A Meeting

I met my lungs today

A first time meeting,

blind date type of thing

the right looked right

as a lung should be, apparently

the left swam in a miasma, a type of soup

it evaded capture by xray

an evasive organ see?

You reckon its cancer?

I asked the cool young stud

Who was doctoring me

I don’t know he said

Sent me for a blood test

A breath test – a complicated business

Of huffing and puffing in,out,in,out

I bought a Costa coffee at vast expense

Against my principals too

Drove home in wonderful sunshine

Tonight I will repot my tomato plant

Give it room to breath….


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Since July when cancer added itself to my bodily repertoire I have learned some new accomplishments. Some excellent, some not so good. Primary among them has been a skill for waiting: in hospitals mainly, travelling to and from hospitals and an overload of generalised waiting. That and not knowing to what extent this joker has taken root – if indeed it has –for some time I was not sure owing to conflicting letters from the hospital. This has been sorted & all that remains is to discover the extent of its invasion.  It seems that my left lung is busily entertaining cancer while the right is perhaps cancer free. There is no possibility of operating on it so we are, apparently, hoping for containment. I hope we can be friends.

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I had been wheezing for some time when I phoned my doctor. She was busy so I saw a locum who diligently listened to my lungs for some time and sent me for an X-ray and blood test straight away. I found this a little alarming but had an appointment booked for the next week so didn’t worry unduly. Then I was hurried off to have further tests and cancer was mentioned which got me distinctly unnerved.. on my second visit a rather morose young woman doctor assured me that it was indeed cancer and is inoperable.

First I felt extremely sorry for myself, I became a sad sack indeed I was also extremely annoyed – just when I had finally discovered a deodorant that suited me!  A kind of ‘why me’ programme took over for a few days. Then I got my first message of condolence and that made me realise that I did NOT have to go along with this victim stuff. I didn’t feel ill, in fact I felt rather better than usual and I decided: I will not buy into the big C scenario with me enjoying being pitied, I hate being pitied and would prefer almost anything rather than that. I have decided that I don’t want to be defined as a cancer patient & don’t intend to change my lifestyle apart from sensible things like stopping smoking fags, giving up red meat and eating nice healthy green vegetables, which I like anyway. I don’t want to get into the fight that cancer game which I know works for some but which I feel gives it undue emphasis, I hope to banish it by effort of will and  bloody mindedness. If this doesn’t work and I do get ill I will review the situation then but for now I intend to carry on enjoying my life which has improved immeasurably in the last few years since I met my present life partner (NOT death partner you will note!) and after all I am hardly being cut down in me prime am I?

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My roof had been leaking for some time but gently enough for me to ignore it. Early this year – as I am sure you will recall we were struck by a virtual deluge that went on for weeks. I had great sympathy for the people in Somerset and the Thames valley and all the other places suffering the horrors of floods. I transferred my sympathy to myself when a great deal of the stuff entered my bedroom via the ceiling. Not too dramatic but consistent it dripped down the wall & the ceiling bulged dangerously.

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The Outpatient Experience

I thought I had heard it on the radio or perhaps I had read somewhere that the backless cotton gown in hospitals had been banished and that something more decorous had replaced it, but no, it seems not, it still rules. I am sure that any woman knows which ones I mean: they are starched flat things that lay in a heap ready to be grabbed and donned by any female patient. In my latest encounter with the X ray process there was a sign telling any female patient to remove her clothes from the waist up ( I have the mere vestige of a waist so I used my imagination) and put on a gown.

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