The bitterest pill

This is my, later than usual, entry into this week’s midweek blues buster challenge.

We all just sat there in complete silence when the news got broken. Nobody wanted to be the first person to say anything, just in case it turned out to be the wrong thing totally. Looking back on it now, I don’t even think there was a wrong thing that we could have said. The fact remained that, nobody wanted to be the first person to say anything at all.

The silence stretched until it became unbelievably uncomfortable. The doctor coughed slightly and adjusted the clipboard that he was holding. “I am sorry that these were not the words you were wanting to hear, but this is not the worst I could have said. I am actually very confident that, with the prescribed treatment, we will be able to aid Colin to make a full recovery.”

“Thank you, Doctor,” I mumbled as I reached for my husband’s hand. I never thought I would be in the room where I was told that my young son had leukaemia. The doctor had mentioned that they believed it was treatable, but that meant giving my baby boy chemotherapy which is something I did not want to happen. I was well aware the chemotherapy would make him feel very ill, and it was not something that I wanted to watch him go through.

Mind you, the other option was much worse.

My husband, Gary, looked at me pointedly before he looked back at the doctor. “We don’t really have a choice in this, do we?”

“Of course you have a choice, and whatever your decision will be it will be respected within this hospital. If you do not wish to proceed with any treatment then we will provide as much support for you as we can in what time Colin may have left.”

I shook my head. “We can’t just give up on him.” My fingernails bit into Gary’s hand as I thought about the future. “I just hope that he understands that we are making him feel worse in order to make him feel better.”

“In my not be as bad as you think,” Gary stated as he stood up to shake the doctors hand. “Thank you anyway for seeing us and explaining everything.”

“When would you like us to proceed?”

“No sense in delaying this, so what is the quickest that you can set this up?”

“We can start this afternoon.”

I grabbed at the desk as I bolted to my feet. I was suddenly in a panic, because I had so much to explain to Colin before everything started. How much was I going to tell him? There were literally no answers to the questions in my head. “That will be fine,” I stammered out as I made my way from the room and back towards the ward that contained my son.

Days turned into weeks, and then I was sitting at my son’s bedside as they started the second round of chemotherapy. As they handed him the tablet that was going to help with the nausea he turned to me and grimaced. “This is the bitterest pill.”

I smiled through the tears that had just sprung up behind my eyes. I looked away from him as I thought that he was wrong and the bitterest pill was actually mine because I had to watch him suffer.


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