The GIST tumour growing in my stomach is rare. Benign, thankfully, but rare. There are only three hospitals in the country that can remove it, apparently. Not only that but it is in a tricky place. In my stomach but one centimetre from the junction where the oesophagus comes in to the stomach, so they have got to be very careful removing it, in case they damage the oesophagus. Trust me to be awkward. They want to remove it sooner rather than later as it could turn malignant and has already obviously bled. However, life is not that simple.
My 92-year-old mother suffers from chronic arthritis and is in severe (and I mean severe) pain, particularly in her knees and back. She creeps around her warden-assisted flat holding on to the furniture to cross a room and yells out in pain when she tries to stand up or sit down. I am her sole child and sole carer. I help her all I can, taking her to appointments, shopping, visiting. She saw an orthopaedic consultant in January who promised her she was not too old for a knee replacement operation and she was booked in for 1 March to have it done under a spinal anaesthetic. However, at the pre-operation assessment she was told she had a bladder infection and they wouldn't go ahead with the operation unless she was infection-free. So the date of 1 March was cancelled and no other date given. That much I understand, but after a course of antibiotics, a 2-week wait to ensure the bacteria had not recolonised and a second test, she still has an infection. The daft thing is, she has no symptoms at all, never has, but the tests keep coming back positive. This now means more (stronger) antibiotics, another two-week wait, another sample - you get the picture. Next test for her will be at the end of March. We could be repeating this little game up until Christmas. Meanwhile my poor old mum is in agony.
Now here's the complication. When we finally do get the go-ahead to book her a date for her operation (and assuming the bacteria have not returned in the meantime), I shall be the only one to take her to the hospital , visit from time to time, do the washing of her personal things for her, see her home again and get her over the worst. It therefore makes sense to do that before I have my operation. If I have mine first, I shall be out of action for at least four weeks afterwards - that means virtually housebound on my own, not able to lift anything heavy or do any driving, so my mother would have to wait at least a month before I can begin to help her over her operation. But with her date going ever further into the future, how long can mine go on hold?
Chicken or egg? Egg or chicken? Why is life never straightforward?