they set me up the bed. But it was too far away. So I’m sleeping in the chair so I can hold his hand — Caroline, a tweet from Fairfax Hospital this morning
Sombre news. My daughter Caroline’s partner, soon-to-be husband, Rob, has colon cancer. She took him into the hospital on Wednesday night in excruciating pain, and when the operation began at midnight, they discovered the malignant growth. As I understand it, part of his colon and intestines were moved to remove the cancer, together with some infected nodes.
He was conscious enough to be told and take in the news yesterday. They were to be married in a couple of weeks, August 3rd, in her de facto sister-in-law’s large garden outside her house. A small party afterwards. We hope they will still do it as there will be a recovery period after the operation, before he starts chemotherapy (estimated 9 [?] months). Yvette and I had just bought two very pretty dresses, and Caroline has had hers in the closet for a couple of months now (from one of these new elegant thrift shops).
He is (the hospital people predict) to come home on Tuesday or Wednesday. Rob has long had a cat, Lucy, now elderly, the kind of cat who clings to one person and keeps away from all others, who must be missing him very badly by now.
Here are some photos of Rob and Caroline from a short trip they took together in 2006.
An irony is that his father is enduring a third bout of cancer just now. The first was colon cancer, when his father was 50. So Rob’s case is partly hereditary. Betty, the wife and mother, had been staying in the hospital with Rob.
As to my metaphor, I’ve just finished watching Andrew Davies’s magnificent 6 part Vanity Fair, have been reading and dipping into Thackeray’s extraordinary text. I also thought of Ralegh’s poem Life (as recited by Emma Thomson in the movie, Wit). As everyone knows who knows Thackeray’s book — or Alcott’s Little Women (remember Meg overdressed at that party?), Vanity Fair is but one stage on the pilgrim’s journey; Ralegh’s poem tells of other stages than Shakespeare’s famous lines (All the world’s a stage,/And all the men and women merely players”), Ralegh touching more on farce (e.g., “where we are dressed for this short comedy”).
And of course Jane Austen who we are told during one stage of her last illness slept in three chairs while her mother got the couch (they had but one day-couch) …
But come, no shutting up of puppets, our play — due to modern medicine — is by no means played out. We have just entered a new act.