I don't know if it's the influence of the impending Holidays, but my chemo session today (number three) was more like attending a giggly girls' night out than anything else I can think of.
At one point hysterical laughter starting emanating from an adjacent room. Three or four different voices. For several minutes. It was obvious that a joke-telling session was in full swing.
"Hmph," grinned my oncology nurse rhetorically. "You'd never guess she's having her bone marrow done, would you..."
And me? I sat chatting with my chemo-team-mate Margaret while epirubicin was pumped into our Hickman/PICC lines and we, along with the nurses, set the world to rights with Margaret's beautiful Golden Retriever Guide Dog, Bradley, asleep at our feet. In fact ON our feet.
When I got home my son was shocked. "Mum, why are you covered in dog hair? I thought you'd been to the hospital."
"I have. I gave Bradley a cuddle, though."
"Bradley? Cuddle? You're weird." And he slunk off, expressing befuddled disapproval as only teenagers know how to do without needing to say a further word.
Comfortable chairs, friendly girly chat, a cuddly dog to make a fuss of ... if we'd had a glass of wine to drink it would have been the perfect afternoon. Maybe next time I'll take a bottle...
And in honor of the superbly trained and behaved Bradley, here are a few sobering words of wisdom for any of you who are contemplating getting a puppy (excerpted from "Canine Capers," one of my jokes books, available from Amazon or my website, commercial over!)
~~~~~~~~~~How to prepare yourself for your first puppy
Buy a pair of really expensive shoes (Gucci or Jimmy Choo are ideal). Bring them home, remove from box and place on chopping board. Beat several times with meat tenderising hammer, then clip around edges with pinking shears. Laugh and throw them away.
Take your best white shirt or blouse from the wardrobe. Put it on, go out into garden on a rainy evening and splash liberally with mud. Observe the “dry clean only” label and smile.
Put your new duvet cover and bed linen on your bed. Buy a juicy beef shin bone from the local butcher’s and bury as deep as you can in the duvet. Scramble around the whole bed and see if you can make all the bedclothes and pillows into a huge pile on top of the bone.
Take a cheese grater from the kitchen. Apply it powerfully several times, rubbing it up and down, to the flounces on your brand new sofa in the living room. Admire the shreds as they fall to the floor.
If you haven’t done this already, buy a computer and get it hooked up to the internet. Ensure that you have bookmarked a reliable news service as one of your “favourites.” Resolve to be comfortable with the fact that from now on newspapers are for weeing on or for chewing up.
Rip up all carpets and wood or parquet flooring from your home and replace with good, old-fashioned, “easy wash” linoleum.
Hire an electrician to remove all electrical wall sockets from skirting board level and replace them at (human) shoulder height. Then remove all objects, including table lamps, from tables and other surfaces and suspend them from the ceilings.
Remove all food storage elements and, similarly, suspend them from the ceiling, including vegetable racks, canned food stores, fridges and freezers, waste bins and waste disposal units. This is especially important if you are getting a Labrador puppy.
Talk your husband and children into abandoning socks and slippers as conventional footwear. Persuade them to wear Dutch wooden clogs barefoot instead, although these will require replacement at frequent intervals.
Put your cat or cats into immediate psycho-analysis (especially Oriental breeds, e.g. Siamese and Burmese). Show them pictures and videos of delightful, gambolling puppies and movies like “101 Dalmatians.” Practice making effective puppy noises like high-pitched woofs and growls. Cover a wooden spoon with fake fur and smack them with it over their noses several times a day. Prepare a sanctuary for them on top of a high cupboard or tall wardrobe, or suspend something strong and inviting from the ceiling (see above, literally).
Finally, abandon all hopes of a tidy home for a period 12 – 84 months, tending towards the higher figure in the case of such breeds as Labradors, Boxers, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Dalmatians and especially English and Irish Setters.