Squeeze my fingers
Of the soundbites of my hospital experiences "Squeeze my fingers" is a pièce de résistance. Making humour out of these apparently incongruous snippets of speech has been an invaluable method my parents and I have used to cope with the emotional tumult of the last few years and has helped to add a laugh or a wry smile to some frightening and stressful situations.
The aforementioned digit discussing imperative is part of a series of tests I've been given at virtually every oncology appointment, A&E visit, and in-patient check-up over the last 3 or so years. After all this time, I'm still not quite sure exactly why this test is carried out, but my rudimentary (and rather crude) understanding is this: my brain tumour could haemorrhage again or exhibit other activity; this may affect my grip; thus, the Squeeze My Fingers test is born.
Once I had become a little more lucid after my haemorrhage in 2015 it became possible to spot the humour in these examinations. There is, after all, something rather strange about being asked by a highly trained medical profession to grasp their fingers as tight as possible! Appropriating this phrase into our day-to-day lives feels like a way to reclaim some humour from the situation, a way to have some ownership of the difficulties.
And so, "Squeeze my fingers" has developed into a family in-joke, a chance for a grin amidst all of the hospital hullabaloo. In my later oncology hospital appointments at Birmingham Children's Hospital, where I was treated until recently, the phrase had developed such iconic comedy status within our house that I struggled to maintain a straight face when asked to clutch said digits!
Finger squeezing or otherwise, these private jokes are invaluable in lending some humour and lightheartedness to my hospital visits. They help my parents and I to acknowledge what sometimes seems to be the absurdity of the situation - allowing a hearty helping of humour and emotional acknowledgement.