Maybe I Should Have


Maybe I Should Have

beads-363644_640In February, my mom, two sisters and I went with my dad to meet his surgeon.

Before the surgeon joined us, we visited in the exam room. At one point, my dad said, looking at me, "I'm wondering if I made the right decision 11 years ago. Maybe I should have done this (the surgery to remove his bladder) then."

I replied, "It made sense the way you made your decision. Your treatments were once in awhile, the bag (the urostomy bag which he will wear after surgery) is all the time."

My comment to him was calm. But, inside, I panicked with my own "Maybe I should have..." moment.

Maybe I should have pushed him more to have a second opinion after his original diagnosis of bladder cancer. At the time, after he had a few days to absorb his news, I had said to him, "We are so lucky in that we live close to so many great hospital systems, like University of Chicago, Northwestern, Rush. What about going to one of those hospitals to get a second opinion?"

"Oh, no, I'm fine with what we're doing," he said. "I appreciate the suggestion but I want to stick with this doctor."

My older sister also spoke with him about getting a second opinion. He also declined.

His urologist would often say to my dad, "If you were a younger man, we would take out the bladder."

I found this to be a very odd comment, as my dad was a very active 72-year-old man at the time of his diagnosis. I mentioned this to my dad but he wasn't bothered.

We can't go back in time. And, if we could, would it help to tell my dad, "You will regret not having a second opinion"?

Managing situations that give life or bring death are simply awful. I appreciate we do our best within each moment. Sometimes, though, I wish we could take back just one moment for a re-do.