Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Celtic Betrayal

Okay I have to admit to considering myself a Celt. I know many cry its a spurious definition, but it's dear to me. I am particularly attracted to Celtic myths and legends. It irks to live in a Celtic country where children are taught more about Greek and Norse and Indian and African myths, before the wonders of Finn MacCall, the Lugh, Mannann etc.
Now I come to my point. I feel a small sense of betrayal for embarking on a tale about a Greek God. I wish there was a Celtic equivalent; there so often is, but I do not recall one. So Greek it must be.

As a sop to my conscience I have decided to give the female soldier a Celtic name. My short list is as follows. Betha=life(Scottish) Mab=Happy (Irish queen of the Faerie) Nia=champion (welsh) Oona=One (Irish) If you have any preference let me know.

300 days

Sounds like a long time to go, but I am trying not to think about it. Just taking each day at a time. Things have definately settled down. I am not nearly so nauseuas as in the begining. My digestion is behaving itself. And apart from the first two days after the interferon injection I have enough energy to have the semblance of a life. I seem to function in 45 minute bursts. How people go to work through treatment I cannot conceive.

I am going to France on Thursday. The break I hope will do me good. I am going with my mother and daughter. Naturally I am concerned about the strain of the travel. We are getting on Eurostar to Lille and then TGV down to Poitier. It's the noise that concerns me. At present too much noise and light can really affect me. Once at the house in France everything will be fine because the silence there is palpable. A few days looking at the river and the countryside can only do good.

Writing is slow. However, musing in my bed I have been able to clear some technical issues on both Mr. Reed and Prometheus.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

One Month Done

Into the fifth week. 1/12th done. (I can see why you became obsessed with numbers Chris.) I am waiting for my countdown to reach 300 days as the next marker.

The weekend turned out to be quite good for me. My energies were definitely better. Eating still problematic, though I try hard not to miss meals. I went on my Wii Fit today and it said I'd lost 2lb since I last used it two weeks ago. That said I feel things are stabilising. I've had fish and chips twice this week, so there is a distinct possibility my weight may go up! Now that would confuse the nurses.

Speaking of the nurse: I went into hospital to have blood taken for my first viral load test since starting treatment. Results will take a few weeks to come through. This will be the first indicator as to whether the process is working. Anecdotally - by that I mean, me talking to myself. I feel beneath the symptoms of the treatment itself, there is a change happening. In particular in my thinking. I am sure if I had the energy my brain would verging on normal. Anyway I will let you know the results.

Saw my Chinese Medicine Practitioner yesterday. It was tough telling her about going on treatment, as I know she does not really approve of it. However, she was very professional, accepted my decision and said she would do all she could to support me. So, I have new herbs to try. Hopefully these will mollify the nausea and digestive system problems. Certainly the medicine has been very helpful in the past.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Far from my afternoon bringing me peace and quiet I found last night I was in the grip of a flu like fever. Hot, shaky and headachey. I really felt like I was fighting off something. Apart from forcing down some nausea inducing weetabix I slept till 11am. Weak, fragile, relieved.

I look a little yellow as my billirubin is up. Nurse also tells me my platelets are down and I'm becoming anaemic. All things that are expected. L asked me to see the dietitian. Hoping she would put me on a liver cleanse/ no crap diet. But because I am losing weight the dietitian suggested I eat at least one pudding a day, crisps, chocolate, milky drinks and add milk powder to full fat milk! L is still reeling from the shock. Problem for me is that I don't really fancy any of it anyway.

Anyone ever read "Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever" books? I have begun listening to the audio book of the first one; 'Lord Fouls Bane'. Thomas is a leper. The books follow his struggles in a fantasy world, called the land; which clearly represents his own body in the real world. It is all about fighting for health, and against disease. I find it odd that of all the books in the world I could have chosen this to listen to now I chose this.

I am finding it good company.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tears in the Park

I have just come back from a walk in the local park. The sun was out, the trees were turning gold and red, people were relaxed and happy. It was good for me too. I feel more balanced.

This week something of a pattern is been established. On Monday morning, after the night's Interferon injection, I feel tired yet still capable of activity. In the afternoon I am worn out. Tuesday appears to be my worst day. I have no energy to do anything. Wednesday energies return enabling me to cope with some activity. Thursday I have more energy again.

Having said all this, the dominating factor all the time is an organic disinterest in doing anything. This is not laziness, or procrastination; both of which I am familiar. We live in a world where "doing" is valued above everything. Idleness is abhorred. For days I have had to lay here listening to my ego chastising me. Sure I know I'm on treatment and i can easily justify the situation, but something in me fears indulging the process.

