Wednesday, April 17, 2013


She just left my apartment, my favorite next patio neighbour. One month ago she had come to tell me that because of the 'no smoking rule' here, they were going to move away. Today she came to tell me that she was diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas, how painful it is and that she is seeing a specialist tomorrow who will tell her if she can be operated and that they are moving this Friday. She has lost 25 pounds, the tiny lady, and for killing the terrible pain, she has been prescribed painkillers that are stronger than morphine. Yes, she is still smoking and yes she wants to be operated on or avail herself of chemo treatments.                                                            "Look, my sister agreed to the treatments and she had time to go on a beautiful trip before she died" she said.
It was a short visit. She feels very weak. We hugged and exchanged 'phone numbers.
I feel so helpless. I hope so much to be able to talk with her again.

I doubt that anybody in our building here is younger than I am. Maybe one or two years yes but that does not help when I realize that my turn to move out might be next. I have been reminded to often since the beginning of the year.

Mrs. #4 no longer being a 'case' for home care never came back here  and Mr. Lovebird's induced coma turned into eternal sleep.  It was here, not long ago, that I talked about them.

And, mid-March I was away visiting and when I came back 3 days later, I found a note on my door saying that two bouquets of flowers have been left with Apt.#10 for me. You see, I had made it to one more birthday. I picked up the 'phone and checked in with them via answering machine. The Mr. called me back 3 hours later "I put the flowers in the office. I'm coming down, meet me there".  Two gorgeous arrangements were standing from Pasha and one from her twins. I turned to the Mr. and with a wide smile began "So kind of you, thank....." when he interrupted me with  "my wife died". She had died a few hours ago. We hugged and sobbed.

I realize that this is a sob story but writing it helped me to appreciate how fortunate I am.  
The only thing I can complain about is that I am a bit slower in doing things. Yes, so who needs to be fast when enjoying life?




Sabine said...

Oh so sad.

Halle said...

It is understandable to feel helpless. You have been a friend to these people, something they have taken with them.
As for wondering if you are next, perhaps you are like my great grandmother who in her eighties travelled around with a singing group entertaining the seniors. When she finally moved into a nursing home, she started helping out in the kitchen, making her wonderful pies.
She died well into her hundreds.

Glad you are enjoying life!

Tom said...

I would like to say something wonderful in answer to your sad post, something uplifting perhaps. The most wonderful thing I can say is that you are still with us. And today, today and today is worth the living.

Rouchswalwe said...

Sabine, Halle, and Tom are wonderful people. As are you, dearest Ellena. The Japanese have a saying, "fall down 7 times, get up 8 times." Heute leben wir!!

Roderick Robinson said...

I'm surprised there is any talk of operation with pancreatic cancer; it's usually so fast, not that that's any comfort. The other problem with choosing the op. is that part of what is usually a very limited period must then be devoted to recovering from the op. But then the onlookers must never be allowed to suggest - it's up to the sufferer.

If you don't mind me saying so, you manage to maintain your own quirky style through all this travail. That's a singular achievement. Bonne chance.

Ellena said...

Thank you all.

Yes, and more sad on it's way.

Being on your grandmother's path already I was glad to dry dishes and ustensils of a spagetti meal at our 'Golden Age' club, attended by 120persons.

Welcome, and "Play it again, Tom".

Let's lift a glass to all of US wonderful people here.

I'm a silent onlooker/listener. Denial seems to be the first reaction to such news.
I need quirky style being surrounded by so many quirky personalities, here.
(I had to google the word and hope I'm not misusing it).