Friday, 29 January 2010

Welcome Home, BalancedPaul

Oh no. Not another blanket bath
Big day today.

Observant readers will have noticed BalancedPaul is a frequent witty commenter. He also hosted the '55-word fiction' contest here over Christmas. Paul is my little brother. 'Little' as in younger; he's about three inches taller than me and could give me a sound thrashing if the mood took him, but luckily he is a genial chap.

Last summer Paul unluckily copped leukemia, at about the same time his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. He has had what the Queen, bless her, would call an 'anus horribilis'1, which means 'arsehole of a year'.

Since then Paul has endured NHS pyjamas, peeing in a cardboard bottle, vomiting in a cardboard hat, frequent visits from obscure mates, NHS food, drips, London parking, hair loss, snow, NHS television, bedsores, tubes into his arm, tubes into his heart, Bargain Hunt, Countdown, crutches, teenage doctors examining his nethers, polystyrene cups, about a million pairs of rubber gloves, his bloody iPhone, me calling him on his bloody iPhone during nap time, you name it.

Oh, and four months of 'Not-dead-yet? Have-some-more-then' chemotherapy.

He's been in hospital for 103 nights on ond off since September. Not that he's counting or anything. Until around Christmas, his wife had much of the same. And they're not even allowed grapes. Or twiglets. So it's lucky all he can stomach is dry crackers, fruit gums, and Heinz Tomato Soup2.

Well guess what? All primed with brand new bone marrow from Heroic Little Sis, Paul is now out on parole, although he's not quite home, as his brand-new antiseptic en-suite bathroom is currently a lot of bricks, pipes, and dust. Cue big brother, who is putting him up in his swanky London flat. Niiiice.

So Paul and Mrs BP are well on the way, but not quite out of the woods yet. Infection is the risk, and neither will be at work much before next Autumn. They face testing, prodding, poking, assessing, questioning, needling, general harrassment and irritation for months yet. And that's just from their kids.

It hasn't all been bad. Paul refers to this time as the Big C Diet, although he is still heavier than me, hehehe. He has honed his crossword skills; the Times Cryptic takes no time at all3. And although we may diss the NHS, no-one's ever asked him for a penny. Even for the pyjamas.

What about this blog? It was kicked off mainly as a gift to him. Unsurprisingly, you may see Paul commenting a bit less over the next few weeks; he has some catching up to do. (Ooh-er missus). And I may post a bit less for a week or two; not least of all because I'm a bit out of ideas myself. Sigh. But Paul and I will be back, as we've got the bug. (Don't mention bugs.)

If you are the praying type, please send one the way of Paul and his family. They deserve it. And/or leave him a message here; he reads 'em.

Paul, here's to you. If I could face what you have faced with half your courage, determination, optimism, dignity, humour, and sheer grit, I'd be proud. You should be too.

Enjoy your homecoming, little bro.

1 - Actually she said 'annus horribilis' but she's a bit old-fashioned. We know what you meant, your maj.
2 - And it has to be Heinz. He's a fussy bugger.
3 - Beacuse he still can't do it.


  1. This was fantatic. I feel the love.

  2. I just can't believe that fate could be cruel enough to do this to one family at the same time. OR even at different times. And to nice people. But then I don't believe in fate, I just think things happen and they're often stupid and grossly unfair. I wish BP and Mrs. BP all the best sincerely and hope they're both disease free and healthy for the next fifty years at least so they can get back to living and all of you can just relax and be happy.

  3. Great post!
    Sendng good thoughts yours, his and her(s) way.
    But, please don't go (cue Violent Femmes circa 1980 something) because I really really like you.

  4. How great that he and his wife are recovering.

    What is a twiglet?

    PS I posted a 55 word poem today. :)

  5. I'll say a prayer for that unfortunate couple right now.


  6. I'm so glad they are recovering, but what shit luck made them both get sick at the same freakin' time?? Horrible.

  7. Thoughts are with you, Urber. Been there, done that, not such a happy outcome for me I'm afraid.
    But, I'm still thinking of you, and gave you a mention on my blog today too!
    Please don't take it the wrong way though! You know things said in jest have a habit of coming back and biting you on the bum!
    Yeah, hospitals stink!

  8. All the best to them and to you. Enjoy a break if you must, but please hurry back!

  9. WOW! That was a great post. It sounds like things are heading in the right direction. I will continue to send positive thoughts and some southern love to you guys.

  10. Oh blimey, that's just awful. Thank god they haven't had to spend any money. I've experienced the healthcare system over here, and it's cost me about $50,000 and counting (and that's *with* insurance).

    I'm so glad they're doing better. Fingers crossed it continues to improve.

  11. Paul, you got a great brother.
    Ub you are the best.

  12. Very best wishes to you and yours. Sounds like things are picking up, long may that continue.

    Good riddance to a shit year, hurrah for the new one.

  13. I will keep Paul, his wife, and your family in my thoughts and prayers, Uber. Your hearts are as big as your senses of humour. Keep faith and keep twiglets around for celebrations of the full recovery.
    virtual hugs,

  14. KiKi ~ Why thank you

    Vege ~ Pisser eh? I think fifty years would be just dandy

    JenJen ~ I'm not going anywhere. I need my thrice-weekly dose of JenJen

    VL ~ We need a twiglet contest, obviously. Good poem!

