Well I need a cup of tea and a sit down as I’m all a flutter. Listening to the England Aussie cricket and already the Aussies are 19 for 4, which is in cricketing terms absolutely outrageous.
And this just after I’d been on the blower to Teachers Pensions. I received a letter today saying that my application for ill-health retirement has been accepted and that I’ve been assessed as permanently unable to continue in teaching and unable to undertake any other form of paid employment, which was a little alarming. I retrieved the photocopies of my application thinking I’d ticked (Aussies just lost another wicket! 21 for 5, it’s going to be the shortest test match ever) the wrong box and being a photocopy I couldn’t clearly see the boxes and thought I had ticked the wrong box. All my raging at bureaucratic bollocks and I’d made an elementary mistake, immediately started feeling defensive and starting formulating chemobrain excuses.
That 5th Aussie wicket is the earliest 5th wicket to fall in any test match ever.
Anyway I called Teachers Pensions and was informed I’d ticked the correct box, what was going on? I re-read the letter and then went online and began filling in another form, (the 6th wicket has just fallen! and Stuart Broad has taken 5 wickets in 19 balls!) ‘Ill-Health Payment’ but wasn’t sure I was doing it correctly. As David Graeber wrote he started to feel stupid filling in forms, I now experienced the same.
So I called TP again and went through the form with a helpful woman. I also asked about their assessment and how I’d applied for the ‘I’m not going to die soon, hopefully’ retirement. She assuredly reassured me that this was their medical team’s informed decision based on the information they’d been given. But what if I feel I can work again in some capacity in the future I asked? Well just let us know and it will be sorted she replied. It’s a funny old world.
I awoke early again this morning and unable to get back to sleep, Kate off early to work and I listened to the radio, drifting in and out. Then on (33 for 7, unbelievable!) came Joan Bakewell and a programme about the ethical dilemma of a 15 year old boy with a brain tumour refusing to have treatment. He’d already had some heavy duty radiotherapy and had found wearing the ‘mask’ incredibly hard, and this was a few years ago and the ‘mask’ would have been far cruder than the one I had. He was very claustrophobic (something I have deep empathy with) and treatment was suspended for a week or so as he was helped to cope. Finally treatment was completed and worked, the tumour had gone. Unfortunately a few months later the cancer returned and he refused treatment (this time chemo). Everyone; mother, family, medics, psychologist, friends all tried to persuade him. He never swayed and insisted he’d physically resist any attempts, he was over 6 foot tall and strong. Legal approaches were considered but even if there were legal injunctions they’d have been useless as he would never comply. Desperately hard though it was his mother finally listened properly to him and for the first time someone understood what he was saying, she accepted his decision, brought his 16th birthday party forward and she and others did all they could for him for his last few weeks.
I totally understand what he felt in terms of once you have cancer that even after successful treatment you are left with the feeling, the worry, the fear, of when is it going to return? The boy made the decision that he wanted to live what remained of his life on his terms, to not go through the horrendous effects of treatment (the 8th wicket’s just gone). They had a young man on the panel who had been through 2 doses of cancer, the second during adolescence, and he said that the most useful thing was talking with peers in the same situation. I certainly concur with that.
And now it’s 9 wickets, absolutely incredible.
And then Naomi called me about meeting up and we spoke about her husband Nick’s dad who sadly is about to die from cancer. Suddenly it’s really hard to type, I really slowed down as I wrote that last sentence, the horrible finality of death. Last week was Laurice’s dad’s funeral (can you have two consecutive apostrophied words?) and for him, incredibly hard though it is, it was for the best that he died quickly as he was in so much pain. He wanted it to stop. I spoke with Naomi about how even though it’s really hard, that somehow the very painful pain perversely becomes some sort of blessing in that it allows people to ‘think the unthinkable’ and that death needs to happen. In no way is this callous, it’s humane. We’re crap with death and invest too much in the magic of medicine that it distorts our thinking. My thoughts and love go out to Nick’s dad and his family, to Laurice and her family and to the oh so brave mother of the boy who chose to die.
Phew, what a morning.
And then on linkedin yesterday I see that my old mate Gary Tubman has MBE after his name!
And I won the prize draw after evaluating the Living Well do at Bournemouth University from the other week, it’s a ‘session’ pass at Moors Valley Park, which is nice.
Aussies all out for 60!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Off to Porto on Saturday and I’m not taking my laptop so will not be blogging for a couple of weeks.
So I’ll sign off with a Kliban:
Keep on keeping on, love Duncan
PS: whilst egregious is now used to mean outstandingly bad, in olden times it meant remarkably good. So outstandingly bad Aussie batting but remarkably good English bowling.