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18 September 2005 at 20:39

grey cloud with a pink and green lining

Hotboy has suggested I blog some of this stuff, he was probably kidding but here goes anyway. Don't read this on a full stomach.

I should really have read my tea-leaves a week ago. It's been a tough week, what with the dog's fur falling out, and my visits to the dentist and doctor, and it's not over yet.

When things are going well, I have a wonderful life with the various beings I live with and love. When things are going badly for me, experience shows that it's best to rely on myself. Fortunately, I have had 20 years' practice in self-support.

Twenty years ago I had cancer, then surgery and radiation to my head and neck. A big success, though I'll never be a film star now. Last week I got a minor infection in my jaw, a typical delayed complication of radio-so-called-therapy. So far, my only symptoms are like mild flu, plus difficulty in talking (a bit of a challenge when you're a teacher, the Scottish accent is already bad enough).

The last time I had it was about 6 years ago: fixing the problem took 9 months on antibiotics, 6 weeks of daily oxygen therapy in a diving chamber, and I'd to get some teeth pulled. And I was one of the lucky ones! In some people the condition can turn nasty and eat half your face away, leaving a permanently-exposed and infected jawbone, with lifelong pain (if you survive). Naturally I'm planning not to be one of those cases if I can help it.

Whenever I'm in the middle of a health scare, I find it helps if you read a book about someone triumphing over adversity. The book that usually does it for me is The Great Siege: Malta 1565. It's a historical account of the Christian Knights' defence, of the island of Malta, against the forces of the Turkish Empire. The odds didn't look good on paper: 600 Knights against 40,000 Turkish troops.

There's an old painting of the siege.

The book is a great adventure story, but because it's about Crusaders and Muslims, it's not something you'd want to give George Bush for Christmas, it would only encourage him. Guy Ritchie was planning a film of the story, with a starring role for Madonna, but that project seems to have been shelved before filming even began. Probably a wise decision given certain world events.

Last night, instead of the Malta book, I read Barry Graham's "Of Darkness And Light", which I downloaded from his website.

I didn't want to read it at the PC, so I fired up my old stone-age PDA and downloaded it to there. Then I read it in bed till I fell asleep. What a great wee book. It is set in my spiritual home, the West End of Glasgow. And the hero overcomes some fairly chilling odds.

When I woke in the night, I was thinking clearly about my current health problem. I was able to side-step my fears, and work out an action plan for next week - who to see, what to ask for, etc. Feeling powerless and ignorant is one of the worst parts of a health scare, so making a plan and doing the research helps work off the fear.

This morning I decided to take a break from the heebie-jeebies. After a double dose of japanese green tea, I strode out with the dog for a brisk walk through the forest chill, shedding clothes into my backpack along the way as I warmed up. On the discman I played The Land Of Grey And Pink, which I listen to once in a while, it's been in my blood for about 30 years. Marching music for superannuated hippies - I could have walked for ever. If you've never heard it, it's lovingly-made English 70s art-rock jazz, with a cheesy keyboard sound - a bit like the Doors' organ sound but with double cheese. I love it!

We got back an hour later just as the CD finished - the dog knackered and me singing and warm. At last something had gone well. As someone once said: what a fortunate creature I am!

Update: Yesterday at work, all the cheery people were on holiday, and I felt near tears most of the morning. Then in the afternoon I taught my "differently abled" class, and had a lot of fun. Well, part of the fun for me was that they were doing the exam and I wasn't. In between helping them I was able to get on with some blogging.

The appointment with the specialist is on Monday, but in the meantime things are looking up. I think I might get away with cheating the Grim Reaper one morte time. Just as well! I've got a whole barrel of chocolate mahogany porter ready for bottling today.

After I do the bottling, I'll start off the next brew right away, Spicy Ghost Draught. The label says it's "wheat inspired".

It's a busy life, looking after your own needs.

Blogger Lee Ann said...

Wow! Amazing! You are a tough, strong person. Attitude in life plays a big part on how you can recover from an illness. Don't let stress in, be strong and get through it. You now have new friends that are here for you too!  


Blogger hotboy said...

Sometimes when things aren't going too well for me, I try to remember that I'm not who I think I am and it's not happening to me the way I think it is. This is dead logical, but usually doesn't help at all! Hotboy p.s. I'm also the worst ill person ever!  


Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Heil! I tried to cure a sore finger with this once. You concentrate on the spot, breathe in, hold it a wee bit, and breathe out, saying heal to yourself. Or you can imagine all those wee things that cure stuff (white blood cells?)gathering round the spot and then breathe out, and make it go white and say heal. Or something like that. Variations on a theme. It might not work, but it would give you something to do! Will you have to wear underpants on your head again? Hope this helps. Hotboy  


Blogger robmcj said...

LA - Thanks for reading all that, and for the reaction. It's not something I normally talk about.

HB - A guy on TV was saying he has a sign on his bedroom wall - "it's not about me." Yes, I had forgotten I used to do all that breathey/imagey stuff all those years ago.

Curing the sore finger - I actually could do with a sore finger, to take my mind off other things.

But the outlook is not as bad as I made out in that post, while I was overselfmedicated. The antibiotics and other stuff seem to have actually helped, and I'm gambling that on Monday the specialist will say: go away and don't waste my time. In the meantime, I might try some .. well not exactly bliss, let's just call it anti-stress measures, and not the bottled kind.

The underpant thing is seasonal, so until next winter I can go back to wearing them normally.  


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