Thursday, 30 October 2008

31. Mission statement

The news today is dominated by a piece of low drama at the BBC.
An inane practical joke played by two over-paid TV presenters has thrown the corporation into complete chaos. What a fuss. You’d think the world was coming to end, which funnily enough it probably is, although not over that.
As it happens, I’ve always admired the BBC’s mission statement – to inform, educate and entertain. It was written over eighty years ago, long before anyone had even coined the term mission statement, and has weathered well.

If I could borrow it for this blog, I’d say: Inform – to keep people up to date with the changes. Educate – because cancer is different for any sufferer and every cancer sufferer is different. And Entertain, yes entertain, because I like to think you’re enjoying what you’re reading. Why be miserable? You’ve got problems of your own.
The snag from my point of view is that capturing moments of enjoyment from this diminishing sphere of activity will take rather more effort from now on, and I’m not sure I’ve got enough good material to work with.

Start with the arena. The stage is comfortable enough - but with limited possibilities. Just the bedroom (disguised as a bedroom/lounge/office/pharmacy/operating theatre) and the next door bathroom (and you wouldn’t want to spend much time there despite its luxuriant towels).

Then, the view. Overlooking back garden and allotments. Nice enough, but not offering much variety in a winter landscape.

The timescale is unclear. The inviolable “one day at a time” mantra forbids me to estimate how long, but you can guess that each passing day will involve less and less physical movement.

There are lots of props of course – mostly drugs, including the new Fentanyl lollipop which you rub along the inside of your cheeks to give you an instant boost of opiates. Tastes like fake strawberry and makes you feel vaguely sick. Same as most lollipops.

But really it’s up to you now to help me complete the story. To you, the visitors – whether by phone, email or up the three flights of stairs to see me.
Until now I’d avoided visitors to the house in case I turned it into a mausoleum. It’s a happy house – you’d be amazed how many people have spontaneously said so – filled with light and laughter for 25 years. The trick now is to keep its narrative alive with its assortment of family and friends, doctors and nurses, and one crazee cat.

By the way, in case you haven’t seen me for a while and you’re planning to pop in, you’ll be struck by one thing for sure – the diet definitely seems to be working.