I take a pretty hard line about this issue of don’t tell. I don’t think any medical person (or family member) has the right to censor my health reality, even in the name of kindness. Whether the news is about how much time I have or how much functionality I’ll have – I want to know. Even if I don’t want to know, I need to know. The labyrinth of life is tangled enough without false exits being offered. I want to walk it carrying whatever my load is.
Richard was aware of my need for complete and accurate information; and he had the same need. We discussed whether he would accompany me to appointments with specialists and decided that four ears were better than two. We asked questions from different perspectives and remembered responses the other sometimes forgot. We both found this to be a very useful form of partnering.
Prognoses of death or limitation are not the end. While the final certainty of loss is unavoidable as we age, with the truth as catalyst, who knows what new paths any one of us may create, even in the last moments of life. My pain brought me my dog, yoga, a few glowing embers of spirituality, and strangers who, surprisingly, became beloved allies.
What is your stance on the issue of to be told or not to be told?
Have you faced the situation of having to decide whether or not your partner should be told the medical truth? How did you handle it?