Dad's Diagnosis

Below is a set of loose thoughts, I tried to pull them together in a more coherent way but I couldn’t without being more twee. 

My dad made me funny and my mum made me sensible. 

While I may struggle to prove to other people that either of those are true, it’s how I feel. I’m close to both my parents in different ways and I’m sure that’s normal. I go to my mum for advice on anything from boys to clothes and I go to my dad for the post match analysis of the Hibs game and if he can remember the other half of a Morecambe and Wise bit that we’d watched 1000 times together. 

At the start of this year, my dad was officially diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease or MND and I say officially as for a while we weren’t sure. The first time he was told that’s what his seemingly innocuous limp might be, he wanted to be sure before telling me or my sister Sarah, he and mum didn’t want to worry us unnecessarily, parents are nice like that.

Eventually they told us what was going on, months passed, and in January 2019, it was official. By that point, I had accepted the situation, hope to the contrary seemed to good to be true. 

However, when he actually told me in the car on the way back from the airport, I didn’t know how I’d react. I was surprised to learn that I didn’t react at all, I just sort of nodded. I took the news like I had just been told my car insurance was going up.

I didn’t know what it meant, in many ways I still don’t know what it means, we kind of just take it each day at a time. Going through the process of accepting something like this is weird. For a while I treated it like saying the name of ‘He Who Must Not Be Named’ in Harry Potter, I just don’t mention it because it’s so bad. For ages I struggled to say it, I just couldn’t get it out. 

Obviously immediate family knew, but I felt like if I told ‘other’ people then it would become real, if I kept it to myself, maybe it wasn’t happening. 

I was with mum, changing bedsheets upstairs when she just casually said, ‘We’re telling people now, so you can tell people.’ I still really struggle with telling people, there’s no good way to do it. Also there’s no reason for me to tell people, I just don’t broach the subject or deflect when home life naturally comes up in conversation.  

Dad’s primary carer is my mum, she’s the strongest person I know and their love for each other is overwhelming at times and if there’s anything I can take away at this stage of everything its that I feel the bond between the four of us has never been stronger. It’s weird to write because you can’t imagine the love for your family growing but in tough times, it does. 

I don’t know if I’ll say more about it soon, but I wanted to write something. 

The people at MND Scotland have been amazing and we don’t know what we’d do without them.