TraveloguesEveryone has a story.
– And how will Sir be paying?
– I beg your pardon?
– At the risk of incurring the considerable wrath of my dear grandmother, who would remind me that I must never be required to repeat myself, I must, on this occasion, risking her shouting from her grave, repeat my question. How will Sir be paying?
The recent debates in Australia over same-sex marriage have followed the same wearisome pattern seen in so many other countries. Politicians try to manage their constituents, churches mount their vigorous defence of the definition of “marriage,” and the Bible, once again, is caught up in the determination of public policy.
Wisdom cries in the street
The humble rise to their feet
to kick their shoes off
before they hit the road
Following the 15 hour surgery on my brain 12 months ago, the whole left side of my body was left paralysed. There is still some way to go. My left hand still experiences constant pins & needles. It has about half of its required strength and dexterity. The neuro pathways, the synapse, from the brain to the hand still has obstacles.
Colin Birtles is stuck in traffic, or more to the point, stuck in his car, in a queue, at a service station, idling his engine, with other unfortunates, in traffic, victims all of a garish advertising sign offering a fuel price discount, pock marked on the side of the road, with all the other pock marks, blathering the health benefits of Gatorade, the communication benefits of a mobile phone, or the freedom offered by the latest Jeep.
My first response is to say, "It's a great Aussie yarn!" and yet it is so much more. We anticipated a story about a car accident but discovered again, so much more. With his elegant style, Steve brings a community to life on Australian soil. It has a 1970's or 1980's...
A short video montage, mainly of my walking, of progress since my surgery.
One wet, cold September night some years ago now, a boy was born. It was late, his father, a veterinary surgeon, was out tending to another birth, a cow, in a time when it was hardly expected that a father would be in attendance for the birth of his child, he would be much more likely to be asleep, or having drinks with friends, than with his wife about to give birth.
Appearances can be deceptive, as they are with most people. On the surface I appear to be quite normal, a functioning human being doing what functioning human beings do. “You’re looking good” is what people say.
An article written for the May 2017 Brain Tumour Alliance newsletter.
What was meant to be an evening of conviviality amongst friends and acquaintances amidst the deep furnishings, large squashy cushions, paintings and dark woollen wall hangings from Turkey in the living room lined by book shelves containing manuscripts and novels, texts and biographies of those who pleaded to have their stories told, along with the red wines and cheeses of the local providors for measured complimentary consumption and the lives of those living their tangents of intellectual depth and meaning, their day jobs ranging from sitting in cubicles muttering onto spreadsheets, to manual realities sprung from twenty years of schooling to finally be put on the day shift, turned into something else when a randomly chosen line from a randomly chosen page from a randomly chosen book pulled from the shelf behind them somehow turned this gathering of like minds into a sirocco of subdued antipathy and enveloping rage.
Six months on from surgery and my life is still a struggle. I still feel useless, although I do try and make myself useful. I have perhaps 40% use of my left arm, gripping and holding things is the main problem, I still have double vision in my right eye and I am unstable on my feet.
This week, no fewer than 8 people have said to me, “it’s been a really tough year”, and then gone onto say, “and I know it’s been an especially difficult one for you”.
I didn’t think I’d be so physically incapacitated. Or put another way, sometimes it’s better not to have full knowledge of the consequences of major surgery, it can lead to pre and post-operative despondency.
My mother played Liszt. Not the transposed for modern players Liszt but the original bastard’s manuscripts that he didn’t want women to play, or anyone else for that matter, so betoken was he to his own musical genius. She was taken, my mother, I think, by his obsession with making the piano, the instrument that she devoted her life to, the life force of the musical world. She tackled Dante and Faust as Liszt might have done. Stubborn old cow (if you’re allowed to call your mother an ‘old cow’).
I rode my bike for half an hour this morning. Previously, that is, pre surgery, a half hour bike ride would not have registered at all on Katrina’s radar, but today she was ecstatic because my current normal makes thirty minutes of intense exercise monumental.
A short description of my brain tumour journey, a journey that is still not over.
Lulu sat on the edge of her bed and contemplated it, before she started slashing. And so the violence began, controlled violence though it was, down the arms, across the chest, down the back of legs; none of it designed to inflict real damage but enough to draw attention to the inalienable fact that Lulu wanted someone to listen to her. She lay down on her bed, with the razor blade between the bed and herself and gently allowed it to penetrate the skin of her shoulders as well, just to emphasise the point. She then sat on the edge of her bed and stared at the razor, with it between her legs, and decided that she’d had enough, for now.