The one where Karma gets me

Today I go for a meeting at the Health Research Authority to look at ethics in health research with a group of other patients/people/non-professional researchers. I am a patient, I am a person and I am a non-professional researcher in that I am a co-applicant on several research applications. I cannot remember how many but that’s chemo-brain for you. Anyway, I have agreed to sit on a panel to read papers on ethics and give my perspective. Stuff like Incidental Findings – where researchers find out more about you than they expected eg when you have a scan as part of a research trial. The detail that goes into the trial design is incredible, as it should be.

I arrive at the venue which is surprisingly swish and hi-tech behind it’s rather drab exterior and immediately think of my friend, Claire, who I know is doing something senior in the NHS so I text her to ask if she works in the building. She sends one back, confirming she does. Is she free for lunch? She’s out of the building all day. Booo. We’ve been trying to arrange a lunch for ages. Still, there is always next year. I go to the meeting room and immediately someone says “I know you!” and reminds me of a workshop I ran with colleagues that she attended. More than that, a man arrives who was also at the workshop. There are only 2 others attending and one of them knows several people I know and the other woman discovers she is sitting on a committee with the woman who recognised me when I arrived. It’s making the world very small. On the tube home, we sit and discuss this very topic when, lo and behold! A friend I haven’t seen since I was first ill gets on the train and we exclaim and hug and then spend the next few minutes catching up. It’s an extraordinary day.

The following day I meet up for a coffee with my lovely Italian friend who tells me that her recent brain scan had an incidental finding of lesions in her brain. Bloody cancer. Never happy with what it’s taking it always wants more. Her lesions can hopefully be zapped with a cyber knife but it’s still a terrible blow. And another bit of synchronicity given I was talking about incidental findings just the day before.

Yesterday I have an accident. I am not sure how to describe it without causing dreadful offence to anyone who reads the blog but feel it should be told. Bear in mind that Mr Mason and I are liberals with marked socialist leanings but that we occasionally like to break out and do really silly things. So. We are making gingerbread and biscotti to give to our friends on Saturday night. I leave Mr Mason to continue the baking while I go to have a shower. When I come down, Mr Mason says something along the lines that he has been trying to create a gingerbread Hitler but it didn’t go well. He was struggling with shaping the holocaust author. Mr Mason then has to go to the supermarket to buy things and, while he is gone, I think I will surprise him by adding gel colouring to the gingerbread men, making them look like the Fuhrer so it will amuse him and we can have fun biting his head off. I busy myself with creating tiny toothbrush moustaches and giving the gingerbread men big smiles. I then have to put the biscotti and the non-Nazi gingerbread men into cellophane bags so I can add ribbon to them. I add ribbon to 2 packs and curl it beautifully. I think I will use a different colour ribbon to the other packs and reach down to pick up the ribbon which is on the floor. At this point, I should explain we have chairs in our house which are over 100 years old and, it is at this point, despite many remarks to Mr Mason about glueing the joints of the chairs, that my chair decides it has had enough and there is a loud cracking sound as I am tipped back swiftly, my head banging hard on the edge of a wooden CD rack behind me and leaving me stunned and thoroughly roughed-up on the floor.

After I pick myself up, somewhat carefully as a lot of me hurts, including my left lymphoedema arm, I phone Mr Mason to advise that he should come home early but his phone goes straight to answerphone. I then have a choice of offspring – Master Mason who is only a few miles away, or Miss Mason who is many thousands of miles away. It’s an obvious choice. I call Miss Mason and tell her I have had an accident and although it one of her most favourite kinds – someone falling over or being deposited on the floor – she does not laugh but is concerned and kindly. I have a huge lump on the back of my head which hurts – a lot. Master Mason would just have told me off for being so foolish and toppling myself onto the floor.

I feel it is probably karma. Obviously making gingerbread men resembling Hitler is a bad thing and in incredibly bad taste so Life intervened and threw me to the floor in protest. In my defence, I would like to say it was Mr Mason who started it. OK, I took it further but honest, guv, I didn’t mean it. And he should have glued the joints on the chair AGES ago. And now I’ll stop digging. Sorry.

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