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Showing posts from February, 2009


One of the most profound experiences of my life was to hold my son, my first child, when he was about 5 minutes old. He'd had a bit of a struggle to arrive. Quite liked it where he was, actually, and didn't fancy the delivery room of St. George's hospital in comparison. He'd needed a bit of assistance to make the two foot journey and he got here blue and exhausted. After the professionals had checked him over they wrapped him in a blanket and gave him to me. I held him and looked at his eyes and couldn't believe how blue they were. I looked at him and another consciousness looked intelligently back. He didn't have those random unfocused wandering eyes of other newborns, such as the two sisters who followed over the course of the next few years. He was focused, quizzical, enquiring, not quite understanding who I was, where he was or what he was doing there. One of the two midwives present said knowingly,"this one's been here before...". It was n

A New Day

Yesterday I lay under the machine and counted the buzzes for last time. I took off my baggy hospital shorts , put them in the laundry bin and didn't choose a new pair from the pile. Then I drove home and sat in the drivers seat of the car for a long time, not quite sure if I had the energy to walk from the garage into the house. Then inside, sleep for a while and go gently into that good day. Because I had been remarkably OK for the past few weeks, it was a bit surprising to be so tired yesterday. I guess that when the whole process was finished by mind was able to let go of the effort required to maintain equilibrium and gave my body permission to zonk out. I keep forgetting how body and mind and spirit are an integrated whole, and are not three separate things sitting inside each other like Russian dolls. I am a trinity, not a tiumvirate. Now it's wait and see. On March 25 I'll see the oncologist and he'll examine the entrails - my entrails - and tell me whether all

Rust Never Sleeps

Some people have nasty jobs. The nurse who works for my GP for example, who had to perform some minor surgery on me today. I have had a small cyst in my upper arm for about twenty years. All of the medical people I've shown it to over the years have been underwhelmed by it, so I've never much bothered about it. All that time it just sat around doing its cystly thing until last Friday when it took advantage of the general decline in my immune system and did what it had longed to do for ages: it had a much delayed bout of adolescent pique and went feral. By Sunday, despite being dosed with antibiotics the thing was the size of a golf ball and was really starting to get my attention, not that anybody much would want to look at it. I am reluctant to condemn anything on such superficial grounds, but it was not, to put too fine a point of things, pretty. Hence today's minor surgery. The nurse is a pleasant woman a few years younger than me. She asked me to sit down and remove m


I had my little brother to stay this week, and didn't get time for things like blog writing. There were other things to be done: motorcycle shops to be visited and sofas to be sat on and words to be spoken. Lots and lots of words. Since I have been ill, all my brothers have come to see me, and my sister too for that matter, and all in their own way have brought me something to move me along the path of wholeness. I'm not sure that it was planned that way, but all my familial visits seemed to bring the right person to me at the right time. Now, the radiotherapy has only another week to run: I am nearly out the other side of this process and am feeling ridiculously fit and well. In about two months time there will be another blood test and it will tell me whether the deep fryer has dealt to this thing for good or whether there are several more exciting chapters in the cancer story to unfold over the next few years. Either way, I'm not unduly worried and it was helpful to see