It’s already 6 months, Dad. 6 months have already passed. It’s absurd, it’s really absurd the way in which time shortens our perceptions, the way in which it erases the moments and summarizes them in a few images, the way in which it seems to me that a lifetime has passed and at the same time that it was only yesterday. That you gone away too.
I sit down to throw up some thoughts. Although this time I have less desire, but I owe it to Dad as I did with Mom. If I thought I could convey something of this situation that would improve people, I had to change my mind. They forget everyone quickly, whatever the impact may have had.
A year and a half is enough to change your life. It takes a lot less, actually. 10 days with Mum, 10 months with Dad.
A month after the loss of Mom (November 2016), the analysis of Dad started to report an altered value: the white blood cells. They should be maximum 10,000, they were 80,000. Within a few months they almost reached 200,000. It was a leukemia, a chronic lymphatic. A strong shock is also mentioned among its causes. Simona and I have always had a precise theory: being the white blood cells the defense of the organism from infections, it’s as if Dad’s immune system has reacted to the attack of life putting all its defenses in the field. Defenses that have slowly suffocated him.
After a few months when the situation got worse, he started using an experimental drug, and everything seemed to improve much faster than the doctors predicted. Too fast. The process has sped up. With chronic lymphatics you can cohabitated also all your life, it doesn’t necessarily become lymphoma, it doesn’t necessarily have to be Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (more aggressive than Hodgkin’s), it doesn’t necessarily have to become Richter’s Syndrome. Game over.
All this could have happened in 5, 6 or more years, instead 7 months seemed obviously enough to make us breathe a moment and start again.
It was early January when Dad’s lymphatic glands had swollen to the point that he didn’t seem to have a neck. And so in the whole body. The situation at home was increasingly disastrous, he couldn’t walk well, he was without strength, he didn’t sleep, he had different and continuous pains, we didn’t know how to help him, there was no drug he could, just start chemotherapy. The admission was delayed because there were no spot. We tried the first aid route in February.
Five hours of waiting on a stretcher, a night in the lobby, then a week in General Medicine (where they did nothing useful for the disease), and finally in Hematology. Here we were waiting for an medical examination from the Policlinico and one from Bologna to be sure about the nature of his illness and provide with chemo. The exams have strangely taken a month to arrive, much more than they should. And it was Richter’s Syndrome, the doctors told us trying to leave in us some hope anyway.
But on Wikipedia the explanation is very lapidary: “the therapy is based on chemotherapy, even if the positive response is rare. The prognosis is nefarious: the average survival, despite treatment, doesn’t exceed 8 months”.
This meant arriving in August, if everything went well. But you couldn’t even get to the next day and I have never stopped being aware of it. Every morning I arrived at the hospital or went downstairs to check how you were, afraid you hadn’t passed the night. The heart in the throat, the terror in the eyes but never in the voice.