11 October 2010

Posted by DMC on 11 October 2010 in Diary |

Yesterday, son Smiler was due to come at lunch before our respective departures, overseas, next weekend. The 10th. day of the 10th. month of the 10th. year, to some people holds  some mystical or magical properties and is meant to be a lucky day. Not so for poor Miles who found the roads out from London shut-off in a number of directions. There is no obvious reason for this — a terrorist alarm or a film set -it just was not possible to find a reasonable way here so he missed lunch. To the Chinese number 8 is thought to be extremely lucky. I remember a Chinese millionaire paying millions of RMB for a number plate with a single number 8 on it. Also on 8 August in 2008, tens of thousands of Chinese couples chose that day to get married in mass weddings.  as indeed they did again yesterday. It’s a great idea and certainly cuts down on me cost of staging such an event.

Today was pretty hectic. Firstly we had our OT, Sarah Moss, pay, which will sadly be her last visit before she moves on to her next job. She is determined to resolve the problem with the hoist before she finishes with us. She brought, with her, a very nice young man. Ben, who at least came up with, what he hopes will be, a workable idea for the bathroom hoist. We all agreed that the best solution would be for Sarah, to try to get us a small standing hoist, which Alice will be able to use on her own. That we can use in the bathroom and a second one for transferring me in and out of the wheelchair. It may only be a temporary measure but it’s certainly worth it for a few months.

Hot on the heels of Sarah and Ben came out two young district nurses to check that my ear, for which I have taken antibiotics and eardrops, was free from infection. So important if one is flying.

Then, at four in the afternoon, yet another call from Philadelphia to check on the sound quality of my voice and, no doubt, to make sure I had not dropped dead over the weekend. ‘ My lovely’ had come up with a brilliant idea to hold the telephone hand set by strapping it to a small stand. This should have improved the voice quality over the hands-free telephone microphone. In the event we reverted to the normal hands-free which, frankly,  was more relaxing from me. Having satisfied themselves that all was well I was told to stand by around   5.30.

The producer came on about 5.20 and suggested that I might like to listen to the programme before I was called on myself. I got in on the tail end of the professor from Stanford talking about death so I determined to make it quite clear, when I was called on, to talk about living. The people who preceded me on this program were a lady called Jenny Bicks and a renowned psychiatrist, Dr Irv Yalom, professor at Stanford University who wrote about coping with death anxiety in  Staring at the Sun. Jenny Bicks is the executive producer of a comedy drama on US television, entitled The Big C  that uses the story of a woman’s battle with cancer to point out that in the face of death we might find a greater appreciation of life enjoying it to its fullest.

Certainly there’s no time like the time when one is diagnosed with a terminal illness to sort out life with its limited future as its challenges. At least, this is what the programme was all about but I have to admit that even in the face of my diagnosis it did not change my approach to life one jot. The programme  was called Life in the Face of Death, which I only discovered after the programme and after  I had stipulated that I was not prepared to talk about death only about living.

If anyone listens to this broadcast you will see that I actually moved the subject away from its core theme not really intentionally but without full knowledge of the intent of the programme. I was a little concerned that the interviewer Dr Dan Gottlieb might have felt a little chagrined at this change of events.. Not so apparently, according to the producer,, ‘Dan had a very wide smile on his face during your talk with him. He was spellbound by your enthusiasm and zest and cigar stories and was very happy to change the subject,’ so that’s all right then. I couldn’t have been too bad as the producer wrote in thanks afterwards saying that I was a breath of fresh air on the programme, That really wasn’t very difficult on such a morbid subject,

Maybe I will have a little more to say on the subject after I’ve had a chance to listen to the programme myself.

Any reader who would like to listen to this show can do so by clicking on the following hyperlink Voices in the Family


  • Joan Kirkby says:

    Mark, I heard the radio show – you are wonderful – a lesson to all of us. Safe journey. I look forward to hearing about your trip.

  • DMC says:

    Thanks Joan. At least I have one fan. I don’t know what they number of the listening public is to that particular radio show and I would have expected at least a few comments. To date only one. Maybe this was because I moved away from the main subject.

    Many thanks to your good wishes. The good Dr arrives today and wear off tomorrow. Still struggling to work out quite how to cope with the loo for the to 8 1/2 hour journeys by aircraft.



  • Netty says:

    Hi Sir, I have come in half way through a blog/diary so not fully upto speed about your current health. My brother, MND, last year travelled to Australia using a ‘Convene’ which he decanted, under his sweat shirt has fallen on the floor act, into a number of Lucozade bottle, the urine colour then is not obvious. x

    • DMC says:

      My computer is telling me that I had not replied to this comment but I distinctly remember doing so. If you did not receive my reply please let me know.

      The idea is that the comment and the reply goes on the blog.

      Best wishes

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