Saturday, 11 October 2008

25. TV fundraising

I'm sure you can’t have missed the huge TV fundraising campaign going on across all channels at the moment for cancer charities in general and my friends, the Macmillan nurses, in particular. Now, obviously, I’m a huge supporter of all this, but it does tend to put a bit of gloomy slant on my own telly viewing.

“Living with cancer can be a real struggle” intones across the whole digital spectrum, no matter what time of day or night. Tell me about it. In fact, tell everybody about it – but not necessarily on every channel at the same time.

I mean, how much money can this campaign really be raising on Paramount Sci-Fi Gold Repeat + 2, or Sky 3 Action Bible Interactive, or Discovery National Geographic circa 1994 (the bits we didn’t show yesterday) channel, or Dave? For a moment yesterday, I thought I’d escape it on Film Four Movies (+1) where they were showing the excellent Kite Runner movie. But then, would you believe it, the dad – the very nice, noble, dignified dad, who’s Afghan for heaven’s sake and could be killed in any number of tragic and exotic ways, goes and dies of cancer anyway.

On Wednesday, my own Macmillan team came to my rescue after yet another “worst night of my life” scenario. Waking around 3am, I was experiencing what doctors tend to call “deep cancer pain”. At least, I assume it was deep cancer pain. Or, put it another way, if cancer pain goes any deeper than that it’s going to come right out the other side.

This propelled me into manic self-medication mode of a particularly furious kind, as I hurled bucketloads of morphine, anti-emetics and tranquillisers down my throat, culminating (inevitably perhaps) in the most colourful display of projectile vomiting since the Beijing Olympic fireworks. At which point, and with Mary’s soothing help, I must have passed out.

Daylight came - followed shortly by the amazingly swift and reassuring appearance of Tony and Jo from Macmillan. Decisions were made with admirable speed. I’d been really sick. So I probably hadn’t absorbed much medication. So I needed it injected. Calls were made, drugs and syringes, procured, injections given. I promise never to forget how lucky I am to have this level of specialist support available at such speed.

The Wednesday crash meant I missed the second part of my survey on spirituality (chapter 19). A shame – because my mention of it attracted the attention of David Webb, the fearless defender who played a central role in what was probably QPR’s best ever team. David (I certainly won’t call him Webb-y) heard my radio broadcast, and dropped me a line, thus forging an interesting and unexpected link between spirituality, finality and football. And it struck me that it was a bit like the 1966 World Cup final in reverse. Some people think the Grim Reaper is on the Pitch… they think it’s all over… well it isn’t just yet.