Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Filling days

I haven't been completely useless these 6 months.

I have a job every friday, aiding an old family friend through his quest to publish some books. At first, I was cataloguing and organising his wealth of Victorian stereo-photographs - you look at them through special specs and they're 3D! They're quite amazing, especially the ones of Tintern Abbey, a handful of wars, and all these Royal occasions - and all from the mid 1800's. There's been lots of other things in-between, but now i'm about to embark on sorting out a little Victorian girl's diary, and a big bundle of letters. It's very Downton Abbey-ish, discussing scullery-maids and other things from bygone days. I get paid in money, tea and endless biscuits. And the odd jar of homemade jam, yummy.

I do other stuff too. And it's this other stuff that has really kept me sane throughout these few months. I have such fun gossipping and chatting and helping and planning, that as much as I bang on about feeling adrift, i've found i'm floating on rather a fun little ship! (Thank you :D)

Admittedly, I haven't done nearly as much reading as i'd hoped, and I haven't tried drawing a single thing, but i'm not going to beat myself up about that. You make grand plans as you try and capture this precious free time, yet it just seems to slip through your fingers and trickle away.

Saturday, 20 October 2012


I gave up on Ulysses. I caught the drift, and didn't feel like putting up with another 600 pages of it. Life is too short!

So instead I picked up 'The Drowned World' by JG Ballard. Another possibly pretentious escapade, but at least science fiction is fun! (And I like Ballard, all his books seem so interesting...)

I've only read maybe, 50 pages, but already I love it. This is from the blurb:

"Fluctuations in solar radiation have caused the ice-caps to melt and the seas to rise. Nature is on the rampage. London has been transformed into a primeval swamp, and within its submerged landscape giant lizards, dragonflies and insects compete for dominance. Human fertility is in decline and buildings sink beneath waters infested with decaying matter. Into this wasteland a group of intrepid scientists venture to record the flora and fauna of this new Triassic Age. Soon, ghostly voices haunt their waking and nightmares permeate their sleep..."

Fantastic, huh?

It's a proper dystopia, and despite the cause of this 'global warming' being rather far-fetched, it's a scarily accurate pre-emptive and haunting vision of what's happening to our planet, and what it could become... There are lots of giant bugs, and that in itself is pretty bloody horrifying. He wrote it in the early 60's - spooky.

Anyway, I want to share this paragraph - of course my life and the protagonist's couldn't be more different (duh), but this little snapshot of thought seemed to resonate. Transplant stuff (did you expect anything else!?).

I seem to be caught in this odd form of withdrawal - it isn't unpleasant, far from it. It is strangely calming. I've described it as a bubble before, and it is. It just seems to be becoming larger and noticeably quieter. I don't want to make this looming 'metamorphosis' bigger than it actually is, but it's quite an interesting way of putting it. Things will have to adjust, things will have to change, and I suppose in a sense i'm preparing for this 'radically new environment' by distancing myself from my previously normal(ish) life, whether I was aware of this or not. I think i'm going to be spending a lot of time in this new 'internal landcape', re-adjusting to a life where things i've known before will suddenly become obsolete. Like the whole process of calculating insulin and creon - things that pretty much determine how I live my life, what I eat, what I can do, where I can go - suddenly i'll live my life (in parts) ungoverned by these rules i've seamlessly built in. It'll be so liberating, but I can imagine it'll be weird! Maybe by withdrawing i'm also just getting used to a sort of loneliness or isolation or boredom that soon i'll have no control over, as I lay stewing in crumpled clammy bed sheets hooked up to drips and lines and beeping machines. With messy hair. 

Today is 6 months on the waiting list. So much for 3 months eh! Pah! I don't know if it's gone fast or slow... I couldn't say. It's all a little mushy and formless. Sometimes time flies past so incredibly quick that I blink and suddenly realise the leaves have transformed from a luscious summery green to that luxuriously melancholy autumnal red. Other times, days couldn't drag by any slower, and every hour seems to stretch into an everlasting and bitter reminder of time's slow, cruel passing. Then all these moments blend together, swirl and dissolve into a jumbled and incoherent timeline of... nothing much. It's. so.     bloody.          odd.   

I think Ulysses and it's modernist ways have caused some form of brain damage. Damn you Joyce and your time altering powers! Hate to think what 600 more pages would've done...                    

