Here's a man from Portugal playing the flute - well or badly I don't remember, but he made a nice picture and music of any sort mainly lifts me up when it doesn't lay me down. And I need the lifting today, it being the day when, clutching the little
piece of paper on which I've set out my stall - what I'd accept - what not - what I want to know - what I don't - I confront the experts. Paper was written yesterday, meaning I didn't spend night hours going over it - or finding myself going over it. So I
slept, mostly, right into oncologist day. 2.30. Me and Himself, waiting, apprehensively in the alloted, narrow, medical cell.
Day busy so far - full of avoidance techniques. Exercise, bath, newspaper, long stint on phone sorting out Himself's
efforts to buy requested birthday tickets for one of my favourite dancers, Akram Khan, for today week. Somehow he'd gone down the wrong turning on the Sadler's Wells site and the tickets presented turned out to be for some kind of circus-dance act at the Peacock
Theatre. Sadlers Wells box office obliging luckily, and tickets changed. Smart move on Himself's part it occurred to me, ensuring that I revert to being the ticket-buyer in chief again, for ever after. Ha.
Last week's avoidance technique one rainy day
was going to the local Vue cinema, to a not very distinguished film which had my favourite Al Pacino in it and a whole raft of John Lennon songs, ditto - not to mention a collection of aged groupies, just like me vis-a vis Al, John etc. So it served its purpose
well enough, and I enjoyed it, more or less. But, wouldn't you know, in the weird way that whatever you're currently focussed on seems to turn up round every corner, so it was here. In this case Al Pacino and his long-lost screen son, waiting in a narrow medical
cell, waiting for the doctor and that medical lottery called the diagnosis - black ball or white ball or half-black-half-white ball - to appear like magic out of the medical diagnostic hat. In this case the ball looked likely to be white, though you were,
somewhat left guessing, if by no means entirely, given that Hollywood always does prefer happy endings. (As do I around such matters; of course.)
Not such a lottery today, in my case; merely a balancing of options; quality of life against length of
it; what is acceptable, what isn't. What are the statistics of going for one option rather than another; all the questions asked, and the conditions set out on my little piece of paper.
Let us see.
But let me add that the curious fact about last
week's film, my view of ads, trailers, Al Pacino, Annette Bening -always too sane a lady to have settled for that sleeze ball Warren Beatty in my view - but what's to know - John Lennon, not to mention the aged groupies - was had in total solitude; an empty
cinema. Which I guess is how, despite wonderfully loving friends and family like mine, despite the company kept in little hospital cells in the company of surgeons, oncologists, nurses and a supportive partner, you receive the information, verdict: in the
part of you inhabited solely by yourself, your ex-alien, and any of the alien lurking descendents: your inevitable fate; a place where noone else can keep you company; the place where you live and die alone.
The etiquette of such places, by the
way seems the same in the US as here. The incoming doctor always knocks on the door. Does she think her patient may be making some nefarious use of the exmination bed? Hiding under it? Taking a swig of comforting alchohol - a last sniff of coke? Is this to
give you time to pull your knickers up, crawl out from under, hide the drink or coke evidence, stop riflng the medical trolley or what? Suppose you shouted out 'hang on a minute..' Would she? does anyone, ever, ask the doctor to wait? Is there anyone not in
fact sitting in that cell in some degree of frozen terror; silent. Confronting in advance the infinite possibilities of iife. Or death.
Thinking of which; ... Last week I read that would-be Islamic martyrs killed by female combatants, don't go to the
hoped-for glory, let alone the raft of available virgins. Now that is is one piece of male chauvinism that, for all the codswallop, I will happily go along with.