Don’t do drugs, kids

Sometimes it takes me ages to write the next blog. It is usually because life gets in the way in some guise or another and, in this case, it’s because I’m feeling unwell in various ways. No sooner than we get the good CT scan, the rib pain comes on and doesn’t give up. It stops me from sleeping and I can actually point to the areas where it hurts. “It hurts when I press here” I tell Mr Mason. “Don’t press it, then” he says, with the age-old family joke. He speaks to the GP who says he will ask for an ultrasound of my liver. A couple of days later, I go to see a different GP from the practice. They are all nice, accommodating and listen to me but I am struggling to get someone to actually examine me. The second GP doubles my morphine so that we can get on top of the pain. He also writes to my oncologist to ask for a bone scan. Bone scans are my least favourite thing as they so claustrophobic. This GP tentatively examines me but really is interested in pain so that’s what his goal is. With this amount of morphine in my system, I am really off my head. I go to see another GP a day or so later (the exact chrononology is a bit muddled, unsurprisingly) to check his opinion of my  medication which he concedes is a little high but as long as it’s got on top of my pain, that’s fine. I can also take a sleeping tablet should I wish to. He also feels around the painful area on my ribs and can’t find anything untoward. He is quite reassurring.

The difficulty in taking lots of morphine is that there are side effects. I am in the car with Mr Mason when I can quite clearly see Mr Mason jnr sitting in front of me on the seat at the front of the bus carrying a big log and wearing fawn trousers. I text him to see if he will turn round but receive a text back saying “No, I’m not”. I know it’s pantomime season but I don’t get into the “Oh yes you are” repartee. He probably wouldn’t respond, either. I have conversations with people I know and people I don’t know, often deep and interesting but I find it a little concerting when Mr Mason breaks in with some real live conversation and I realise I’ve been off in my drug fuelled world again. I decide to cut down the amount I am taking gradually to see whether the pain returns or not and manage to get back to my normal level in 2 weeks which actually impresses the oncologist. He thinks that as the pain has subsided, it is probably musculo-skeletal and that it will flare up occasionally but that’s about it. He’s arranging for a bone scan which he says won’t be before Christmas and smiles with me as I realise I will get a week off chemotherapy over Christmas.

In between all this muddle, my friend, Mrs Jones, comes to visit me from Nottingham and we take her to see the seals. Ever since I open my eyes I don’t feel right. Can’t put my finger on it but I just feel a bit icky. As we are leaving to pass the last of the seals, we see a small chap who has found some water channels and is busy swimming up and down them. In one lane, he finds it blocked by a bull seal and his little fins go twenty to the dozen to get out of there. All the while he calls for his mum who ignores him and he seems to get further and further away from her. He starts to scramble up the grassy bank towards us, calling and puffing for all he’s worth. When he gets to the top he does the one thing I suspect will kill him. He puts his head through the fence and we jump away as though burned. If you take a look at him you’ll see why someone with less self-control might just have put a hand down to stroke his head, unwittingly meaning his mother will reject him and he will die. After a few moments calling us all Mum, he flapped his way off again towards another cow with her pups but he wasn’t well received. I could never be a wildlife photographer or journalist. The plight of this one little seal pup has stayed with me.

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As we leave Donna Nook, I begin to feel worse but we haven’t eaten so maybe that will make me feel better. It doesn’t. It just makes me want to urge the tea lady to hurry up with her food and then for my companions to eat faster. I am rapidly feeling so ill I don’t even feel I can speak. I signal I need to go home. Urgently. We arrive home, I dash to the bathroom, show Mrs Jones my trumpet lights and then say that I have to go to bed. She is great about it and has a good old natter with Mr Mason downstairs while I crash out. My temperature goes up and down, I feel a bit chilly and then OK so I tough it out. Over the next few days I am in bed with aching limbs and headaches but determined not to go to hospital. One one day, Mr Mason also feels a bit yucky (or “a bit umpty” as his parents say) so I am convinced it is a virus. Gradually the symptoms subside and, due to the reduction of my morphine, I stop seeing things and having conversations whether I don’t know if I’m awake or asleep. On our wedding anniversary – 36 years this year – I write Mr Mason a card but get confused with Valentine’s Day and our anniversary. I end up writing a lot of hallucinatory stuff which will no doubt make its way through the family annals as to “This is when Granny went mad and we have it in writing”. Actually, should the day occur when I am a grandparent, I am going to be Babcia in honour of my lovely friend, Ms Baranska, who very sadly died on 22nd November 2015, another victim of cancer, this time of cancer of an unknown origin. She was just 32.

