2007 — 10 July: time (nearly) for a change of scene

I've decided to get a jump-start on today's entry, too, in case the sleeping pill (see below, he warned) is too effective. Mind you, it's not actually the sleeping that's difficult; it's the getting back to sleep in the wee small hours when, to be honest, one's thoughts tend to drift in a Lovecraftian1 direction on occasion.

BBC Radio 4

Can be surreal. I know it's not getting my full attention just now, but this morning I heard a judge, in more or less consecutive sentences, say that a) he was certain his authority (and, by the way, his non-accountability to anyone) came more or less direct from God, and b) he feared he personally had no faith. I have no faith, but I'd be willing to pray I didn't ever confront this one in his courtroom.

Yesterday's jumping around

My prediction of my state of blue-arsed-fly-ness2 yesterday was, if anything, an understatement. It included visits to two separate sets of bank officials, a GP,3 a chemist (to pick up the sleep-at-night stuff that said GP [and both staff nurses at the Nuffield] strongly suggested I start taking before I fall apart at the seams, and the time needed to marvel at its incredible list of potential side-effects and ominous warnings and injunctions). Soup, bread and some fruit (and tea, of course) for my kindly neighbour as a pit-stop. Then a flying visit to my ex-colleague Roger and wife Eileen who have known us for the last quarter of a century. After that, we decided it was definitely time for a cake, but the Patisserie was closed, so we settled for the coffee shop in Waitrose — yet another first. I tell you, there's a whole culture out there that has been passing me by.

Then there were the phone calls, including a long and incredibly detailed recapitulation of the last 12 months of Her health to the oncology specialist at the entirely sympathetic health insurance company that is currently paying for all this, and — what else? — oh yes, payment of the newspaper bill for one week's almost entirely ignored4 fish wrappings.

And the e-mails. Let's not forget the e-mails. Sadly, one of them told me of Barbara Rudgard's death last Saturday. She was one of the good guys, believe me. Sleep well.

Finally, a pair of visits to my Best Girl either side of an early evening meal in The Bridge at Shawford, since this was a Boys' Night Out. (And we're Men on an Adventure!) Plus, though he gets tired of me saying it, "thank you, Peter Lee" too.

Shock change of mobile opinion... department

I even started using our mobile phone today (that is, yesterday, now!). And today, which was still the unknown tomorrow when I started writing this ramble, I actually took my first genuine external call on it, too. I was wandering round Waitrose picking out fruit like a manly hunter-gatherer when the nice lady oncologist called Dawn from the health insurance company rang "just as a courtesy" to assure me that all the immediately upcoming treatment costs are covered for seven days, so I assume that means the four days on a drip and up to three more to start feeling well enough to come home — hooray! This must also mean that they concur with the proposed treatment, of course. Hooray again!

Where was I? Oh yes, mobile phones. Turns out mine has its phasers set to "stun" but at least I now know it works inside Waitrose. These pocket marvels are so stupidly simple5 I really don't know why I kept putting them off. Mind you, the one we have is about four generations back, and inherited from Junior. It's got infra-red but not BlueTooth, for example. We had £40 on it back in 2004, and still have just under £30 left!


Later this afternoon, I hope finally to get to meet Dr. Chemo...
Recent update: Under normal circumstances, it's always been a joy to meet intelligent, articulate, caring and careful professionals and transact/interact with them. I find when the topic is Christa's health the joy is a tad muted. The game plan (although changed a little to accommodate Her currently sub-par kidney function) is basically as spelled out in the next paragraph. We shall be living life in a series of nine-week treatment cycles, with regular assessments of the progress in shrinking these fucking6 tumours. Battle commences tomorrow afternoon.

Now that they have found her a bed, killing the rogue cells is set to start, in Chalybeate, on Wednesday and go on for four continuous days. This sounds every bit as aggressive as it is, and we both hope to improve during the process. So we are to check out of the Nuffield and then transport her in the morning. There will be return visits once every three weeks for two hours at a time, and also some tablets to take at home. (I focused very much on the phrase "at home", believe me.)

Thank you, Junior

For your lovely card that said in fewer words than I seem able to manage: "Get well. Much love." It really did cheer Her up almost more than I can say. And anything that does that gets my full approval. Today, I admit, I am a little tense. I want Her treatment to start.



1  I'm talking "HP" here, not sex toys, let me hasten to clarify.
2  Yes, Veronica, that is a real word. I know, 'cos I've just coined it!
3  Since this was a telephone consultation with Christa's very nice-sounding young lady doctor, perhaps it doesn't count quite so much in the "tire you out" stakes. My Life just now is a binary flip-flop: I'm either comforting or being comforted. Sometimes both at once.
4  It occurs to me to wonder if (like Doctor Johnson and his warning about tiring of London being a sign of being tired of Life) totally losing interest in the contents of the Guardian and of NPR signifies anything more than simple, bone-deep, weariness.
5  I acidly note that there's no fool quite like an old fool. You were absolutely right, Mr Hobbs. Treasure this admission of mine!
6  I suppose I ought to apologise for using that adjective. Interestingly, I used it twice in the telephone call I've just finished with dear Mama, too. She took it like a storm trooper. Mind you, I did apologise in advance the first time.