On Thursday, I will finally see the oncologist to discuss what, if any, steps can be taken to address the rebellious cells currently busy trying to kill me. The appointment is, quite clearly, for me alone. Like so many others in this situation, since the advent of COVID, I am allowed no-one with me to listen, prompt, remember, or check what I am hearing. On Mary Smith’s advice, I will attempt to record the meeting if I can get permission to do so. Because my life, both in terms of quality and quantity, now literally depends upon what I hear, remember and understand. And there is every possibility that won’t be much.
Masks make hearing difficult for those of us who have to lip read part of the time. Learning how little time you may have, what procedures you may have to undergo (and because of fluid build-up around the heart, there is already a very unpleasant list before we even get to the chemotherapy bit)… it may be sufficiently upsetting to stop you taking things in and processing them. You cannot see the face of those who sit in judgement nor can they see yours.
How can either of you know the other at this stage, without the subtle visual clues and cues from which we as humans read so much? We are not designed to read too much from a flick of an eye… we need micro-expressions, warmth, twitches and connection before real understanding of each other can begin to happen.