Big day today.
Oh no. Not another blanket bath
Oh no. Not another blanket bath
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.