I have a blood disorder called Essential Thrombocytosis. I have two injections per week, which, will hopefully stop me from having a stroke. I’ve had two minor strokes to date. The injections need to be refrigerated, so moving in to a house with no power was not ideal.
I took the injections to my brother’s house; and I took my parents with me, so they could sit in the warmth for a while and drink a cup of warm tea. In all honesty, I cannot remember much of the visit. I all ready felt overwhelmed and dazed. And I’d only moved in with my parents a couple of hours beforehand.
All I know for sure is that I sat quietly amongst family, barely speaking, barely functioning. My mind was running a million miles an hour, yet I had no idea what to do. The lack of power was my first job to get fixed, but that wouldn’t happen until Monday morning. In the meantime … I could only worry, about everything.
I didn’t say much, but the look on my face and the lack of colour spoke volumes to my family (except my parents). They were concerned. My brother wanted to help but Dad refused his help, so they attempted to help in other ways; by providing food, a gas cooking stove and support.
We didn’t stay long.
When we arrived home, Dad patted my arm and said, “Thanks for taking us out today. You can go now.”
“Go?” I replied. “Go where?”
“Go home.” He pushed me towards the door.
“I’m not going anywhere, Dad. I live here now.”
He didn’t look pleased, even though he was the one who had asked me to move in. He had been pushing for it for weeks. We stood facing each other, I stared into his eyes, and that’s when I realised the depth of the issue. The cancer had gone to my father’s brain!
The first evening is a total blur. I couldn’t cook a hot meal, because of the lack of power. I did make cups of tea and hot milo on the little gas stove, but apart from the lack of electricity, my parents also had no food in the house. I hadn’t looked in the cupboards before we went out. The food my sister-in-law had given me became a godsend.
We made do. Besides, it was obvious they hadn’t been eating properly, so I knew I would have to build their strength slowly. They both ate like tiny sparrows. But they ate. They drank. They sat with thick blankets and quilts around them to keep warm. We all went to bed early that night.
My bags, unpacked, sat on the floor of my old bedroom. It had been three decades since I had called it my room. My mother used the room as an extension to the bedroom she shared with Dad. Her belongings had overflowed into the wardrobe and drawers of my old room. I sat on the edge of the bed, staring at her belongings, wondering what our futures would hold.
I didn’t, couldn’t, sleep for hours.