Observatory

Nurse! The Screens!

This column is going to be like the comments section; all over the place. But it probably reflects my fractured mindset at the moment. Morphine, I thought, having instant thoughts of Sax Rohmer and Anna May Wong, does it have a place in the modern medicine cabinet? I checked the bottle. A liquid with a […]

Ouch!

I used to be quite good friends with Clive Barker. The next time I see him, remind me to kick his teeth down his throat. Clive knew quite a bit about pain. He wrote about it in the most visceral, extraordinary way, as if no-one had ever written about it before, as a living thing, […]

The Lockdown Diaries: It’s The Final Lockdown

Wellness is a right, not a privilege. This is the last post covering my fairly unusual journey of the last ten weeks. I’ve reached the so-called 3 day pain peak of my cancer in a time of pandemic (uncomfortable and exhausting but not without moments of hilarity). After the weekend I’ll emerge having learned a few […]

The Lockdown Diaries 15: Baked Beans At Dawn

So there was that. Yuk. Do me a favour, don’t get any kind of cancer, especially this one, it’s really horrible. I’m here, though, now managing the healing process. I just had my first FEB (Full English Breakfast) in three months (right, minus sausage).  I’ve broken the law every day since Lockdown began on March […]

The Lockdown Diaries 14: The Rock & The Hard Place

When you go to hospital you fantasise that it will look like this. A cross between ‘2001’ and ‘Gattacca’. This was the view in my hospital at 9:00am today. A cross between an Alan Bennett play and Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’. It has no external windows (because of radiation). The suites have the unlikely names […]

The Lockdown Diaries 13: Priti Patel Wants Me To Die

Two days ago text messages suddenly poured in from privately-partnered medical companies who are ambulance-chasing unnecessary services. I started to get an inkling of just how far the government was selling the NHS down the river before the virus kicked in. These have been followed by a sudden flurry of government letters warning me about […]

The Lockdown Diaries 12: The Absence Of An Umbrella

Doctors and nurses have no time to mess about; you listen carefully, you obey and if complications ensue it’s probably because you haven’t followed their instructions properly. I found myself in this situation after discovering I had been given 10 ampoules of salt water and some rubber grommets I didn’t know what to do with. […]

Typical, Nothing But Repeats

Today I’m in and out of hospital so I wasn’t going to post, but nosing through the staggeringly long sidebar of past entries I’ve collected on this site I thought it would be fun to post a paragraph from the first few that I opened in a kind of bran tub of snippets. If you […]

The Lockdown Diaries 11: Chemo-Lad VS Fear

As the ultimate nerdy child who could end up in A&E after tripping off a kerb with a book in one hand, I sensed I would enjoy a lifetime peppered with doctors’ visits. The annual vaccines were a staple, of course; polio, dypyheria and others that left giant permanent scorch patterns on the upper arm. […]

The Lockdown Diaries 10: The Most Intriguing Paradoxes

The UK government’s hilarious mail-out warning the nation’s at-risk population to shield – ie. lock themselves in an oubliette and throw away the key, is doubtless falling on deaf ears. It’s the latest ‘most intriguing paradox’ worthy of WS Gilbert; you’re at risk if you have an underlying condition. If the condition requires you to […]