We drove into London this morning because there seemed to be a massive gap in the train timetable between 9 and 10, probably due to us living in Thatcher’s Britain, but it proved to be an OK way of getting in. I dropped Catie off at Kings Cross for her appointment and then headed over to Hammersmith for what has been an annual appointment.
Four years ago a blood test had come back and though everything was in the area officially described as normal, in one extent it was the low side of normal and so I had some tests and a couple of things came back that were normal but again on the extreme side of normal and there was a possibility that I had a slightly scary sounding, but actually ultimately treatable disease. If I had it, it wasn’t worth treating it yet, as it was treatable later and the cure would be worse than the current level of the problem. And I might not have anything. So every year I have had to go in for another appointment to see if things have got better or worse and to work out if I have anything wrong.
This is one of the many reasons why the NHS is a great thing. They care enough to keep checking up on me, but I am not worried about the burden of paying them, for appointments that I might risk not going to if I was charged.
And I’ve quite liked popping in on an annual basis to see the same consultant, who has, from the beginning pulled a face about me even being there. He told me that some doctors would have chosen not to take it any further and that he couldn’t be sure if they’d been right to see me or not. But every year we’ve gone through the blood tests (and a couple of nastier occasions when they pull stuff out of my marrow) and every year he’s remarked that everything seems to be OK, presented as he is, with a ,an exhibiting no sign of illness, who one year had run his fastest ever half-Marathon and whose blood tests were actually improving.
But he still wanted to be sure, so he’d still ask me to come back in, saying he thought that there was almost certainly no need. Apart from right at the beginning, when I first heard about the scary sounding illness I might have, I haven’t really been worried. My wife was pregnant when the first flurry of activity was going on and so that added an extra level of necessity that I didn’t die in agony. But also I was fitter than I’d ever been at the time (and I wonder if the weight loss of exercise had just skewed my results a bit anyway - certainly I’ve been steadily putting on weight since then, which isn’t usually the sign of bad illness), so it was hard to really believe I might be ill.
The good news is that today we’ve decided I’m not. My blood test came back super normal and me and the consultant have decided to stop seeing each other. I’ll miss him next summer, but I also did say that hopefully we wouldn’t see each other again.
Of course I miss out on the chance of having one of those brave and heart-rending blogs of someone battling against death (at least in the short term), which would, I am sure, make a nice change from me giving you details about the longevity of my underwear. But the good news is I will die one day. And hopefully it won’t be sudden, but protracted, so I can squeeze maximum mawkishness out of it. Let’s face it, most of this blog is about the inevitability of death anyway and is my misguided attempt to leave my mark on the planet, not having realised that digital things on line have no real life-span and I might as well be spunking in a bucket and hoping that the bucket of spunk is somehow still partially full and slimy and living in 500 years time and that the people of the future are for some reason impressed by that.
But I thought I’d finally share this with you now that I know I am all right, partly because even though I had no real fear that anything was wrong, it was nice to have it officially confirmed and partly because it will make the dramatic irony all the more satisfying when I get a call tomorrow saying they were looking at the wrong test and I have one day to live. And that was yesterday.
I’ve been feeling that life is good of late and had lots of satisfying moments and even stretches of an hour or so where I feel content and relaxed and gloriously lucky to be here and to have what I have.
And leaving the hospital today was another happy occasion. I am not complacent and it does show the importance of keeping fit (unless that’s what caused the original problem) and getting checked up regularly.
I was lucky this time, the things that lurk in my body and for some reason want me dead, even though this is where they live, only have to be lucky once.
I popped down to the Westfield and it’s changed a lot in the eleven months since I lived here. John Lewis is open as is a whole new corridor of shops. Why did I leave Shepherd’s Bush? It’s way better than some bunting and a scarecrow of a man dressed up as a banana.
Let me back in. I thought I was dying when I moved here. Now I want to live. And look at John Lewis’ selection of office furniture, with no real intention of buying it. Why God? Why?