Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Shostakovich, Bach and then.....?

Ah, simple pleasures - they can be the best, can't they? I must admit that I get an inordinate amount of pleasure out of very small and simple things: listening to the birds singing, seeing the sunshine through the leaves of the trees in the garden, casting dappled shadows on the grass, the smell of the earth after a sudden downpour - I seem to appreciate the beauty and wonder of nature much more now. Perhaps it's because my horizons have shrunk in recent months so my sum of experiences has narrowed to home-hospital-home on a permanent loop. There's no longer the stimulus of the work environment, commuting, planning what to do during lunch break, fighting for a seat on the train, working out how to deal with situations, so maybe I just have more time to stand still and see what is around me. I guess it's like that poem " What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?" It's rather refreshing to have stopped the world a little bit and have the time and the chance to take a fresh look at things I have just taken for granted but which really are pretty damned wonderful.

One of my current simple pleasures is choosing the music to listen to during my radiotherapy sessions. I have been taking in a cd every day but yesterday I found out I could take my iPod and they would plug it in for me - this was good news, as up till now I have had to scrabble around to find the cds I haven't already packed away in the basement or loft after transferring them onto the iPod. This gives me much more choice. I've been enjoying the chance to share/inflict my musical tastes on the radiography staff at the hospital :-D  Bach today but haven't decided what to choose tomorrow. Actually, today it didn't take too long because I didn't need a scan (I have had scans most of the time before the actual radiation so they can check that everything is still "fitting" properly etc). Yesterday's scan was perfect so I only need them once a week. Without the scan, the actual treatment only takes about four or five minutes - in fact, it takes longer for them to bolt me to the table, check all the measurements and line me up and then unbolt me afterwards than the actual zapping!

Another pleasure was on Sunday, when we invited a few local friends over to have a bbq in our garden - something I really wanted to do, just to be sociable and to thank people for helping us out. The weather was perfect, the company was great, Adam was i/c barbeque and did a splendid job, Amy helped me prepare all the salads and Neil spent ages getting the garden ready and sorting out the seating etc. On the day, all I had to do was sit and enjoy chatting to friends, as Neil and the children just told me to sit down if I stood up to try to do anything! There were several young children there and they had a great time running from the basement to the garden to the conservatory to the basement to the garden ......it was so lovely to see them enjoying themselves and their parents could relax and have a glass (or four!) of Pimm's. I got a bit tired at about half six so I just told Neil I was going in for a lie-down but didn't make a big deal of it, as I didn't want people to feel they needed to leave. I had just had enough -the tiredness is beginning to kick in but luckily the nausea has passed - phew!! I now have half a jar of crystallised ginger to get through :-D

I had a wee bit of a success on Saturday night - after feeling a little bit of a spasm in my upper lip, I had a look in the mirror and thought my mouth looked a tiny bit different, so I thought I would try some of the letters I have found particularly tricky, like "p" and "b". I thought my "p" was definitely better (and yes, I know if you say that out loud, it sounds like some bizarre competitive weeing competition) and so I subjected Neil and Amy to a few minutes of me saying "Listen, does it sound better "pppppppppppppp"? They thought it did so I was very happy and then when I went to bed and was going through my usual brush teeth-dribble-wipe mouth routine, I found I could spit much better, and without putting my finger at the corner of my mouth to hold my lip together. It could be a bit of very slight nerve regeneration or some crossover from the other side of my face, but whatever it is, it's good. It makes me smile to think that I am celebrating being able to spit - I can return to my home city of Glasgow safe in the knowledge that I can fit in on Sauchiehall Street any Saturday night now :-D

That's about it, I think - daily visits to hospital continue, with our wonderful friends being as generous with their time as they are with their affection and chauffeuring me there and back. Another lovely food parcel on our doorstep this afternoon from Celia (dinner sorted for Neil and me for this evening!) and a visit this morning from our neighbour across the road with her gorgeous little boy, who is at the Velcro baby stage and clinging to his mummy all the time but who let me take him for a little stroll round the garden so that mummy could drink her cup of tea!

My lovely husband, daughter and son continue to look after me perfectly, while still keeping their own necessary routines of work and - in the children's cases! - socialising going.

To all of you, my heartfelt thanks. Oh, and I still haven't decided what music to pick for tomorrow - decisions, decisions!


  1. Philip Glass, Michael Nyman? Sort of modern classical music. Personally, I'd be treating them to the full The Cure catalogue. But that's just me.


  2. esther British Home Stores4 August 2011 at 07:52

    Now that you can use your ipod, you should make a playlist, then your music will be sorted

  3. Ali, I would have Glasvegas or Runrig.

  4. Esther, that presupposes I know how to do a playlist!

    Tippytoes, I did actually decide on Glasvegas, got to hospital and because I was in a different radiotherapy unit, there wasn't a line-in for the iPod, so I had to listen to the only CD they had: cheesy pop! Take That and Travis......well, it could have been worse!

  5. With Womble on The Cure... hope it's going alright, Ali. Thinking of you and sending lots of love. xxxx

  6. I love the new photo! One class lady.
    So pleased to hear the 'spitting' news.