Saga Blog

i walk into the room, with the tightest knot in my gut, wondering what life could be like from this day forward if the news is not good. the man sat before me rises to shake my hand from behind his desk, a huge slab of dark oak, i can see the deep grain of the wood my head is so wired with tension, i’m scanning everything, the foto of his wife and children on the wall, the trench coat in the corner with a scarf’s tassles peeping from it’s pocket, the scar on a knuckle of his right hand, the way his black pomaded hair separates perfectly to one side. he`s handsome, latin? maybe 44, wearing grey slacks and a dark blue blazer, pinstriped shirt and old boy tie, looks like a retired argentinian rugby player.

‘hello there young man’
‘hello, good morning’
‘oh’. he sighs. ‘well, 9am and already i’m having a terrible day!’ says with a forced laugh.

wait a minute, this should be the other way round. i’m the one that needs listening to here. but i’m curious.

‘what happened?’
‘well, i’ve been treating a couple’s baby at their home. the baby was premature, 8 weeks. she was doing ok, so they took her home, but this morning, what… 30 minutes ago, when i went to check on her… i’d sent the parents out of the room, and as i was looking at her she died.’

silence. long. oh no. please not before i...

‘oh... that’s terrible.’
‘hmm. well, that’s the nature of the job. doesn’t get any easier though.’ fixes his face and a little light returns to his eyes. ‘so! what can i do for you young man?’

drop my jaw to speak but nothing comes out but air, stinking of my breakfast, am thinking why the fuck couldn’t i just have a sore neck? or a cold? a slipped disc?
i know what i am about to say has to be said and i know that what i am about to say will have an unpleasant consequence for this poor man before me. not to mention me.

‘i uh, i uh… i…have… um, beeeeen…’. the doc’s there, hands before him on the desk, sat slightly forward in anticipation of the description of my ailment, his eyebrows have risen and his mouth is open, slight smile, he’s willing me on. ‘ah, i’ve found some… blood in my …ah… faeces.’

three, four… seconds he sits there with the same look on his face, and then i see him visibly deflate before me in an instant, the mouth drops and he sighs, his head nods forward. that’s right doc, you’ve just had a small child die in your arms, had to break the news to the no doubt devastated parents, maybe you banged your hands on your steering wheel when you returned to your car, perhaps you got stuck at every traffic light on the way to the clinic, maybe your morning coffee went cold as you washed your hands and took off your coat and you had to make another, whatever, and now… yes now, right now, you’ll have to put on a clear rubber glove, smear it in vaseline, and stick it up my arse. mano a mano, i believe is the phrase.

let me tell you, the pattern of that wallpaper, inches from my eye as i laid there on the white throw-away sheet, that barely minimized the clawing coldness of the vinyl-covered bench below me, on my side with knees to my chest like a giant hairy and terrified foetus, has forever been burned into my memory.

anyway... after more checkups, 4 weeks of waiting and a lot bigger and longer things than just a finger inserted into my darkness, i was diagnosed as having a polyp and a cracking case of piles (i don`t do things by halves me). odd to think that this would bring relief, but that’s what it did, and it was massive.

Carmen’s post propelled me to write this. thank the stars it wasn’t cancer. i wish you all the luck in the world, Carmen, it was good to see you were fine today – you too Chris. i know what that stomach-wrenching fear is like, as you await diagnosis. i waited something like six weeks before i went to see the doctor, hoping things would clear up, not eager to have to go through what in the end i did. i was stupid, but i was lucky.