So, after the euphoria of Friday’s news that the cancer has not spread and then the gravity of the information given to us about the journey ahead, oh, yes and that word Picolax came up again but I bravely tried to look stoical; I then spend the weekend wondering how I am actually feeling. Not physically, I have had the cough from hell, which by the time Monday came around, after five continuous nights of coughing and disturbed sleep, had drained me a fair old bit; no I’m talking emotionally. Incidentally, I had coughed so frequently and with such vigor that I was convinced my bollocks had dropped so much that they were now in certain situations clanging against me knees. I had absolutely no idea how I was feeling. I still felt in limbo with every forward entry in my diary and appointment completely uncertain, until some sort of timetable of events gets presented to me. I had at least avoided googling descriptions of the operation and seeking out useful titles such as ‘caring for your stoma,’ what was the point, when I knew a whole team was on standby to talk me through all this? But I still didn’t know how I felt. I had contemplated driving home and just falling into a bottle of Prosecco with Mary, but I could already hear here saying, “The alcohol will dry your throat so much, you’ll not just be coughing for England but the entire UK.” Back burner for that bright idea for a while then.
Laura returned from her usual weekend away in Switzerland with a nasty cold and feeling completely rubbish. She phoned in sick to work, only expecting to be absent for one day in order to shake the worst of it off, but what a surprise awaited her! Later that afternoon she was told to self isolate for two weeks and not come back in to Pinewood. This means she doesn’t get paid because like me, towards the end of my illustrious career, she is freelance. She is currently working for Disney, you know the one that’s all about caring and families and Mickey Mouse; Walt must be spinning in his fucking grave. The image of a long line of pipe smoking animators flashes into my mind; all looking smugly forward to their company pension upon their retirement. But maybe I’m wrong about this, perhaps he pulled them in for Snow White and the seven dwarfs and then kicked them all out on the dole, until they were required on Fantasia. Discuss. The world is truly standing on its head at the moment; I suddenly contemplated this on a personal level, to try for just maybe a couple of hours, in order to get my balls back to where they belonged.
So the general mood in the whole Treen household itself became turgid but how was I? Contemplative for sure, in that it was a bit like entering the hundred acre wood, where the signposts were now clear but I still couldn’t quite see the light breaking through at the far end of path. Why? Always the fear, I suppose that you have to put to the back of your mind and not let it overwhelm you; exactly come on Treen, key hole surgery and a robot, what could possibly go wrong? A dear friend from Radio Frimley Park recognised my Lost in Space reference from last time and phoned to say he had a huge operation twenty years ago, and he does have a stoma. Please, if I wanted to talk or even gaze upon the equipment he is happy to share any information with me. A chum of Mary’s has offered exactly the same and that’s when you realise despite all the seeming madness in the world , there are still people out there who care and are not out there busy stock piling toilet rolls for their store cupboards.
By the way, as a precautionary tale of ‘be careful what you wish for,’ Laura and I were heading for Gatwick about two months before Christmas (very much pre covid – 19) on a pre planned excursion. I, as usual, was busy musing and bemoaning on the extraordinary amount of traffic on the roads these days; it has been sometime since I heard anyone say shall we go for a Sunday drive out tomorrow. And Laura suddenly said, “Too many people.” Then pondered and then, “What we really could do with us another damn good plague, something to wipe a few thousand people away.” How long she will possess this new found ‘god’ like quality for, I have no idea. But I have cautioned her next time to by all means think something we are all thinking, but please just don’t say it out loud; motorways may no longer have hard shoulders but obviously they do still possess ears. And beware because your own thoughts can come back and bite you on the bum; who knew that she would technically self inflict her own self isolation.
So, how am I feeling? A phone call from the anesthesiologists office, has begun the journey, which will now start at 15-15 next Monday. It’s the bicycle, treadmill challenge to see how good my lungs are, and thank goodness far enough away from this nightly hacking, for me to hopefully be back on form. And this has probably put the mockers on another podcast recording for the Rheumatology department, who I am beginning to let down badly. But how am I feeling? It sounds like the ship is about to weigh anchor and set sail no matter what the weather holds; its one way now only to removal of the cancer and beyond but it’s that beyond bit, still shrouded in sea mist, that I really can’t see very clearly.
I need to go and stock up on some bird food now, so perhaps with your permission, I’ll return to this narrative later in the week. I found a small blue tit marooned on the ground last week, and thought he had injured himself. What he had managed to do was put both feet through an oak leaf, so it was acting as a kind of shackle and preventing him from moving his tiny feet or perching anywhere. I removed the leaf, with him manfully pecking at me but not hurting and I was amazed just how light he was. With the leaf successfully removed, he flew to a branch and perched there and I felt very humble and chuffed that maybe in someway I had saved his life. He hung around for a while and then took flight, such a tiny incident but it meant so much.
Thank you for reading, oh the phone is ringing again!
M & M