The Long Trek ( Part three}
At last ,in spite of our apprehension, there was a glimmer of hope.
Now for the grim reality of treatment. Apart from six sessions of chemotherapy ,one every three weeks, there were numerous other procedures like scans, x-rays,bone biopsies, lumbar punctures,injections at the hospital and at home to boost my immune system,some of them not very pleasant.
Thanks to the kindness,and good care ,and sense of humour by the staff of the department,and the friendship with other sufferers,all was not too bad.
The young Doctor under whose care I came livened up these days for all of us.He got to know everyone in great detail, and helped us with his admirable sense of humour.
He found out that I was a keen gardener.Every time I arrived for any reason, he shouted:”How are the spuds, Peter,mine are just coming up.” he had an allotment.
He was also a football fan.He knew other people’s teams. We knew who was arriving by his shout:”Arsenal are no bloody good, or Man.City are rubbish,you want to see Chelsea.” And so on, his banter kept us less worried for the time we were in the department.
During all those sessions I had good days and bad days,and life would have been difficult without the support of my dear wife.
I often needed cheering up,and my worst problem was the loss of weight, and the loss of appetite, which was due to the foul taste of everything.My wife, a good cook,always followed my wishes for particular meals, and I very often rejected meals because of the taste.
All this was very frustrating for Edna and me.Some time during my treatment we had the scandal about beef being substituted by horse meat at some of the supermarkets. This prompted me to write the following which I titled :
The Horseshoe Blues.
When I was having Chemo. everything I ate
tasted just like metal,oh,how I did hate
that awful nasty taste,
lots of my food went to waste.
At last I have discovered
why everything tasted like that
It must have been the horse’s meat
I’m sure that’s what I had.
Whoever slaughtered the poor thing
forgot to pull off the shoes
That’s why my food tasted like metal,
and I wrote the ” Horseshoe Blues”.
Following my six sessions of treatment I was told that there was such an improvement and that I was now in remission,and that I would be followed up at regular intervals.these were monthly at first, and eventually be came less frequent,after about seven years I was declared free of my ailment.What jubilation in our household.What relief.
However all was not really well at all.Things beyond our control kept cropping up.
The first upsetting occasion happened during one of my last visits.I only went every six months in the end.I went to the Haematology Department,all full of joy ,knowing that I was allright.
It was so unusual not to be greeted by my young doctor friend.On asking about him, one of the nurses told me to sit down,and putting her arm around my shoulders told me that he had passed away since my last visit.We both had a good cry, because all of us had lost a very good caring friend.I went home deflated at that time and wrote a short four liner in his memory.
All your life you cared for others
a doctor and a true gentleman
now rest in peace,throughout eternity
our dear friend Joern Cann.
Here I was, an old man recovered thanks to Joern’s help, and he was no more.Life can be very cruel sometimes.
(to be continued).