On Tuesday, laying in bed, in half dreams feeling my life had been put on hold somehow, it occurred me that there were other ways to live a life than always running forward, always doing. What about just "being"? The benefit, and curse, of "doing" is that it helps you hide from yourself. This process puts you into a very intimate relationship with yourself. When you spend days doing nothing there is nowhere to hide.

This is the reason I have become tired of myself. The thought of writing about things after it being so viscerally experienced is unappealing. I am really no longer that interested in myself. There was a time when I was obsessed in knowing all about my "self". I spent thirty years in spiritual self examination trying to become something I was not. Now, I simply wish to be what I am. I'm no angel, I'm no devil, I'm just me and that will have to be good enough for the world because its good enough for me.

I did not expect this treatment to bring back this uncommfortable psychological landscape. But it appears that when the body has little energy at its disposal it will put what remains into being rather than doing every time. So I may not build any bridges over the next year, or invent a carbon-free form of transport but I will observe this wonderful world. Why that should be important? I have no idea, I only sense it is.

Today in the park I found myself in tears on a number of occasions as the poignancy of this world hit me. There was the smile of a young boy as he ran up to his dad. He was in love and in awe of his father. His father's response was so slight, just a half smile of pleasure, but behind it there was so much pride in his son. Such simple movements, such profound meanings. I was listening to my ipod and Johnny Cash came on. A track made near the end of his life. His voice was shot to hell; notes are missed and the voice breaks. Even so, it is sublime. Its the voice of a man who has lived a life and you can hear it in every shaky note. Put it together with a sunny autumn day and you have tears in the park.

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Question Of Detail

Sorry for the absence. I have found it very difficult to write anything. Apart from lethargy I have become completely disinterested in talking about myself. That make a blog like this tricky. I will expand on this later.

For now I add the following which has been in draft for sometime. Now, I see no point in polishing it and include it for completeness.

Over the past few days I have come to realise that if this blog is to perform its function I need to go into more depth. So far this has been little more than a catalogue of events. If the experience is going to truly inform the novel, or fellow Hep C suffers, it needs to scratch more than the surface. This intention, of course is easier said than done. For a start lethargy hangs like a noose around my neck. I feel thin somehow. Energy is at a premium. When I am well enough to compose my thoughts, the difficult experiences have passed into memory. That said, I am now aware of the importance of retaining in my memory what is happening to me as fully as possible. We will see what happens.

The last few days have been tough. Thursday began reasonably well. I went off to the supermarket, which is always a highlight of my week. A year ago I could barely walk. Now I have had my ankles fused I can get around without pain and it is a real pleasure.

At least it was before the treatment. Now I find my self walking around as if underwater. I appear to be slower than everyone else. I look at the quiches, unable to make up my mind which one to get or how many. Then there is the woman with a head full of cold, sneezing and coughing all over the vegetable. I can't afford to get your germs, I think. Yet she pops up in aisle after aisle like a heat seeking missile.

Then a voice shouts not far from my ear, 'Oh they've let you out then.' I turn to find its my next door neighbour. I manage to conjure up a joke, but inside I am feeling, you don't know how right you are. By the time I get to the checkout I am on borrowed time. As I wait for my turn I search for a seat. There are none. Why cant they have a small pull out seat? I curse internally. Knowing full well I am not the only person shopping who needs one.

After paying, I
shakily leave the shop and go home. Wiped out I go to bed.

It is then the Ribavirin tablets start to play havoc with my digestive system. I don't think its appropriate to go into details, suffice to say, I am developing a close relationship with the WC. Since then I have hardly got out of bed. I can't be bothered to do anything. Its a dangerous scenario. Thankfully the family have been very caring and supportive. They appreciate the strain but don't allow me to dwell on things.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Prometheus never had to deal with BT

Returned from the hospital on Wednesday feeling relaxed after my massage. So why did I decide to tackle the domestic admin that has accumulated?

We changed phone providers in May, but British Telecom are still sending me bills. After spending 3/4s of a hour on the phone I was eventually being dismissed by a curt employee stating they had no record of a transfer. I read out the letter I had received from them stating when the transfer was meant to take place. 'We have no record of it on the system,' came the reply. 'You will have to request again.' By this time I was not relaxed anymore. I was storming about the house grumbling. And then it struck me. The image of Prometheus having to deal with BT. The absurdity of it broke through my anger. I roared with laughter.
I am now left with the conundrum of how to bring such a petty issue into my Prometheus tale. Do they have telephones in heaven? Perhaps the woman gives him a mobile so they can stay in touch and he starts getting bills?

On a more serious note I was watching a tv programme about the Amazon. They visited the Matis tribe who have been devastated by Hepatitis. It was very moving to see these simple people bought down to low. They said it was Hep B. If so, why cant they be vaccinated? I've commented on Bruce Parry's blog to find out more.