I am not in Kansas anymore. Actually, it’s fair to say that I’ve never been to Kansas, nor have I ever had much of an urge to go there. It’s isn’t covered by my railcard and getting there would definitely involve wearing compression stockings, which don’t come in 15 denier.
When I say that I’m not in Kansas anymore, I mean that nothing is normal, in it’s place or playing out as I had expected life to play out during the course of this year. Life has become reduced and intense, although cancer is not the first thing I think of when I wake up, or the last thing I think of before I go to sleep. I’m always on the hunt for humour and what better way than to amuse myself than to turn the drama, which already runs like a second-rate soap opera, into a black comedy.
It’s not that I’m summoning the spirit of James Robinson-Justice. I’ve never felt the need for another encounter. “Here’s sixpence, now bugger off,” he said to the six year me. I went home to ask my Mother what a bugger was. “James,” she said. No, my capers in health are not as slapstick as Carry on Doctor, but my goodness, it’s a bit of a jape.
I’ve braved the rainbow seats in the waiting area, that nestle like teeth, on a plate that’s attached to the floor, or the wall, and are just the right height to bite you in that tender spot under the knee. They herald the way to oncology which has a sound scape all of it’s own, unlike the rest of the hospital that I’ve explored thus far. It has a sound all of it’s own because it’s a temporary metal building that sits on top of another temporary metal building, in order to boost capacity in the system that is creaking under the strain.
I went to oncology to have a chat all about chemotherapy. I asked, “What is chemotherapy and how does it work?”
“Chemotherapy is made up of two liquids. One is red and one is clear. It works by being injected into your veins.”
I can’t tell you my relief in getting a fuller picture. It’s always good to have complete understanding of what is about to happen, even if the main event turns out to be a bit more that a colour chart.
It was hot in oncology, not just under my collar, but everywhere, because it was the middle of a heatwave and nothing good can come of hanging out in a tin can during a heatwave. It wasn’t just me that was looking like poached salmon.
I sat down on the rainbow seats to draw breath and that’s when I noticed the large sign telling me that my local hospice needs my support because “every pound counts and every moment matters”. I don’t need a sign to remind me of this. Nor do I need a reminder that if the colour choices made on my behalf don’t turn out to be a match for the cancer, it will not end well. In the meantime, I resent being asked to part with my money in order to secure a good end.
Granny used to carry a pair of secreters in her handbag, just in case she spotted a flower she liked the look of, even it belonged to someone else. I considered a screwdriver but can’t get close enough to the fittings without drawing unwelcome attention to myself, to work out which fitting I’d need. I’m considering spray paint but wondering if the consequences of vandalism could be worse than death.