Friday, 8 July 2011

Hands across the water

This 7th of July has been a really good day, although I have to admit to having spent a lot of it feeling rather exhausted. The heavy-limbed weariness feels like the consequence of last Monday’s single dose of chemo, although it is often hard to know how much is attributable to that or other treatments or just to being a bit of a middle-aged blob. Since I am however currently fit and well, I am inclined to blame the chemo. The nausea has now all but gone.

The events at The News of the World have taken an interesting turn in that James Murdoch (Deputy Chief Operating Officer, News Corporation, and Chairman, News International) has announced that the paper will close after this Sunday’s edition, which will carry no commercial advertising. The last edition’s receipts will go to good causes. As damage limitation goes this is drastic stuff, but we have surely not heard the last of this affair.

Just after I wrote that last paragraph, my daughter arrived home from a post-exam trip to one of the Greek islands. Just a few hours ago she was texting me from 1400 (approx.) miles away to say she had just boarded the plane and here she is, tired and hoarse of voice (she is not a smoker, but the dreaded weed is still allowed in public places in Greece). I have been struck today by just how much we take for granted things that would have been beyond the imagination of our ancestors: the speed of travel and communication are just two examples.

In fact this has been a day of international communication. In a few weeks time, my wife, daughter and I are going to our little family bolt-hole in France (my last holiday before high-dose chemo) and there came through the door today a letter in French advising me that an inspection of the septic tank at our house is now necessary. The letter proposed an appointment on a day before our arrival and so I rang the relevant office to fix a meeting when we would be there. This being France, the letter quotes at least two statutes and is signed over an official seal by someone entitled Le Président (of the group of communes in which the house is situated). The purpose of these various laws is, as the letter elegantly states, “pour garantir la salubrité du territoire et la santé de tous”, which is a pretty high benchmark and a noble aim, to be sure. The woman on the other end of the phone knew instantly who it was ringing her, which was not a little impressive. I just hope the jolly tank is working properly when inspected.

Home from home.
Peace and birdsong.
I have also heard from kind people in the USA and UK steadily over the course of today, this time by email, as I posted to the talk lists for WM sufferers on both sides of “the Pond” that I was writing this blog about my current and forthcoming treatment. I have had a number of messages of support and encouragement in response, which I appreciate very much, and I hope that these new readers will find what I record here informative and in some way helpful.

On reflection I was a bit patronising about the limitations of our ancestors a minute ago. Here’s a picture of the boxed syringes of G-SCF awaiting use in my fridge; I have very little idea how this stuff manages to gee up my stem cells but am very grateful to have access to it.

Boxed syringes of G-CSF (in this case branded Neupogen) waiting silently next to the mozzarella and spinach.
Today was the third injection – five more to go before a blood test next Tuesday.

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