    Secretia ~ Thank you

    MiMi ~ Yeah. And they don't live near a nuclear reprocessing plant, or anything

    Vicus ~ ...maaaaaaan

    Alice ~ Well you got me all curious now. And thank you for the mention - I'll be along

  15. Lots of love Paul xxx

  16. Virtual love and hugs BP and D and all of your progeny :) Missing you lots. Glad you are home (sort of) Xxxx

  17. Paul glad to hear you and Mrs. are on the mend. Looking forward to reading your comments for many more years.

  18. Wow, what a double whammy for them. I am so pleased to hear that things came good in the end.

  19. All the best to both of them. But he should try the Telegraph crossword. More interesting by far.

  20. omgoodness that's a lot on one family. i'm sending positive vibes his way. take care and don't be a total stranger.

  21. Welcome home! prayers coming your way!

  22. Since I am the praying type, I shall be doing just that for you all. It's an amazing thing to face such awfulness surrounded by people that love you. Amazing .... all of you!

  23. Nice to hear that BP and wife have received and responded well to the care they needed. Your love for BP is both palpable and enviable. If I have any positive thoughts or prayers, they will surely be directed your way. Using caps may be the closest I come to a prayer. I offer this to you and BP....and this ♥ That is my new trick. Want to see it again? See? ♥

  24. Red ribbons and guitar time Bonne fete for the Whitfields

  25. Blissed-Out ~ Thanks!

    RefGeek ~ Cool! Can I have some grits?

    Phillipia ~ With a top fruit-headed nun on the case, we can't go wrong

    Richard ~ 50 gs? Ouch. Get well soon

    bob ~ Welcome back! Great to hear from you again

    lbtw ~ Hear hear

    Robyn ~ Yup. Twiglets to the fore

    RT and Mini ~ Good on yez

  26. So glad to hear you are out of hospital Paul, it's great news!

  27. I am in awe of their courage.
    And you wrote a beautiful tribute.

  28. I echo all of the above comments. I wish nothing but good luck to the pair of them. But also some for you as well mate. Reading through the lines it easy to see you both have the best of relationships.

    I don't pray, but I certainly send my love.

    Nice one UG.

  29. At least they're suffering together? Is that a benefit? But I sincerely wish them the best. Hopefully, the worst is over and they're on their way to brighter days!

    He's lucky to have such valiant siblings! :)

  30. I'm sending very positive thoughts to BP, Mrs BP and all your seem to be a fantastic, supportive bunch.

    I can empathise as the Big C has given my family some grief too over the past year, but we will not be defeated!

    Hope the future holds only good things for you all!

  31. BP & Mrs, - I know Mr & Mrs UG have been, shall we say, 'concerned' and they are happy to post this news. So glad to hear good and positive reports we all pray that you will continue to improve and please keep commenting on UG, from your unique intimate perspective!

  32. Walter! ~ Greetings , and thank you

    pixie ~ Wasn't it just though?

    Mme D ~ He does the Telegraph. We reckon it's easier. What do you think?

    Sarah ~ I'll try not to be any stranger than usual. No promises though

    AmyLK ~ Thank you!

    Marla ~ I knew I could rely on you

    Magda ~ How do you do that? Come on, 'fess up

    Anon ~ Absolument

    Thacks thanks. I mean thanks Thacks. Or do I? PS Can we stay at your house all summer?

    KAZ ~ Thank you for that. I'm all 'umbled

    Dan ~ Thanks mate.

    gwtfh ~ That's a good point. Maybe they've got all the crap out of the way at once. Who knows?

    Nat ~ You too eh? It's everywhere

    SOM ~ Thank you!

  33. Oh my goodness, that is just bloody awful. In fact, awful doesn't really do this situation justice does it? That just sucks. Nope. That doesn't do it justice either. I don't think there's a word that can.

    I'm sorry that you and your family have been through such a shitty time all at once. But i'm glad that BP and Mrs BP are slowly on the mend. Getting released from hospital hell is an undescribable joy and definate good signs in the right direction me thinks.

    All the best Mr and Mrs BP. Thoughts are winging their way to you right this minute. :) x

  34. Very nice and thoughtful.

    The hot nurse didn't hurt, either.

  35. Lou ~ Thanks! 'Sucks' is a good start

    Matt ~ Indeed. How's the launch?

    Moooooog ~ She is, isn't she? Apparently they all dress like that now. Even the men

  36. UBER, YOU'RE THE WINNER!! COME ON OVER AND FIND OUT WHAT YOU WON. (Well, don't get too excited. I didn't purchase a prize. Budget cuts and all).

    PS My love and healing strength and twiglets (if I could just locate the damn things)to you and yours.


  37. Robyn ~ I won! I'm overwhelmed. Twiglets to celebrate, I think

  38. wow dont look like a nurse oh its one of em things oh year its a sexy chick come on
    show us more baby