Beware The Blood Count

I’m different. I have a different constitution, I have a different brain, I have a different heart. I got tiger blood, man. Dying’s for fools, dying’s for amateurs. Charlie Sheen. If only I was more like Charlie. How much do you know about blood? Unless you happen to be in the medical racket, probably not […]

The C Word #4

For better or for worse

It’s 1am, and I’ve been lying in the dark composing this in my head. I want to write it down now while it’s still fresh. It could be gone in the morning. You are sleeping quietly beside me, and the dog is having one of those strange animated dreams at my feet. Today was our […]

Testing. One-Two. One-Two.

I hesitate to use the term “Bucket List”, but shall we just say that on Sunday I got to tick off one of my lifelong ambitions. I got to play in a band. I’ve talked elsewhere here about what a huge part music has always played in my life. Since the early seventies, I have […]

Hitting the nail upon the top

This was among the comments that I was moderating this morning. I cant work out whether it is genuine, or just randomly generated spam, of which I do get quite a lot. It appears to come from a legitimate .org website about blood-pressure so I fondly choose to believe it’s for real. It’s just so […]

A little more off the top perhaps sir?

Wake up you sleepy head Put on some clothes, shake up your bed Put another log on the fire for me I’ve made some breakfast and coffee Look out my window and what do I see A crack in the sky and a hand reaching down to me All the nightmares came today And it […]

The C Word #3

The unseen hand

“Fear is a tyrant and a despot, more terrible than the rack, more potent than the snake.” Edgar Wallace The Clue of the Twisted Candle (1916)   Let’s talk about fear. Cold, black, 3am in the morning, skull-crushing, bowel-shaking fear. I have had a long and intimate relationship with it. It’s the emotion that has […]

Take 21 of these and call me in the morning

It’s OK. I’m still here. If you’re picturing me, hunched, pale  and shaking, gripping the cold bathroom porcelain with thin, white clammy fingers. Then I’m sorry to have to disappoint you, but nothing could be further from the truth. If I’ve been a bit quiet for the past few days, it’s not because I’m loitering […]

The C Word: #2

“Can you fill this jug for me please Linds?” “What from over here? You must be joking!”

7:15am I’m told the first lot of chemo side-effects to kick in are usually nausea, appetite loss, and loss of taste, so I’ve given considerable thought to what my last ‘normal‘ meal should be. My low-fun diet over the past three months has necessarily excluded many of my favorite treats, cheese, coffee, anything fried, anything […]

The light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train

Well here we are. The night before the morning after. My chemo kicks off in about 12 hours time. After a couple of false starts, and a lot of sitting around waiting, I’m finally about to embark on my treatment. I’d be lying, and barely human if I didn’t confess to feeling a little apprehension, […]

End of Term Revision

It’s school holidays here in New Zealand. So this seems like a suitable juncture to pause and review what we have studied so far this semester. We’ve covered a lot of ground, and considered some pretty weighty issues. Here then, is a brief recap of the lessons learned so far. Pay attention. I will be […]

Cancer. It’s just nature’s way of telling you to slow down.

Radiation Boy Rides Again

Last Wednesday was my final visit to the mighty MV-4. After five sessions I’m done with radiation therapy – at least for the time being. I can confirm that I don’t glow in the dark, it was the first thing I checked. In fact, considering I’ve just had my most intimate molecules forcibly rearranged by […]


In the basement of Auckland Hospital’s Regional Cancer & Blood Services building are six identical rooms. The rooms are large, perhaps seven meters on a side, with shiny linoleum floors, white walls and white suspended ceilings. The rooms are labelled MV-1 through MV-6 for the six identical machines that they house. Each has its own […]

My Shit’s Fucked Up

Well, I went to the doctor I said, “I’m feeling kind of rough” He said, “I’ll break it to you, son Your shit’s fucked up.” I said, “my shit’s fucked up?” Well, I don’t see how–” He said, “The shit that used to work– It won’t work now.” I had a dream Ah, shucks, oh, […]

X Marks the Spot

Barium is a metal. A dense, insoluble, silvery metal. I looked it up on Wikipeadia. This exotic element, number 56 on the periodic table for the geeks among you, has surprisingly few useful applications. One is in the manufacture of fireworks – it burns a vivid green colour – the other is medical. Barium Sulphate, […]

Food of the dogs

OK. I know it’s not big or clever to take pot-shots at an easy target – and this is frankly like shooting fish in a barrel – but we really DO need to talk about hospital food. I mean come on really… I know bad hospital food is a tired old culinary cliche, granted – […]

Ward 64-9B Redding LP/ Med-Onc

It was a long and mostly sleepless night. Oncology Ward 64, Room 9 has four beds. I’m bed B. For reasons not explained to me yet, I share the room with three ladies, all of whom are considerably sicker than I am. Or at least their cancers are more advanced than mine, which amounts to […]

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