That well used phrase in the title will haunt me forever. Such an innocent statement, that is full of hope, joy and jest. However it is such a dangerous sentence when used by the wrong person. Following on from the previous post here is the fine print in our story.
My lovely dad hasn’t taken a day off sick in 30 years. This isn’t a exaggeration. The only reason why I didn’t say 30+ years is because he took two days off to be in hospital due to a bad chest infection but was back to work within three days.
Two January’s before the one just gone, he had been feeling run down and achy so went to the doctors for a full check up. The results came back and the doctor said these words: ” Mr Carter your results have come back clear, you’re good for another 10-15 years. You are healthy”
Had they said this to a hypochondriac, or dare I say it: the majority of women, it would have been taken with a good old pinch of salt and back to the doctors we go when we still dont feel good.
The problem was they said these words to a man that doesn’t like going to the doctors to “make a fuss”, from a generation that takes statements from authority as gospel and who is fully stubborn. So off he went with this statement. He ignored the fact he didn’t feel any better weeks/months later and put it down to getting old because the doctor said he’d be good for at least another 10 years.
In the September a friend of my dads died of prostate cancer. He’d been ill for a year and he died a year later. At the funeral his wife begged the men in attendance to go get checked out by the doctor. Two years before this, I had asked my dad to get his prostate checked due to the fact my bed is against the bathroom wall and he had been getting up in the night a using the toilet more frequently. So when he had a check up he told me the tests had come back normal and I was relieved.
However the words at the funeral obviously struck a nerve with my dad because he made an appointment to check his PSA levels were fine in the full check up he’d had (PSA is the hormone that indicates how your prostate is behaving). Upon going the doctor said “oh no sorry we never do that in a full check up, was that something you wanted?” and so he had it done. Two days later he got a call back to come in ASAP.
It took them a week to tell us it was malignant cancer and four to tell us it had spread to his bones in several places and it was terminal.
As you know from my first post im a biologist, a human biologist that has extensively studied cancer biology. It’s up there with the worst things you can be (cancer biologist probably being the worse) when someone you love is diagnosed with cancer. They say knowledge is power but in this instance it’s enough to ruin you.
For four weeks I looked people in the face and lied. Told them not to give up on hope to just “wait and see”. Although I knew the prognosis from the first set of scans, thats not what they wanted me to say. They needed me to say that he’s gonna be fine, I couldn’t say that because he wasn’t. So hope and lies was all I had to give.
A little while after we found out, Rob had been scared (by me I think) into going to get a few niggles looked at, at the doctors (different county, different doctors). Paranoia had fully set in and I forced him to let me go with him. He had a full check up and was fine. As we reached the door the doctor stretched out his hand for rob to shake and said:
“as good as new, you’ll be good for another 10 years”
I said to him please never say that again, and proceeded to cry.
Its such a harmless sentence but said by a doctor can have such a horrible outcome. It still haunts me, I very much believe you cant change the past so why worry, but if that doctor hadnt have said that would he have gone back sooner?
The thing that upset me the most was that he said to them “but they told me I’d be good for 10 years. So I had been hiding the fact I didn’t feel well and ignoring it because I didn’t want to moan” Had I have known that he just “didn’t want to moan” I would have screamed it from the rooftops until someone listened.
Note to anyone reading: the sentence ” you’ll be good for another 10 years” is like a cars MOT it’s out of date as soon as they hand it to you.