Friday, 3 December 2010

It's just 9 days ago when I was 2 hours into my surgery at Addenbrookes and I am doing well! I haven't been able to go outside because of the snow, slipping over is just not an option. Besides, passers by wouldn't know whether to call a plumber or an ambulance the way I am just now! Shame, because I love a good snowball fight and whizzing along the ice covered footpaths at this time of year. Submiting my assignement photographs is a challenge and I just keep my camera at the ready for anything I can see through any window. I'm suprised that the neighbours haven't called the police yet, I would have!

Beverley sang Happy Birthday to me this morning as she gave me my present and 4 cards. I waited to see if the postman would show up with more :-) but he didn't even visit the street today. Walking through the 3cm drifts was probably an over ask, as our postman is only 2cm high. Well it's true about the drifts! Still, when I looked at Facebook I gasped, a whole line of 'Happy Birthdays' strung down the screen. Add that to the phone ringing so much that it was 2pm before I could shower and it made my day.

My daughter Sasha has been here all week and that has been great fun; valuable father/daughter time that we probably wouldn't have had were it not for the circumstances. We have a great relationship which involves taking the piss out of each other most of the time but in a 'good fun' sort of way. I am sitting in my t shirt right now because I am used to the Cumbrian weather, but even though she was brought up in Glasgow, now living in London, she finds the need to wear gloves around the house even though the central heating is on! It is so good that she is here though as apart from my friends Paul and John, I haven't seen anyone else! Beverley is back at work, with all that entails in a school at Christmas, but she loves it and it's her life, that's why she is so good at it. On Thursday she got the day off because of the snow and it looks like I am missing very little at Uni as lectures and outings are cancelled day after day. You know, in the 60's when it snowed, nothing was ever cancelled. People went to work, we all went to school and the trains and buses kept going. Why is that? Accross the road from me, the NHS admin building is empty! Why? All the roads are open! I just see a failing country with some weak people who look for the tiniest excuse to do nothing and then justify it under Health & Safety regulations. On the up side there are still those to who the snow will make no difference, they will even go out and enjoy it, realising what a bit of natures magic has just fallen from the sky.

My wounds are all healing well but I still look like I have been beaten up and suffered multiple body stabbings. As if I had just been out for an average night on the town in Carlisle, you might say! You wouldn't know it to see me walking around, but I am still at a very slow pace. The 'plumbing' is all working and even the temporary plumbing has grown on me; though it will be nice to have it all removed next Thursday. Did you know that when you have abdominal surgery, they blow your body up with compressed gas so that they can manouvre all the cameras and surgical instruments around inside you. You gradually deflate in the days afetr the surgery, after all, if they let you down in one go, you would probably take off at speed, flying around the operating theatre causing all sorts of damage! So in the first few days after surgery you look like well toned body builder, all be it a pregnant one. But if you tried to drown yourself you couldn't even fight your way under the water without bobbing to the surface like a cork! After day four you really start to ache as the gas slowly leaves every part of your system, and standing by an open fire just wouldn't be advisable! All my gas has gone now and I feel kind of heavy again, deflated would be the wrong word but I can see my bones at last!

A really nice guy from the British Legion paid a visit yesterday. Because I am an ex soldier, he has told me that the British Legion are going to not only pay for my travel up and down to Addenbrookes, but also for my food and accommodation while I am undergoing radiotherapy. Isn't that brilliant? Of course if I manage to secure any other forms of help I will return any unused money to them, but it takes a huge pressure off me financially right now. When you give money on Poppy Day, you always associate it with war. I do, don't you? But ex servicemen get help from that fund, £28 million last year, for all sorts of other problems, and I guess I will be putting notes rather than coins in those collection boxes next year. 

Had loads of messages from friends at Uni asking how I am and when I'll be back. I am hoping to go in next week to say hello at least, and perhaps to meet up with some tutors to make a few 'catch up' plans. Can't wait to get back for a while before I'm off for the longer stay for radiotherapy down in Cambridge.

I wrote out all my Christmas cards this week, an event that I always find interesting in the way that my thoughts towards people change over the years. You know when you say to someone "that's you crossed off my Christmas card list"? Well in reality, we do that every year; along with adding some people on. This year I have gone for the 'one card suits all' approach. So everyone gets the same card, personalised with a little festive message, like...'Happy Christmas'! There was a time when my address book was so big that this whole process could take several days. But now, most of my contacts are either on email, Facebook or on my phone; I don't even know their address! So total amount of cards this year numbered less than 20 and I'l probably hand out another 20 myself as the occasion arrises. Had lovely get well cards from Karen & David and David & Laura, and birthday cards from Beverley, my brother Andre, Lucienne, Chantal and Sasha. 
More student protests all over the country yesterday, isn't it great? I thought apathy had set in amongst this younger population in recent years but it's great seeing some action taking place now. They shouldn't have to go through life trying to shrug off this huge debt! The people changing the law now don't care, they have had their free University education and they certainly can all afford to comfortably buy their children the same. Things will only change if these protests are kept active and not 'peaceful'. Don't get me wrong in this. I don't condone injuring anyone, but property is fair game. Peaceful protest never won anything, ever. If the suffragettes had made 'peaceful protests, women would still not have the vote. If the 'Poll Tax Riots' had been the 'Poll Tax Peace Marches', we would be all paying Poll Tax now. The Banks and corrupt politicians brought about the situation in this country where there is now a need for radical adjustment to the countries finances; including the raising of tuition fees. Marching past a bank, with a banner stating 'scrap fees', even if you did it for 500 years, would change nothing. Going into that same bank on mass and destroying it would certainly bring results, whilst removing the smiles of the people who caused the situation in the first place. The unfortunate people in between are the Police, who are essentially one of us, and I do think it imoportant not to harm them.

Made the front page of the local paper this week, take a look.....

I said to the photographer, "can't I smile?". He said, "you've got cancer, the readers wouldn't expect you to be smiling, they will expect you to be devastated." I argued with him but lost. So take it from me, I can assure you that I am very happy in that photo.

I am going to take this all the way because there are so many 'invisible' people out there who would just sit back and die rather than hold their hand up. Usually because they are too old and frail, very ill or simply don't want to make a fuss; we can't let a system like this ignore our needs when the top executives in these trusts earn more in a month than most of us will in 2 years; not including their 'bonus' of course. What is a 'bonus'? Have you ever had one? I spent most of my life thinking it was a 'bonus' having a job! Why are only the highest earners in society, the only people who are unhappy if they don't get a 'bonus', when the rest of us just accept that our bonus is having a job? I think it will be a 'bonus' if I haven't got cancer now, and I will never hope for any other bonus ever!

My favourite part of the week had to be when Sasha drove me down to Beverley's school and we sat and watched the 3 to 5 year old's Nativity play rehersal. If you need lifting, this can not fail! It's the bits that go wrong in those plays that 'steal the show', and that's plenty; just about constant you might argue. The kids were loving it and already knew the songs off by heart, and each little smiling face, with it's own blossoming personality, still blissfully unaware that a life of adventure stretches before them.
Had lovely calls from Chantal, Lucienne and Sasha today, Oh and my brother Paul and Mother, just to brighten up a day that looks magic enough outside, as the snow continues to float down, making one feel how good it is to be alive.

Next Blog will be on the weekend next week, because on Thursday, I return to Addenbrookes to have my catheter removed early on Friday 10th. Oh, how lovely it will be to roll over in bed again. But on the downside, I will have to get up to go to the toilet at night!!!

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