As a Jewish girl my first word was supposed to be taxi … and dutifully I hailed a big black taxi the other day, as I’ve been doing for 40 years since I came to London, only to find out to my horror that I couldn’t get in it. I raised one leg, I couldn’t get the other to come up. I wondered if taxi was going to be my first, and last, word. Fortunately I had a woman taxi driver, and a carer with me, and the driver jumped out of the taxi, and together they helped me get in, and out again at the doctor’s office. Going back was not so easy, because the cabdriver was a man not about to get out and help, despite a generous tip. I had to sit on the floor of the taxi, and eventually in some embarrassing way made myself crawl out of it with the help of my carer.
I went upstairs and managed to put the incident behind me, then two hours later I had a meeting with my friend Ian and looked out the front door to meet him. I saw my mail sitting there, and it seemed easy enough to bend down and pick it up, something I could have done without a thought yesterday. But once down I couldn’t get up again without his help. I still thought this was just me having a wobble. The next morning Martin came with breakfast and I fell on the floor next my bed, and I realized how often he had helped me, without me thinking about it. My legs were getting very weak. So now the problem is, do I try to get up, get off the sofa, or do I stay in bed all the time? It is another step along the cancer road, falling down and down.
The next day I had a huge oxygen machine delivered, which sits beside my bed. It never runs out because it recycles the oxygen from the air. I’ve been told my lungs are going to go before anything else, and I definitely feel more breathless, another degree sicker, less well.
The attitude of my doctors has changed considerably too they come to visit me for my scheduled appointments, so it is all home care, just to make me feel better. Age Concern are sending a Med Alert (push the button, care will come) this afternoon, that’ll make me feel really old, and infirm, but safer. As one day follows another, instead of getting better as you expect from a disease, I’m getting worse – that’s just a fact of life.
[Some days later...] I’m getting all kind of aids, but I’m making a mess out of them. The Med Alert is tricky to use, and has disappeared; the wheelchair came, but I’ve not been outside in it – I just stay in bed. Every day I hope to use it, my friends offer to take me out, but they’re afraid, really, in case something happens, so they disappear. It’s just as well, because I won’t go out anyway. The one thing that does work is the baby alarm, so I can call my carer (nursing help 24 hours now) so she can help me go to the loo in the middle of the night, just another humiliating experience.
I’m sorry this is all a bit gruesome, but I just felt I had to be straightforward. If I can think of anything funny to say before I post, I will.