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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WORD RANT Some time ago I wrote a poem called Jargon it went like this:

We speak jargonese with a consummate ease

that has to be heard to be disbelieved

we witter away but what do we say ?

At this moment in time and basically too

we try to convey new concepts to you

dressed up in a blanket of complex verbiage

concealed from the mind,

obfuscating sense

Why do we do it ? we really don’t know

It makes us feel smart in an idiot show ….

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I always listen to ‘Sunday’ at 7.10 a.m on radio 4 (my aural safety blanket) and usually turn the radio on earlier and listen to a  person herding sheep in the north of England, or dairy farming in the West country. And my rural self makes a brief but fervent appearance – only in my mind of course.  I think ‘Ah that’s the life close to the earth in touch with reality’. And I straighten up from my computer and do a couple of exercises in preparation for my rural being. I feel sentimental about sheep – even though my only experience of them was very smelly indeed and they seemed cumbersome beasts with little charm or sense – I remember not caring for the bullying tactics of the sheep dog either so perhaps I was having bad day.

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