Friday, 22 August 2008

13. Comfort for all

The Marie Curie Hospice offers counselling to friends as well as families of cancer victims. I was asked: do any of your friends need counselling Mr Rose? Blimey, I should say so. Just about all of them. Peter’s diary problems alone would keep them busy for a decade. Dave K still thinks it’s the 1970s. And don’t even think about sorting out Jonathan’s obsession with the Balkans. Still, it’s nice of them to ask.

The hospice has a soothing presence – a bit like my acupuncturist, Mr Ming. I believe that acupuncture is about as effective as knitting, but Mr Ming had a calming effect on me during the bowel operations. “Ah Mr Lose,” he would say, “Did you make wind today?” Yes, Mr Ming, I make wind every day. That’s good, he’d say, then stick needles in my head.

A pet is apparently a great source of comfort to cancer sufferers, so Mary has decided to get a cat. Because she likes to recycle things, she opted for a rescue cat (rather than buying new) even though this probably means we’ll end up with a wild-eyed schizophrenic with a history of kitten abuse. It also means we have to deal with Cat Woman. Cat Woman is from the Royal Society for Barmy Cat Rescuers (or something) and she left a message on our answerphone demanding – yes demanding - to vet our home according to her society’s strict criteria of cat-owning suitability. Two days later she turned up. Mary was concerned I might say something inappropriate so I was unfairly banished to the bedroom out of harm’s way. Well, Mary needn’t have worried. Cat Woman simply loved our house. In fact, she wouldn’t leave. In fact, she sort of indicated that, never mind the cat, she’d quite like to move in herself. So, in the next few weeks, we’ll be taking delivery of either a mildly deranged feline with social issues, or a middle-aged woman, ditto.

I’m going to the Hospice next Tuesday for some more blood tests. The trouble is I’ve given so much blood over the past few months that my veins are seizing up like a junkie’s. They have to hunt around for ages for somewhere soft to stick the needle. Then they take an armful or so - and don’t even give me a biscuit.

The blood tests don’t, of course, tell you much. But then there’s a lot I don’t want to know. I don’t want to know, for example, how far the cancer has spread. What’s the point? It will tell me soon enough.