Wednesday, September 13, 2023

What is THIS fresh hell?

Tim is a quiet person. In his current situation, I take my cues from him. He does the telling in our local circle, Our kids know, of course. Our close friends. But over all, not many. Except that I've broadcast it worldwide, but my blog is not read locally, so it is not as intrusive as you might think. 

Anyways, one of his friends assured him that this was all a big nothing-burger. He had the surgery, and it is nothing. He doesn't have any problems, so Tim has nothing to worry about. 

Tim got off the phone with him and came in and sat down on the couch. "________ says this is no big deal." 

I looked at him from my couch. "You know, someday, I'm going to kick his ass. He did NOT have the same thing. He did NOT have cancer. He had a TURP and it is NOT the same thing." 

Tim threw up his hands in exasperation. "Fine! Fine!" 

I have a secret fear. Tim was once scheduled for surgery on his spine. A vertebrate was pressing on a nerve. The morning of the surgery, I got up at o'dark thirty and hopped in the shower. We had a long drive ahead of us. Tim came in and said, "I'm not having the surgery." 

And he didn't. Just like that. He's a stubborn man. He's dealt with that nerve pain ever since, his thoughts on it being that he had seen too many people have back surgery, and that surgery started a chain of events that were the start of a real decline in their health and mobility. He didn't want to be unable to work. 

We have this surgery scheduled for October 27th. I am worried because I harbor this fear that Tim will simply wake up and decide not to have surgery. 

So I don't want to hear it minimized. Neither do I want to catastrophize it. It is what it is. He has cancer, and the goal is to stop the spread. 

This friend of Tim's happened to call while Tim was out. Tim had left his phone on the table. And his friend began to speak in a voice dripping with concern. "How IS Tim?" 

"He's doing fine. It is a waiting time, and that is never fun, but we are keeping busy."

And he began to tell me that this was nothing to worry about. I did not reply because I was becoming irritated with him. He must have sensed it, because he said, "Listen, if you don't want to talk about it..." and I said, "Tim is a quiet man, and he is shy. I don't know what he's told people and I feel like that is his decision how information he wants to share. But I can tell you this. You did NOT have the same thing. This is serious. This is cancer. This is a high grade, aggressive cancer."

There. I said it. 

And he began to nosey around a bit. I began to get quite vague. 

He said, "Don't be offended, but I wanted to tell you that I pray for Tim. I pray Catholic prayers, and that offends some people." 

"Why would it be offensive?" I said, a bit more peevishly than I meant to be. "My God, we're not evangelicals."

He wound up with "If there is anything you need..." and I said, "Really, there is not, not now anyway. Things might change after the surgery, but we really are just perfectly fine.

He said, "I would be glad to drive you to Erie. I'll sit with you..." At that moment, Tim pulled in the driveway. I have never been so grateful to see him. "Tim's home," I said and I carried that phone right out to the car.

Later that night, I said to Tim, "Whatever you do, do not agree to let him drive us to Erie. I swear to sweet Jesus I would kill him." 

Tim laughed.

I remember when I was diagnosed with cancer. This same friend came to the house. Tim had left for work. My daughter and I listened to him for over an hour. He told tales of people he knew who had died gruesome cancer deaths. He finished each story with, "But you don't have to worry about that. Yours is a different kind of cancer." Then he would launch into another story. When he left, I said to my daughter, "You know, I get the feeling that he wanted to make me cry so that he could be a comfort..." She replied, "All I know is that I will never get that hour of my life back." 

People have been kind. People have been very encouraging to Tim and I am so grateful for that. I really am. 

But this is not kindness. 

It is not concern. 

I'm not even sure what you would call it. 

37 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Not mine. I guess men connect on a different level. I don't know. He and Tim have been friends for years. He's a know it all and he talks a lot. I try to be respectful, because I suppose I've got friends that Tim doesn't click with, but honestly...OMG.

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  2. He is a person who wants to be important and needed. He is the last type of 'friend' one needs in this situation. But then it's none of my business. As for pulling out of cancer surgery when It's recommended.....unthinkable.

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    1. You know, Graham, you are correct, and that is something that I keep forgetting in my exasperation with him. He is simply a person who wants to feel important and needed. And don't we all, really. Thanks for that.

      I think Tim's on board. I just need to keep him there.

