Writing Practice – 6/26/2019

Why did your side hurt this morning?

Your side hurt because, I’m sorry to say, that’s the last sign of cancer. The scans came back – you have a lump the size of a softball under your ribs. It’s now pushing on your liver, and that’s what caused your pain this morning.

I’m surprised you didn’t come see me earlier. Often, something much smaller than this will cause discomfort, if not outright pain, long before. Either you got very lucky (well, I know it’s not right to say lucky when you’re getting bad news, now is it? My apologies for that misstatement [No, I’m not sorry, I simply apologized. Sorry is an emotion,a. Regret for wrong and harm done. I did you no harm by stating it that way, so why should I apologize?])

Now, where were we? Yes. You must have either gotten very “unique circumstances” [Is that better. Wouldn’t want to offend you again.] in that you either did not feel the tumor pressing on your ribs and your liver and your intestines for months now, or you have an extremely high pain tolerance, and did not feel that the level had yet risen to one which necessitated modification. Hey! I’m trying to give you a compliment here. [Maybe yes it doesn’t much matter, how does it, because yes, you will be in quite a lot of pain over the next few months.]

Oh, I have also thought of another possibility. It could be that you did feel the pain, and that it was at a level that you knew you should get it checked out all those months ago, yet you were too stubborn to come to the doctor, insisting that you were fine, and thus prolonging your pride in yourself and your delusional belief in your faith to heal you.

What I am not derogatory. I am simply exploring all options, all possible avenues of the reason you had a pain in your side this morning, sir, instead of two or four or six months ago. We must admit, one of those reasons could have been your ego.

Now – If you will allow me to continue –

Yet another reason may have been fear. Fear of surgery, pills, or cost. All of which are reasonable fears, sir, but none of which are in the least appropriate for this situation. No? Your’e not fearful? Well, then, perhaps you’re stupid. And you don’t know that pain isa. signal to the brain that something is wrong somewhere, and you should take steps to alleviate the problem. SIT DOWN, SIR! I am not finished with you yet!

You, sir, may be affronted by my blunt manner. I make no excuses for it. I am a man of science, and I must approach the problem scientifically. Since, then, yo have not yet agreed with any of my hypotheses for why you had pain this morning, I must continue my exploration. Finished with your rant?

Good.

Finally, and, sincerely I do believe this is the final option, I must suggest that your felt the pain this morning because you are very, very smart and very, very shrewd. I can see, sir, by the way your bitter, shrill wife beside you treats you and me and my assistance staff outside that she is not a nice woman. She must be terrible to live with. It must be an absolute hell to wake up to that each morning. And thus I conclude, too, from what you have told me of your spiritual beliefs that there is nothing in the way of extraordinary measures that would be taken at the pronouncement of a terminal illness.

Thus, since you knew, at the outset of your pain, that you’d would likely have many, many more years of that same hard, shrill woman by your side, again respecting your religion’s prohibitions against divorce, you chose, in that fateful moment, to mask what you hoped would be a progressive, ultimately fatal condition. And, as it would, as it grew and intensified, that certainty that I, or another professional would announce you terminal only grew in parallel. Having that welcome possibility [illegible], a certainty with which you could assume that I would be the bearer of “bad” news to your wife, which at the same time [illegible] your release from the confines of this marriage, you finally decided that you were ready to abdicate your position as husband, aided and abetted by the tumor growing on your liver, thus achieving a dual purpose – ridding you of the confines of your marriage, while at the same time absolving you of the guilt of having done so of your own volition.

Do I have that about right?

I can only presume by your silence that I do. Madam, I am, in this one, sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Your husband will die, likely within four to six weeks. I suggest you both prepare yourselves. My assistant at the front has a packet of references to a hospice, a funeral home, and a cemetery, also well as a grief share group and a widows’ support group. Good Day to you both.

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