The Phone Call
The phone rang at around six PM Monday 1st May 1995. My wife was still at work and I
assumed it was her calling to say she'd be late. The person who spoke, however, was the last person I'd have expected it to be...
"I'm very sorry to call you," he said. "I'm afraid I
already have your blood results, and the diagnosis is not good."
Now just that afternoon I was in his rooms. "As long as it isn't anything terminal, Doc." I had said. "You know, like Cancer or
He laughed: "No, I'm sure it's something simple. You'd be very unlucky if it were cancer."
I sat and listened as he explained to me what I had. His words melted away into the distance. Acute Leukaemia!
That was something bad. I couldn't
identify with it immediately, and didn't really understand the severity of the illness. I thought about movies I'd seen: people in wheel chairs with no hair; thin, anaemic people walking down shiny hospital floors
wrapped in loosely tied gowns; and people with a dozen tubes coming from their bodies.
As the doctor spoke I found my head spinning.
This cannot be me! This is not my phone call! This sort of thing just never happens to me.
Opening the Gates
I do not remember the entire conversation I had with the doctor on that day. I do,
however, remember every passing emotion, every feeling. My wife came home just as I had put down the phone. We sat on the couch and I relayed the news. She, too, was stunned. For a long moment we both
just sat and held each other. There were no words, no tears...
The doctor had told me to go to the hospital as soon as I could. My wife suggested I take a shower while she packed a few of my things. I stood in the shower
for ages, trying to understand what I had just been told. I felt the water gently massaging the back of my neck. I closed my eyes and tried to find that loose thread, that thought eluding my consciousness.
did this mean?
What was I about to face?
Suddenly, without warning, it clicked. All at once I understood the magnitude of my illness. It was as though every emotion I had channelled,
every feeling I had dammed up over the years of my life suddenly broke the walls.
I fell to the floor of the shower. The flood gates had been opened and my inner self came pouring out. I was losing
control, exploding into tears, spinning quicker and quicker - all the energy I had left twisted and gurgled as it emptied from my world...