Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The t-word, and the bright side.

Airplane tracks, scratching the sky, leaving a white cloudy path to Earth. To Earth, or from it - taking off or landing, depends how you look at it.

I couldn't bring myself to get out of bed this morning. Normally the family home brings out this early-riser in me, stirs the student and rouses the responsible; but today, I felt sedative-heavy, world-weary and generally defeated. It's such a cliche. A few fun-filled days in the sunshine with a backdrop of worry and the unknown - eventually that dark cloud will catch up with you. It wasn't until the third time in about thirty minutes that my dad's hand passed over my forehead that I felt ready to open my eyes. That, and he was rustling something in his lap. The same something that just landed on the doormat. Not one, but two packages of love and hope. I'd never ask for presents, but hey...
From my angel Kate, my coffee and wine lover, gossip-exchanger and general go-to girl, putting the world to rights most days and sipping Frappuccino's outside Sainsbury's in the midst of a nose-ring crisis every now and again - she sent me a card, a note, a book, a chocolate bar. I knew it was Kate when I saw the card, the quote 'Falling down is part of life; Getting back up is living', made me think of her wardrobe coated in quotes and the little pick-me-up pictures texts she sends me when I don't know what to do with my life. She pottered around Waterstones and she found me a real gem, a beautiful novel by one of my favourite authors, 'Every Day' by David Levithan. It's going to the top of my to-read bedside pile. As for the Dairy Milk bar... That badboy found a happy place long ago. 


My three amigos, the aforementioned family, sent me each a handwritten postcard, plus some Crystals goodies - oh gosh, the goodies. Two gem rings I'd set aside at work ages ago, plus two stones specially made for healing and protecting. Happy tears aplenty. I can tape some 'important sentimental-type' rings to my hand during my dreaded op - more on that later - and I've got 'em now. Those stones will sit on my pillow. Pride of place. 


My all-time favourite book is 'One Day', by David Nicholls. I urge you all to read it. It inspired me to go beyond the blogging world and create my own characters; all with their own back stories and rich personal dramas, dreams and lessons they've learnt. That book made me weep in the hot Majorca sun last summer, while I was making my way through the tougher parts of the plot, and then again when the book ended, and I was halfway through a bottle of cheap peach schnapps and a game of Scrabble. It made me feel, not just write, damn it.
So this is why I feel the need to fill in everyone's history - like today, Sister S with her two daughters at home, who she named the second she met them, and her apartment in... Wait for it... Winchester. Fate. Destiny. Geography. C'mon, seriously. What are the odds?
Sister S believes in the power of blogging. She wishes me well in all that I do, and she knows what a therapeutic thrill writing gives me. That's important. 

Mr B, my neurosurgeon, is honest and straightforward. He looks us all in the eye, dead steady, as he tells us the facts - what he knows, and what he doesn't know. For instance, he knows it's a tumour. He knows it's a substantial size. He knows he won't be able to remove it all. He doesn't know what exactly it is - but he's going to find out. Without a biopsy; he's just going to dive into my head and have a jolly good look. While I'm going under and then instantly waking up again, in actuality it'll be around eight hours of tampering and fixing and rooting around. Removing the evil.

So yes, the t-word has been dropped. The cards are on the table, the first glove-slap issued. And I'm actually doing alright. The whiplash is fading fast, to be replaced by fierce determination and what not - whatever it is we brain patients develop and cling on to. 

Mr B left the room, briefly, to fetch some cups of tea for us all. Builders'; milk, no sugar. Sweet enough, and a sweet gesture. As he backed out of the room, my team (Team Latter, mighty mighty) and I huddled together and took one tiny moment - one of two, the second being just as I left the hospital and turned the corner when I was suddenly stupidly overcome - to just sob, just a little. Because it's so much. 

My brain looks like a cat's face on the computer screen. A scrunched up, displeased moggy who's been disturbed from his nap between naps. This muddled brain of mine is throwing up all kinds of mad metaphors. Today it's all things cat. 
We watched 'The Secret Life of Cats' last night, and in between the stunning photography encapsulating cats - just cats falling through the air, like physically falling and saving themselves on those mighty haunches of theirs - there were more stunning images of cats, and little facts here and there about hunting patterns and the importance of a good slow-blink to gain trust... So basically, my stupid brain is stuck on cats. That's okay. I am a crazy cat lady forever. *beats chest, throws up douchebag backwards peace-sign*

The 40+ Facebook messages have all been read and thoroughly exhausted me, and honestly I couldn't be more thankful to be this damn knackered. Right now, all I want is a stack of books and a shot of Jack D. I'm settling for a blanket and CSI. 
Tomorrow we have a Waterstones trip planned. A book-hunting extravaganza. The search for the perfect bedside companion. Then we'll have a coffee, go for a pub lunch, then I'll nap. That's enough planning for me. Books and coffee. 

Thursday afternoon, I go into the magical hospital. Those wonderful exceptional individuals who devote their lives to others, they'll be focusing on me and I couldn't be more grateful. Friday evening, I'll be on the ward with others like me, looking out into the gorgeous garden, reading my books - and visitors will be encouraged. Oh, yes. I want visitors! I'm allowing myself this one selfish concept - a friend at my side as much as possible. Just the thought of seeing friends, neighbours, family, my oldest and dearest and the most unexpected human wonders I've come to know shuffling up the ward just to steal a few minutes holding my hand - man, that sounds like perfection. 

It's stupid, but I can't help thinking: thank goodness this is happening to me. I wouldn't wish this on anyone. 

My sister's made me a CD entitled 'stars', featuring songs all with a similar subject matter. I am sensing a theme. The Fault in our Stars, arguably the best book to come into existence recently, is being given the movie treatment - and it appears onscreen Friday. Friday, while the surgeons are tinkering. Now, I'm not sure if it's just the US, or worldwide, or what have you... But go and see it, guys. Consider that an order from a gurney-bound girl with stars dancing around her head. 

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