Disruptive to the last, even a picture of the thing will not allow itself to be positioned correctly in this blog...
As I consider Saturday 2 October 2010, blog time and real time are about to mesh together for a brief moment. Composing this near the end of January 2011, I find it rather hard to believe that I once rode a bike with any frequency. A few days after the events I am about to record the course of my treatment and life changed quite dramatically, such that I look back over my vigorous October self with a degree almost of envy. I am getting a bit ahead of myself here, but all will become clear over the course of the next few entries.
This is a rather long way of saying that on the Saturday in question I took a modest bike ride. The purpose was to get to my not-so-local surgery for the flu jab for which I was now eligible. The ride was enjoyable and refreshing as the last remnants of the Indian summer were still eddying in the autumnal air. Entering the surgery however, I came upon a world that to me was somewhat alarming, as I was in the company exclusively of people who were the other side of 60. No doubt there were a variety of reasons entitling those in the surgery to receive the jab, but it seemed the principal uniting factor was that of age. Suddenly I felt old, although not sufficiently demotivated to forego the privilege of the free and valuable injection. My entitlement of course rested on the fact that my immune system was now significantly compromised.
A positive point was that, by now, I was feeling quite blasé about needles and so the inoculation was experienced without fuss and incident.
Afterwards I went to the nearby pharmacy to thank the chemist who had recommended the routine blood test that had led to my diagnosis and to report to him on what the test had revealed. I have been using the services of this pharmacy over many years, since moving to Twickenham in 1986, and have seen the business expand and develop as a result of this dedicated man's hard work. From the variety of medications either dispensed in, or bought from, his store over the decades he must surely have a pretty good idea of my medical history beneath his impressively impassive exterior.
On this occasion he gave me the further valuable information that I would now, as a cancer patient, be entitled to free prescriptions and and advised me on the procedure for applying. It's not all bad then!
I cycled home in the enduring good weather and in the afternoon received a supportive phone call from our vicar. It is hard to exaggerate how much his pastoral concern meant and has continued to mean over the weeks that have followed. The same goes for every kind contact that friends and family have offered me during the course of my illness. People differ greatly in the style and content of their support, but what I feel is their love.
Buoyed up by the cycle ride I did 10 press ups and felt fine with that.
In the evening another dear friend came to call and brought with her the gift of a plant. This same friend is also responsible for our having in the kitchen a jar of ash from the Icelandic volcano that caused such havoc to air travel earlier in 2010: a rather special gift, that one.
|A gift of gerbera.|
The plant is named after the 18th-century German botanist, Traugott Gerber, a friend of Linnaeus.
It is related to the sunflower - this one is the colour of the setting sun.