Prognosis – Extract from Farther from the Sun.

I don’t mind being considered naïve and innocent. I don’t mind being considered idealistic and over-ambitious. As human beings increase in numbers to swamp the planet their effluent and pollution threaten the entire biosphere; as hundreds of species become extinct each day; as areas of natural habitat are destroyed daily; as millions of human beings starve; as wars and conflict rage out of control and threaten the destruction of the entire planet; as religions and nations spawn terrorists and war – surely someone has to offer a more sane answer?

Those smug rich bastards who run things, who look down their nose at do-gooders and environmental scum like me, who think that their way of life – snouts in the trough – has no end and that the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ are part of the natural way of the world, are surely not going to have the last say?

The human race is not going to be guided by such an arrogant, supercilious, ignorant, blind set of intelligent morons forever?

Is it?

That way is death.



We went to see the specialist at the hospital, just me and my dad. It was the meeting where the consultant gave us the results and told us what he was going to do about it. It was felt that dad had to have someone with him. I was that someone.

Dad had been in for the tests. They’d scanned and prodded, taken samples. Now was the day of reckoning.

Dad drove us to the hospital in his new car, his pride and joy – a blue Hillman Hunter.

I didn’t know it at the time but it was the last time that he drove me anywhere.

He was just the same as ever – driving aggressively. At one time a car pulled out to cross the road in front of us. Dad didn’t brake; he swerved around behind it and continued on as if nothing had happened. That was his way. I think it was the dispatch rider coming through.

The specialist was sombre. They’d diagnosed liver cancer. The swelling and tenderness was dad’s swollen liver. It was too advanced to treat. He was prescribing palliative treatment.

I took a minute to take that in.

They were going to let him die. How was that possible? He was my dad. How could he die? There had to be something that could be done.

There wasn’t.

Life doesn’t make much sense to me.

Death rarely seems fair.

We were both a bit stunned as we came out of that office. I don’t know if it had sunk in with dad. He chose to ignore the prognosis. He clung to the belief that they were treating it with pills. Pills could put anything right. The fact of death hovering there was not up for discussion.

Dad did not do death.


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