The Coronavirus Diaries, 14th May 2021

When I was called to room ten and the staff member introduced herself as the skin oncology nurse my stomach did a little lurch. I have been doing a very good job of telling myself this appointment would be just to tell me everything was fine, or at worst that they wanted to check on it again in a while. Then I found out it might well have been, as the results only came through this morning.

So it was a melanoma. Not good, but not so bad either. It was in the early stages, they believe everything has been removed, but they will want to remove a larger area just in case. It sounded more inconvenient than anything else. The site is of course the same only bigger, so rest and minimal walking, certainly no cycling. I am going to be as fat as butter. More showering with clingfilm wrapped round my lower leg. Horrors. So I have just ordered one of those pricey limb protectors from Limbo. Is this a sign of a new direction in my retail habits? I remember when the attractions of Miss Selfridge palled in comparison to those of Blacks and Cotswold Outdoor, am I now going to be browsing the aisles of John Bell and Croyden on Wigmore Street or browsing surgical aids online when I want a shopping kicks?

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Matters of the Heart

Celia is in the running for hospital visitor of the year. It’s not something she planned, but over the last few weeks it’s been something of a revolving door with her husband Charlie repeatedly admitted with heart problems.

He went back in again a few days ago, and is undergoing something we are not allowed to call electric shock treatment to get his heart beating to the correct rhythm. I think it’s called electrical cardioversion.

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Pets Make a Home a Home

Amazing what pets can do. And I’m not talking about high fives, playing dead or catching burglars, though the last is pretty impressive too. I mean what they can do for us, for our well-being and happiness.

Take Romeo. The manager of the shop where Romeo is the resident mouser is something of a tough guy, yet in a few short weeks Romeo has captured his heart. He comes when he’s called (Romeo, not the manager). “Does your cat do that?” the manager asks me. “Not usually,” I answer truthfully, omitting to say that MasterB is my shadow when we are outside and amuses my neighbours the way he follows me about. The manager gives me a smile that is both pitying and superior.

A week ago Romeo arrived home limping and crying. Much consternation and he was taken to the vet. The manager missed him dreadfully. No pretty tabby with tail aloft greeting him when he arrived at work each day. After a couple of days absence, MasterB realised his persecutor was no longer around and returned to the garden with renewed enthusiasm. Today he was looking out of the sitting room window and started meowing and looking round at me. I joined him and saw Romeo in the loading bay at the back of the shop. MasterB has refused all invitation to go out.

Good for my health

Good for my health

Later I learned that MasterB’s alarm was raised within minutes of Romeo’s return. I am glad to see he isn’t limping, and I am hoping his extremities have been removed and that he will gradually lose his urge to dominate our garden and poo in high places. I’m getting a bit fed up with sluicing it away with buckets of water.

Last night there was the second of two programmes about puppies. I watched with MasterB. He really did watch, face tilted up to the screen. “Shall we have one?” I asked him. He turned to look at me. I can’t say his look held enthusiasm. “Not here,” I explained. “We could move; you could have a cat flap and your own garden. No Romeo.” Still unimpressed. “One like that,” I persevered as a German Shepherd with ears to die for came on the screen. He yawned. Continue reading

Hurrah for Health!

First a gratuitous picture of MasterB:
Now on with the post.
A long time ago in my giddy youth I had a few days with very little sleep and a lot of boat travel between various places in Greece and the heel of Italy. The memories are hazy, but I do remember when we disembarked at Brindisi quite late one evening how the ground seemed to come up to greet me. Since then I have experienced a milder version of the same after travelling on the sleeper between London and Fort William, or after several days aboard das Boot.
You’ll notice a travel theme here.
On Tuesday my only transport was Shanks’ Pony, but on Wednesday morning when I tried to get out of bed, the room span and the floor tilted menacingly. I sat down and tried again after a few seconds. This time I moved more slowly, but the effect was still there. When I walked to the bathroom it felt like my feet did not know how to connect with the ground, but when they did, shuddering echoes stormed up like sand disturbed by giants.
It made me think of one of those films where footsteps ring out, overloud on damp cobbles in empty night time streets, or cartoons where the earth trembles and quakes as the ogre arrives at the village. If I moved my head too quickly I had to grab hold of something to stop myself from falling. Nausea came through me in a rush.
The challenge of two flights of stairs to let MasterB out, and then later back in, was scary to put it mildly, though I imagine my clinging on to the bannister rail might have looked quite comic to anyone watching. I didn’t dare go outside. The chances of falling over seemed horribly high. I had some writing to do, so I nested on the sofa and made slow progress with it, feeling very very sorry for myself.
I am not brave about illness. Continue reading


The ground seems to be coming up to meet me. It see-saws under my feet. If I turn my head too quickly it is like a stop motion animation, and my balance wavers. I am reminded of the feeling following a journey on the sleeper from London to Fort William, or if I have stayed afloat for several days. I am unsteady, destabilised. I cannot drive. I cannot ride a bike.

The kerb seems too high and I dare not risk stepping off it. I hug the inside of the pavement, scared I might suddenly fall. My hand reaches for rails, walls, any support that offers. My feet move slowly. I need to make sure I am in contact with the ground.

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Cat Health Bulletin

Well, they used to do them for royalty, so why not for Cat?

Anyway, I’d better get on with it. I’m playing hookey from some work I need to finish this evening to put up a this quick post.

Cat has just completed ten days on his new medication, a tablet each day. For the next ten days, he has a tablet on alternate days. He’s being very good about taking the pills mainly because I am crushing them and wiping them up in thinly sliced chicken like a dishcloth. The vet warned me that they would increase his appetite.

She wasn’t kidding. Continue reading