When I was a kid, and we asked an adult where they had been, the stock answer was 'There and back to see how far it was'. Having just been there, I can tell you it wasn't that far at all. In my life I've been shot at, blown up a bit, knocked off my motorcycle, and had cancer - but I still have no real feeling of 'cheating Death'. I think you either do or you don't - 'near death' just means you crossed the road without getting hit by a bus! We have very fragile bodies - it will either happen or it won't.
There is, however, an opening for a 'Bloody hell that was close!' club though.
Before starting to write I would also like to extol the virtues of a product I had always believed was over hyped - Bach Rescue Remedy. It works. That's really all I can say. Thanks to the lovely Beth who insisted I take it into hospital with me, and who brought Nina to visit me - for that she gets to be my big sister! On with the blog then.....................
Well, I made it. I've been away to a few places in the past three weeks, and without being maudlin or presumptive, I want to write one and only one, blog about what happened.
I had oesophageal cancer, which is cancer of the gullet - the bit the food goes down. I opted for surgery rather than chemo and radiation. The op went well - I'm still here - and I woke up in purgatory. This is the High Dependency Unit, which does an amazing job of keeping post op patients alive. It was also my own personal Hell. No windows to see, artificial lights permanently on, the white noise from the monitors deafening, and no sense of time. I am an Artist - a week of HDU nearly took my soul.
I was moved to a ward, to a 'side room' of my own, with a huge window and a view of inner city flats, and a dozen one legged feral pigeons flying around. It was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. I cried. I also had a window to open - it was only closed rarely during my stay - Room 6 in Ward 82 was now my home.
The strange thing was the line I had just crossed. HDU was for poorly people, I had now been promoted to a 'getting better' person. I began to realise what I had got through. Again, I cried - I still haven't stopped.
I didn't see Death, I didn't go towards a white light, I did, however, see what is left when all pretence at living is stripped away - Beauty. Nothing else. We have built everything in our lives from Beauty. Every baby is called 'beautiful' - what changes that life from beautiful to ugly? Pretence and the baggage of life.
From my room - which I was confined to for 7 days due to a chest infection - I watched the sun go down over the city of Leeds, listening to the 1812 overture playing on my little cellphone - Beauty.
I did learn one thing, even bouncing round in Dante's levels of Hell, I never once felt the need to question my convictions and call upon a God I didn't believe in. That is not to say He doesn't exist, I just seem to get through life with a few guardian angels and a lot of dumb luck. It works for me.
While I am on a personal note, I will explain my reasons for cutting down my Facebook friends before I went in. I have done hospitals before, and I know how much someone being there at 3am can help when you hurt. As most of you know, I have a very special friendship with Nefer Kane, and I knew she would be there - mainly because she sleeps during the day! At times our relationship becomes very intense and French, and I didn't want any of this to be interpreted wrongly by people who don't know me, and if you know me you know how devoted I am to my lady Nina - who, incidentally, counts Nefer as a friend. Nina is my soul, nothing could touch that, but Nefer has a large piece of my heart which she can use as she wishes.
It has been suggested that our relationship is 'not right' - that is so English. Love is not black and white, we are both Artists, we are both slightly damaged, we are also the closest of friends. Life is too short to please everyone, so I make my own way. Thank you for being there when I needed you mon amour.
Not a bad segue to my next point. I have decided that if I owed society any debts, they have been paid. I am now free to be me. I have also made a truce with Death - I'll stop laughing at Him if He stops picking on me. Sounds like a good deal from here.
I'm writing this on the Tuesday - two days before I leave hospital. It's been an experience I NEVER want again, but it's also shown me how strong I can be when the chips are down - thanks Mum.
I won't blog again about this, if anyone wants any advice I will be happy to give it if I can, but now is the time to move on - I am not a 'survivor', I had cancer, I had it cut out, let's Rock and Roll!!!!
I also want to thank with my heart everyone who wished me well, although I missed most of the messages I was amazed by the concern of my friends - thank you all.
Now, I want you to support a lovely lady who supported me..............then had to have brain surgery. She's tough, but we all need help. Linda L Jones you get better girl!