Palace of Care – Lockdown Locks and Roadblocks

Photo by Mirza Babic on Unsplash

You really need a haircut.

Yeah, lockdown hair. I usually look different, like in my ID photo, I have a nose and a mouth under my mask.

So what do you want?

I’m here to find out how you are.

I can’t keep anything down, whatever I swallow comes back up. I’m too scared to eat anything. There’s something wrong with my poos too, haven’t been for four days, usually go twice a day. Last time it was black and sticky.

Do you have pain?

No, no pain but my tummy is getting bigger, sometimes it’s hard to breathe.

Hmm, listening to your tummy it’s very quiet on the left side, but loud on the right side. What do you think is going on?

I’m feeling worse, much more tired the last few days. What’s happening in my tummy?

We know that you have cancer in your tummy. It can act like speed bumps on a road, slowing down your gut traffic, that’s why your poos have slowed down. If there are enough speed bumps in your tummy they can act like a road block, then traffic can’t get through, and has to come back up, that’s why you’ve been vomiting. We can try to loosen up the roadblock with steroid medication, and we can try and push the traffic through with another medication, but…

But…Go on tell me, I need to know.

But it might not work, and even if it did, it might not work for very long. I think you’re really unwell. And I need to ask you what you really want. Would you want us to try treatment, or not? If this bowel obstruction/roadblock doesn’t settle down, you will get worse, and will die.

I appreciate your honesty, I need to talk to my sons about what to do.

That’s fine, please have a good chat with them, in the meantime I’ll try and make your more comfortable. Do you have any questions?

No, not yet, I’ve already taken up half an hour of your time. [Starts to sip on water]

I’ve only been here for ten minutes, it’s just felt like half an hour. You’re lucky you’re not my wife, one hour spent with me, feels like seven hours to her, like in dog-time.


Sorry, I didn’t mean to drown you. You’ve had enough of me haven’t you?

Yeah, see ya later. Thank you for being straight up with me, that’s how I’ve always been with people.

No worries, you talk to your boys. You need to do the right thing for yourself. You are in charge here, not me. I will be guided by what you want. Would you like me to close the door?

Nah, keep it open, let some air in. See ya.


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