As you know, I live a wild and exciting life here in suburban West London. Are we truly in the suburbs? At 7 miles from the very central point of London, I suppose so although on a good day, one might walk into the centre. Anyway, I am invited to a conference called Britain Against Cancer, as though there were a pro cancer rally we might go and protest at. I also think this is a bunfight I might invite some of my chums to and several of them accept. The venue is the Central Westminster Hall, just a stone’s throw from the Houses of Parliament. I arrive and start a perambulation of the exhibition, watching for my nemesis. I grill each exhibitor about their use of patient and public in their work and receive fairly satisfactory responses from each although some people are clearly slightly alarmed by my questioning. I am joined by 2 lovely friends, Ms de Roeck and Ms Marsden as a rather damp young man is showing me how I can find out how good my hospital is according to patients.
After a while, we take our seats and have chatted for so long, the only seats left are on a table at the front of the auditorium. We duly sit and listen to John Baron MP tell us how well the cross-party group has done. We have a speech from Andy Burnham MP and then, towards the end, Jeremy Hunt MP honours us with his presence. I cannot like the man who seems over-caffeinated and slightly manic in his attempts to smile and speak at the same time. It is an interesting day but does not inspire confidence in that there is no further money for cancer services and the Government still seems to be hell bent on dismantling the NHS without admitting it. During the speeches I sneak some shots of our political speakers and luckily am not thrown out for doing so although I have a bit of a record in that department. I also cunningly take a photo of the inside of my bag, so anxious am I not to be discovered this time.
I did have a very wobbly photo of Andy Burnham but decided using it may look as though I were overawed in his presence which was decidedly not the case. We forget to take any selfies although I have to say we all looked indisputably gorgeous on the day.
Mid-week brings surgery for Dog. He has had a small growth in his mouth for a while and, despite anti-inflammatory medication from Dr Bum, it has not gone away so the only option is to remove it before it forces his teeth in wayward directions. I am concerned about how he will take to surgery. Having been abandoned at a young age, he is understandingly cagey about losing us and so tends to be a little anxious. He is not fond of Dr Bum at the best of times and I am really not sure how he will fare being left there alone. They are an accommodating lot at Dr Bum’s surgery and agree we can take him in 2 hours after the rest of the animals so he will not be there long before his operation. When we go to collect him, Dr Bum says Dog might be a bit sleepy and he certainly needs encouraging into the car. Once home, Dog stands in the middle of the sitting room, staring glassily into space. After a while, he descends into the sphinx-like posture he adopts when not really relaxed. In total overkill, I give him my sheepskin coat to lie on in front of the fire. Did I mention we no longer have offspring at home? He sits, sphinx-like for some time just staring into space until I scoop up his back legs and arrange them tidily to the side before taking his front half and laying him down on the floor. He makes no protest at all but continues to enjoy all the benefits of large amounts of anaesthetic and pain killers.
The following day, Dog is subdued but manages to eat a Bonio which Mr Mason gives him without thinking. He chomps it down without a thought to his tender mouth – Dog, not Mr Mason. Mr Mason may enjoy his food but draws the line at Bonio. Dog will no longer allow me to rearrange his back legs so we know he is very much on the mend. When Dog is taken back for his once-over, he is pronounced fit and discharged. We are several hundred pounds lighter and hoping the insurance company will cough up. What’s the betting there will shortly be an insurance company rant on the blog?