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Chocolate chips and Cauliflower

Trecked up to Addenbrookes yesterday just for a clinic check-up and ultrasound with my dad. Had to be in Cambridge at half 9, which wasn't fun. The early morning drive through the fog was incredible though - huge dense pockets of it hugging the ground until you escape out the other end into gleaming sunshine! Mornings are odd things.

Nothing much had changed on my ultrasound - spleen couldn't fit on the screen (too darn massive), and apparently my liver looks like a cauliflower. The guy showed me this huge egg-sized bump sticking out of the top right hand corner like a disgusting growth, and all these nobbly pointy lumps all over the liver. I have a pretty tough stomach, but i'm not going to lie, I felt sick. I have this horrible deformed thing growing inside me. I just want to rip it out myself and fling it as far away as is humanly possible!

I also found out they're not going to replace my gallbladder when they take it out along with the liver and panc and duodenum, because you don't really need it and there's a risk it could get infected post op. Awesome! The doc said my surgeon, Mr Butler, wanted to see me and say HI, but he had just been called to a kidney transplant. Someone had probably been waiting years for that, so that's pretty special. Walking through the hospital to get bloods done I kept thinking about someone, somewhere in this giant labyrinthine monster of a hospital, lying in an operating theatre with Mr Butler working his magic. It'll be me soon. Soon ish? Ish? It's so exciting!

Dr. Allison was pleased with my weight, my lung function, my muscle mass, and my decision to re-start my antibiotics despite Brompton panic. I feel so chuffed each time I say I still haven't needed any IV antibiotics - not since december last year. 10 months. Nearly a year! But i've been working so hard at maintaining my lungs, out of pure fear that i'll be declined a liver. When you have something to really work for, you try so much harder than you even thought you could. It's like a lung function - even when you think you've blown your absolute best, there's alway a tiny bit more you can squeeze out. When I was little and my mum would do my patting physio, she'd name all these yummy foods one after the other, and for each one i'd have to take a little breath in, until I had filled my lungs up so completely I was about to burst. She'd then say "chocolate chip!" and i'd have to squeeze in one more tiny bit. Even when I thought I couldn't do anything more, i'd always squeeze in that last chocolate chip!

I always think about that chocolate chip, and not just when it comes to lung functions or physio. Thanks mummy. (I always eat one more too...!)

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Tuxedo Times Two

As it's National Poetry Day, and as it is ALSO National I Love My Cat Day (which is everyday btw), I thought I'd post a poem that was basically written about my 'dear little cats' a.k.a 'jellicle' cats: Sky and Snowboots.

    The Song of the Jellicles

    Jellicle Cats come out to-night
    Jellicle Cats come one come all:
    The Jellicle Moon is shining bright -
    Jellicles come to the Jellicle Ball.

    Jellicle Cats are black and white,
    Jellicle Cats are rather small;
    Jellicle Cats are merry and bright,
    And pleasant to hear when they caterwaul.
    Jellicle Cats have cheerful faces,
    Jellicle Cats have bright black eyes;
    They like to practise their airs and graces
    And wait for the Jellicle Moon to rise.

    Jellicle Cats develop slowly,
    Jellicle Cats are not too big;
    Jellicle Cats are roly-poly,
    They know how to dance a gavotte and a jig.
    Until the Jellicle Moon appears
    They make their toilette and take their repose:
    Jellicle Cats wash behind their ears,
    Jellicle dry between their toes.

    Jellicle Cats are white and black,
    Jellicle Cats are of moderate size;
    Jellicle Cats jump like a jumping-jack,
    Jellicle Cats have moonlit eyes.
    They're quitet enough in the morning hours,
    They're quitet enough in the afternoon,
    Reserving their terpsichorean powers
    To dance by the light of the Jellicle Moon.

    Jellicle Cats are black and white,
    Jellicle Cats (as I said) are small;
    If it happends to be a stormy night
    They will practise a caper or two in the hall.
    If it happens the sun is shining bright
    You would say they had nothing to do at all:
    They are resting and saving themselves to be right
    For the Jellicle Moon and the Jellicle Ball.

    T. S. Elliot

    Sky is the one with the little white smudge on her nose. She's mine. Or rather, i'm hers. 

    Meow Pin up by Alberto Vargas