Saturday, 9 July 2011

Tall storeys

Friday 8 July 2011 and it was time for injection 4. So far so good with the G-CSF jabs and here is a souvenir photo for you to cut out and keep.

Looks almost friendly, with its plunger in a calming shade of blue :-)

I felt very tired at the start of today, partly at least attributable to last Monday’s chemo, methinks, but also to a deflation of mood and energy as I further contemplate the nature of printer leasing contracts, on which I am still preparing a comparison study for my office.

"Just think, Dr Faustus, with our easy instalment plan and bulk toner supply options you can say goodbye forever to scratchy quills and inky-finger misery. Forever, forever—nyaah, ha ha haaa..."

I break off from this (having, I am glad to say, made some progress against the tide of demotivation) to make a chilli con carne for our informal book club in the evening. The steaming casserole is in due course positioned reasonably securely in the car and my wife and I begin the 12-mile drive into the City of London. Many are the red lights and traffic jams we encounter and it seems amazing that, at journey’s end near Tower Hill, the trip seems to have taken us no longer than it normally does. We enjoy the chill with our friends and eventually discuss the book we have all been reading, One Day by David Nicholls (now adapted into film). The book is amusing and ingeniously constructed, with sharp dialogue, and we give it a general thumbs-up. We also watch the movie trailer online and agree that many modern novels seem to be constructed as screenplays, although it may of course be that the medium of film simply influences the ways we tell each other stories at this stage in our, er, human story.

Stories and storeys, this day has them both. We drive home along the embankment of the Thames, noting that The (overweening) Shard, destined to be the tallest building in London (Europe) is already illuminated at night, even though it is not finished. Perhaps there is a health and safety reason, but it seems a huge expense of energy for an uncompleted building. The structure terrifies in the way it dominates its low-lying surroundings, being south of the river and at some distance from the other tall buildings of London, whether in the City, which lies on the north side of the water, or to the east at Canary Wharf. It will be the tallest building in the European Union, although only (pah!) ranking 45th in the world.

The Shard under construction, looming over London Bridge Station.
Its architect, Renzo Piano, assures us that, with its multi-reflecive glass surfaces it will present a constantly varying aspect to the London skyline.
Piano, with Richard Rogers, designed the Centre Pompidou in Paris, named after perhaps the most famous sufferer from Waldenstrom's macroglobulinaemia. Connections, connections.

Further red lights and road works impeded our steady progress home, but again the journey takes little longer than the usual hour.

Awoke today in good time for injection 5 (jabs are meant to be given at a similar time each day) and a bowl of All Bran, aware that I now feel back to normal, post-chemo: yesterday’s feeling of having been poisoned has evaporated. This relief will of course be swept away comprehensively by the high-dose treatment scheduled for next month, but is nevertheless an encouraging reminder that “this too shall pass”. This saying is attributed to Sufi sources and the fable of a king who asks wise men to create a ring that will make him happy when he is sad, and vice versa. After deliberation the sages hand him a simple ring with the phrase etched on it. Not bad, eh?

Leaving the loose ingredients of a loaf to take shape in the bread machine I strolled the short distance to a friend’s house for more in the way of breakfast. This was one of our occasional informal men’s gatherings to share matters of personal concern as well as food. Sometimes we have a “full English” breakfast, but today we went “continental”, tucking into croissants, fruit and coffee. After eating, the three of us—a small group today—moved out into the gentle sunshine of the well-kept garden to continue our conversation and pray for one another. In the course of the conversation, I learned that the father of one of my friends was a Spitfire pilot in World War II.

I returned home to the incomparable smell of fresh bread, an email exchange with a couple of old university friends about aspects of human consciousness (cool) and the following sight of our cat (unbearably cute, unless of course you hate cats), viz.

Awww, bless!

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