Our exciting news is that not only is Mrs Safaie snr coming to spend Christmas with us but it also looks as though Mr and Mrs Mason are also coming. This news is absolutely epic given that Mrs Mason snr hasn’t stepped outside the back door for several years and I’m not sure even owns a pair of shoes any more. In between high temperatures, headaches and exhaustion, I have been ordering a new bed and bedding, re-arranging the bedrooms and making sure the annexe is up to scratch, getting a wardrobe dismantled (not the Mr Shaya jnr way), Christmas shopping and planning work for the new year. The physical work is not mine, of course, but that of Mr Mason and our gardener, Gavin.

I was almost on the point of declaring blog bankruptcy given that it has been so long since my last episode but I enjoy writing and although it’s frustrating when I can’t write chronologically, I suppose that level of control also has to be let go. I know there have been messages on Facebook and via email that I have not answered but if the choice is between a quick nap or writing, the quick nap will often win. So just sit back and imagine how the last great storm whipped through the village making it sound as though we were on a beach and shaking the ancient trees to their foundations (none felled, though, that I saw). The owls were quiet that night but are now back with a vengeance. And at the weekend we went to the Horncastle Christmas Market which is low key but entertaining and  I got to hold a barn owl which was incredible. I wish I could sign off with Too Wit, Too Woo but alas, that’s the Tawny owl so until the next time, Eeeeek eek eeeeeek!

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6 thoughts on “Don’t do drugs, kids

  1. Hi Shelley,
    You really made me laugh – what a wise owl you are – cheering up your readers when you’re the one feeling rough and your hair looks great too! I had dinner last week with Alan Fyson who was the Accountant, Glyn McIntosh who was the Communications Director and Bridget Gardiner who was the Fundraising Director at QUIT and put them onto your blog. Hugs & Kisses and I look forward to seeing you in January. Karen B xx

    • I thought of you when I was holding the owl. Some children were being a bit rough with it so I held it up higher (they were of diminutive stature). The feather structure of the Barn Owl is amazing – no wonder it flies so silently. We can see one hunting from our sitting room window some evenings which is awesome (and not in the American way). Thanks for putting Alan & Co onto the blog. What are they all doing now? There can only be one or two people left that we know, probably counsellors. It was good in its heyday. Will look forward to seeing you in the new year. Enjoy the floating restaurant on Sunday and give our love to Ciara, Eddie, Judy, Kay, Derrin, Wendy and any of the original crew we paddled with. Lots of love xxxx

  2. Hello Shelley, sorry to read how ick you’ve been feeling, and Mark too 😦 hope you’re feeling better and you have been pampered and treated like a queen! Festive hugs, Emma xx

    • I am nearly always treated like a queen, Emma (or is that another hallucination?). Just getting over the first week post-chemo and then I should be feeling much better and certainly in the festive mood. Lots of love, Shelley xx

  3. Hi Shelley
    Lovely to read your blog. Sorry to hear that you’ve been feeling so rough but you certainly haven’t lost your sense of humour. I hope Mark is less icky as well.
    We are having a combined Wave Walkers and remembering Eddie DIm Sum lunch, on Sunday, at our new favourite Chinese restaurant, a floating one! We are paddling beforehand and then some of us our supposed to be playing badminton, on Eddie’s honour, but I’m not sure how well we will be able to control our gluttony to be able to play. We will raise a glass (of tea) to you and Mark and wish you festive cheer.
    Janet, John and I will be in touch in the new year, to make a date to come and visit.

    Liza

    • I love the floating restaurant, too! We managed to get one lunch there before we moved and am only sorry we can’t get down for this year’s treat. It’s great the way you are combining Wave Walkers with remembering Eddie and yes, I doubt you’ll all be able to reign in your gluttony in order to play badminton but you never know! Just don’t let Ann feed you before/during your training session. She is incorigible and please give her and Selina our love. I’m sorry we had to postpone your visit this autumn but hopefully things will be a bit more stable in the new year and we look forward to introducing you to the delights of Lincolnshire. We are planning a West London enclave so be warned! Love to you, Dominic and Chesca xxx

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