Waiting For Chemo

Hospital visits a plenty this week for my significant other. Yesterday saw her undergo a blood test; while today we shall spend an hour or so, on the hottest September day in the UK for 50 years, bathing in the strip lighting glow of an oncology unit waiting room.

The strip lights are far less of a skin cancer risk than the fluorescent tubes of a sun bed, however I suspect the tanning won’t be as impressive. Not to mention, I’ll probably be asked not to sit in the waiting room in my Speedos like last time!

As I’ve written before, Karen and I have spent hundreds of hours in the waiting rooms of several medical establishments since her cancer diagnosis in November 2010. The vast majority of that time we remain philosophical about the wait, the inconvenience and the travel costs of our stint dans la salle d’attente.

It has to be said, though, sitting in a waiting room surrounded by the poor victims of this rancid disease is slightly more challenging when its 25 degrees C outside, as it is today.

Complain ye not though Gary! After all,  compared to the patients plight (some of whom, like my courageous spouse, are incurably ill), being cooped up in a oncology unit waiting room whilst the solar rays are ‘cracking the flags’ outdoors, shouldn’t be dwelt upon.

A first world problem is how I believe these insignificant inconveniences are now labelled.

In the grand scheme of things missing out on an hour or so of sunshine today is no big deal; or as the French call it “pas grand chose’. During this period, l shall sit amongst the plucky patients, writing of our enduring journey before and during Karen’s treatment.

I would imagine the consultant oncologists who treat skin cancer patients, would proffer they are doing me a favour keeping me out of the sun; a major contributor to skin melanoma.

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As I write this segment of my monologue of mirth (I’m not sure if I’m being sarcastic there, or not!), I have just taken my seat in the oncology waiting room.

The say that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. Well that maybe so, but the fact I reached any level of wit is a milestone for GJ Strachan. Well, that’s according to my biggest literary critic George Plummage, anyway.

He regular contacts me via email and social media with suggestions of subjects, improvements in writing style, the need for more humour and recommendations like a need for more happy endings!……. To clarify, I’m referring to literary happy endings, not those of the executive relief nature.

His suggestions do have some validity, such as not writing while driving, sitting on a motorway or using an angle grinder. However, his suggestion I finish all my blogs with Karen & I marrying and living happily ever after in a faraway castle, lacks originality and any chance of reality.

There can be no happy ever afters for my stoic spouse. Her unwanted visitors (skeletal and organ tumours) will at some point mutate to ensure that scenario will never come to fruition. A spiteful act from her faceless nemesis; an indiscriminate foe who doesn’t know the concept of a fair fight!

George Plummage, whose ‘bird whispering skills’ enable him to counsel chaffinches afflicted by vertigo, means well; but so did the feckless character Trigger in the TV comedy Only Fools & Horses…….. And I’m sure I’m not alone in saying I wouldn’t actively seek Trig’s viewpoint on anything!…… apart from possibly brooms!

Blimey we’ve been ages waiting today and now we have been told that there has been a problem, which resulted in Karen having to provide more blood samples.

We then will venture home, only to return to the oncology unit in 3 hours, when the bloods will have been rechecked and her treatment can be administered.

What a waste of 1.5 hours sat in the waiting room this morning!

During this tarry, it felt like my wife and I were the two main character’s, Vladimir and Estragon, in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot……. Although, I’m not sure my spouse would thank me for being likened to a nattering European tramp, fruitlessly awaiting the arrival of Godot.

I make this comparison with Waiting For Godot as, during this lengthening waiting time, I imagined a later part of the day when Karen would utter these adapted words from Beckett’s play:-

“Was I sleeping, while the others suffered? Am I sleeping now? Tomorrow, when I wake, or think I do, what shall I say of today? That with Gary my husband, at this place, until the fall of night, I waited for chemo?”  

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