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  3. I would call it none of his damn business, period, full stop. He is not a physician, he knows none of the details, it's not his life that is at risk here, it's Tim's and yours.

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    1. It's just that he wants the details. He is just looking to get a chance to find out the details.

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  4. He's trying to ingratiate himself into your family, in the worst way possible. The last thing you need right now (or ever). Ugh!

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    1. I've always let Tim handle him, because he is someone who really needs to be involved.

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  5. Manipulation, you could call it that. Bullshit, that's a good one too. He needs to mind his own fucking business. Neither of you needs the added stress of dealing with people like that. I used to wonder why people wouldn't just tell others about their cancer but I've learned over the years that just telling others opens a whole nother can of worms that you may or not have the bandwidth to deal with.
    I'm glad you've got Tim's back, I'm sure he is too.

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    1. Yes. And I really do need to learn how to accept people for what they are. His bad behavior doesn't provide me with a reason to behave badly. I didn't. But I was wobbling on the edge of bad behavior.

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  6. Having dealt with cancer and death in my immediate family, I have learned that saying the minimum amount or just listening is best. Some people just aren't comfortable with silence and ramble on until they say stupid things that aren't helpful at all.

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    1. He's a person who never notices silence. He tends to fill up the space with the sound of his own voice.

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  7. Ewwww; poopy friend. Sounds like his "Catholic" prayers are meshed with the devil of inappropriate intrusion. Ditto the comments above. You're being a good Nurse/Spouse! Yep, it's 24-hour duty. Be safe! Linda in Kansas

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  8. Not someone you want around. Good you had a word in his ear....

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    1. He's lucky it wasn't shouted in his ear. I was upset at the time.

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  9. Everyone has a horror story and unfortunately many of them want to share it. I've never understood that. (whether sickness, birthing, or any life event)

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  10. You're right. Glen has had male friends for years that I'm not sure he even likes very much but...as you said- a different type of connection.
    That guy has some sort of huge deficit of knowledge of what empathy really is. Also? I think he has some damn issues to work out himself.

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  11. What an ASS. Seriously. He sounds nosy and meddling and not at all sincere, like he's using others' illnesses to get attention for himself. Ignore that nonsense.

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    1. It really just irked me. I'm over it now. I've got character flaws of my own.

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  12. I think many of us have ‘friends’ like that.. they mean well, but they need to be needed.. and end up putting their feet in their mouths! I’m glad you got to tell him that Tim’s case is more serious, and while I’m not religious I’ll pray that Tim doesn’t think he can skip this surgery!🙏As always, best wishes from Ricki

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    1. I lost my faith a couple years ago. It hasn't come back. I never feel the need to challenge anyone else's faith. What they believe doesn't affect what I believe.

      I wish that I didn't have all these niggling worries.

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  13. Sounds like a person who hasn't figured out that he doesn't really know what he's talking about or when he shouldn't. There are not too many of those around, I don't think -- but there are more than enough. I have been in similar shoes -- saying something I meant to assure the friend with cancer that I was open to talk about anything she chose -- but not realizing how it sounded so different to her than it did to me, and how it was hurtful and tone-deaf. I think that is common and one of your earlier commenters said it best: say less, listen more. I learned my lesson. -Kate

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    1. He is really the only one that has vexed me. Most everyone has been wonderful and sensitive and helpful.

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  14. I think many of us may know a person like that but life is too short be bothered with them.

    Tim may well have made the right decision about back surgery. I've never heard of anyone who has had back surgery and remarked that it was a great success.

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    Replies
    1. It is a lot easier to not be bothered if it doesn't play into an emotional time.

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  15. Well, he certainly didn't help at all. You and Tim can manage without him, for sure!

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    1. I really get the idea that he doesn't want to help really. He just wants to be involved. I think that Graham is right.

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  16. Replies
    1. Jerk, not jersey, lol! Autocorrect strikes again. At least it made me laugh, after feeling so incensed at the behavior of this guy.

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    2. LOL. Autocorrect gets me regularly.

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  17. I'm sure many people have had the same experience as you've had. Some people have tin ears . they are not nice to be around.

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  18. I never heard that expression, Red. Thanks!

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  19. It sounds to me like he's using Tim's situation to inwardly congratulate himself on his own empathy.

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  20. I don't think his brain functions quite normally.

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