pale and gaunt, he hardly recognized her anymore. He even thought of getting a life size photo of her to hang in front of the bed, but then thought better of it. He was there to see her last labored breaths. And he thought he would cry, but he didnt. He was glad. Glad that her hell was finally over.