Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Apology for Absense

Apology for Absense, by Julia Darling

Look, it's as if my heart is a damp cupboard
filled with old brass that needs polishing.

Or I must cover myself with moss, damp down,
try to establish new growth in the rotting.

Sometimes I am ripped for shreds by the North wind
and must curl up beneath a counterpane.

I need to practise dying, to imagine health,
to eat tinned pears, light unecessary fires.

And love can be tyrannical, so sweet, yet edgy.
I am overpowered by its fragrent red roses.

Sitting rooms are too vivid. Things get torn.
I have to disappear, to darn each rip.

Forgive me, brave daughters, for the questions
that I have failed to answer. And my love,

please don't say I malingered,don't be
angry later, when you add up the ticks.

This is from a wonderful collection of poems written by Julie Darling during a period when she was dying from cancer. I cannot recommend these poems enough, though some of my liking for these is due to my familiarity with the places and the streets depicted within.

I have a heart murmur and have to have more tests. The advice is all:

So I guess that's what I'll do, until they tell me other.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I am somewhat subdued at the moment. Specifically, I have to contend with my mortality in a serious way for probably the first time in my life. Oh, we all know it'll come, and we all hope for an honourable send off with flowers, wicker coffin and a stupendous wake.

I passed out twice last week. Passed out is probably the incorrect description - I retained consciousness but couldn't respond to my body's strange mind bending propensities. Fell on my knees, the first time, in a crowed shop and felt like a complete tit. Felt OK afterwards so didn't really think about it. Second time the world distorted and buckled, and when I regained control it had taken on nightmarish qualities - everything was rolling, curved - like a world you'd find at the top of the Magic Faraway Tree. Topsey Turvey World. I stayed there for 24 hours, which made for an interesting return home on public transport.

I'll be honest - I haven't been treating this rather fragile body of mine well recently. I've been drinking too much, under a great deal of stress and devouring cake. A day hasn't been complete without cake. And I've had a chest infection and antibiotics. And my acquaintance with vegetables remains remote. I guess I forget I'm 37 and technically middle aged (SHRIEKS HOLLOWLY IN OWN SKULL!).

Then you realise the doctor thinks you may have a heart problem and everything inside of you ends up in your mouth, soaking it with fear. I should never have googled 'blood test crp', honestly, I should have just sat in blissful ignorance until the results come back next week. But I'm curious...

So, four vials of blood later, I have to wait a week for the results (I should add in the interest of balance that I'm also being tested for diabetes, thyroid problems and calcium deficiencies), I'm thinking 'Hmmmmm...'. I haven't had cake for five days (a big deal in my world!), or alcohol (even bigger, sadly). Apples are my only fruit. I have strict orders to go direct to hospital if it happens again (Do not pass go, do not collect £200...).

Probably a storm in a teacup. But I'm scared, sad though it is, because I know exactly what heart disease does to people. Have done since I was thirteen and my step-dad had a massive coronary event that has blighted his life ever since. So I'm drinking lots of herbal tea and reading obsessively to switch my brain off.

Oh, and don't google 'blackout cause' either. That one really freaked me! The Internet is a two edged sword and sometimes it cuts deep.

GD: morose, a fan of True Blood, thinking she better get a step on finishing the magnum opus before she karks it! And listening to the Cure and Kasabian. And a little bit of Billy Joel - we all need cheery cheese!