Penultimate Chemo, visit the clinic with my friend Maggie. We haven’t seen each other for a long time but manage to talk almost non stop for five hours, until I almost lose my voice.
She is shocked at the state of the clinic. “It’s like a store room,” she says, particularly puzzled about the array of blue plastic water bottles all over the floor.
I have put in a request to see a doctor as there wasn’t one available the previous day in the clinic. She says that I have an “incisional hernia,” caused by the operation. This is a bit of a bummer I must say – it swells up like a balloon and brings back memories of jokes on the Goon Show about old men with trusses and rumours about secret, furtive things called “supports.”
Perhaps I will have to buy an "appliance?" Look them up on the internet and they seem to apply only to men.
I expected to be able to get back to full fitness quite quickly after the next session, but I can see that being subject to some delay. I can’t imagine bashing up the swimming pool, performing tumble turns and diving off the high board with this bit of gut sticking its head out in the wrong place.
Pamela also turns up, looking flash in tight black pants and winkle picker court shoes. We leave the hospital in a tremendous downpour but it’s good fun being together.
When we get back to my flat I open a letter saying that I have got a painting into the Discerning Eye competition, which opens at the Mall Gallery on 11th November.
They received 2,500 entries and usually hang about 500 paintings. Getting into public competitions these days is like a lottery, but they accepted my painting, Chemo I, showing my head when my hair first started falling out in patches and I looked like a lunatic.
I had to ask my friends several times to check that there was really an “A” for "accept," on the paper, and I hadn't imagined it.