Yesterday Spud and I headed South and visited my other grandpa, who was diagnosed with cancer a few weeks ago. Although he is home from the hospital now, he's receiving both oxygen and scheduled visits from carers as he is incontinent and bed-ridden. While I knew he was in a bad way, I wasn't quite prepared for how weak he really was. When I arrived he was lying feebly on the bed looking extremely pale and weak. His face brightened when he saw me. I kissed his cheek and held his hand, my eyes filling with tears which I blinked away before he noticed. He commented on how cold my hand was in his own.
My grandpa is not a man of many words, but we talked with him until the carers arrived, and he talked a fair bit in return. Even conversation was a physical effort for him, and once or twice he had to pause mid-sentence and take several deep breaths before he was able to continue. My eyes stung on those occasions, but I don't think my distress was visible to him. I just tried to be as normal as I could, and to take his mind off his discomfort. Granny said over lunch that he had talked a lot more than he usually did. What really pleased me was the way he seemed to brighten up as the day went on.
When we got back in the evening after seeing some friends, dad told me granny had rung to say grandpa really enjoyed our visit. I'm glad Spud and I were able to provide him with stimulating conversation and a bit of a distraction from his present circumstances. We still don't know the full extent of his cancer but it's not sounding good.