The Oncologist

The oncologist put his hand with outspread fingers in front of my nose. He had asked me to come alone to his office.

“You don’t have to shove it in her face,” he said. “But you will want to know. She is going to die. She waited too long.”

She found out for sure when she was thirty-nine years old, but probably suspected it for several years before that. We sat together when the definite results were given to us. She squeezed my hand and wouldn’t let go.

“There are only two choices at this stage. Start radiation and chemotherapy immediately.” He paused to let that sink in. “Or a hysterectomy.” Another brief pause. “You will have to decide. I can’t tell you which is better for you. You will probably want to talk it over.”

We did. She didn’t want those poisonous drugs and radiation with all those side effects she had read about. A week later she was under sedation in a hospital bed. The surgeon called me out into the corridor.

“We don’t want to tell her until she has recovered some of her strength.”

“Tell her what?”

“We couldn’t take out the uterus. The cancer has spread to the …

[The document’s review marks shows that Patrick stopped writing here on 15 Sep ’15.]

This incomplete piece came from a collection of files Patrick called Scattered Notes.odt dated from 2014 to 2016.