2007 — 16 August: the sun has got his hat on

Much to do this morning. Better get cracking. All meds safely loaded. All breakfasts ditto. New small folding brolly at the ready — a tasty design featuring cartoon cats and mice that She has already decided She prefers to one of her existing ones. ERNIE cheque to be paid in. Newspaper bill to be paid. Repeat prescription to be dropped off. (Possibly) watch to be picked up with new battery1 fitted.

Nice chat with Roger on one of his regular comfort phone calls. Must remember to send him a piece about experiences in the NHS that Mike P passed along to bring a smile to me — it did! Amusing link on Wikipedia (thanks, Brian) to ponder. IBM's pensioner website whinges to absorb.

Seems to me a chap's work is still never done!

Caught napping

Lunch has been lunched. A spot of pain2 clobbered. Now She's downstairs hammering away at the phone bill, so I shall grab me a spot of shut-eye while the going's good. In later news, Heidi popped round with a large chunk of cake, and Big Bro checked in from London to confirm details3 of his Saturday visit.

Time for tea

First in the hop-over-to-the-bungalow with a couple of Assam teabags sense for a chat, and then in the that's-what-we-called-the-evening-meal in the North where I grew up sense. "Scuse I," as Bazza MacKenzie used to say.



1  Tell me why a waterproof Seiko is no longer waterproof after its first change of battery unless resealed (very expensively) by the manufacturer. I've chosen the more cheapskate (local) route.
2  I downplay mentions of pain. It is distressing to write about. It is horrible to watch. It is not nice to read about, I'm sure. But the truth is She is in constant pain which can be lessened by drugs and by some body positions.
People tend to think (and say both to me and to Her) "Oh, there shouldn't be any pain these days." They are partly right, of course, and partly wrong. In Christa's case the pain from the main tumour is being offset by continuous release morphine. This (like all opiates) has a constipating effect. (In happier times, I hosted an amusing quotation from a John Mortimer play about this very aspect of that family of drugs.) If Christa's bowel becomes blocked, we know from bitter experience that this leads directly to back-pressure on Her tum, which leads inexorably to vomiting, which stops Her various meds being properly absorbed (specifically the Chemo tablets). So there is a tricky (and literally vital) balancing act.
Christa's pain is, of course, the aspect of this horrid disease that unglues me faster and more effectively than anything else. At its "best", She puts it at 2 to 3 on a scale of 10, and maintains it is bearable, though wearisome. For much of the time (even, alas, on what I've referred to as a Good Day) it will have been around the 5 level. But it can, and does, spike at 10 on this scale and, at such times, She wonders tearfully if all this treatment is worth it if all it does is extend the duration of Her suffering.
I'm an intelligent chap, and I love my wife, who is — essentially — half of me. Her pain is, as it were, my "Room 101". I hate this disease!
3  He's not now going to fetch Mama down from the Midlands for the day which, oddly, is something of a relief. After all, said Mama is over 90 and it would all have added to the strain at a time when energy is being jealously hoarded for everyday living. Chemo-induced anaemia is exhausting.