Back in London! I wish I could say that this has been a joyous time, full of the excitement of moving back into our recently renovated house, but in truth the last 10 days have been a nightmare, albeit with one or two highs interspersed with what I call the nadir of the pits.
If one more kind and well-meaning friend says ‘Oh builders always run late, and it will be wonderful in the end,’ I think I will scream! What makes me so mad is that I walked round the house two days before moving back with architect and builder, both taking our money on a regular basis, who both assured me it would be ready. Suffice to say on moving-in day the place was awash with builders and every room stuffed with their clutter: walls were being painted, floors laid, woodwork sanded, electrics hanging from walls, whole bathrooms incomplete. And the movers were 30 minutes behind me. AARGH!
Ten days later we are inching slowly forward but not there yet – and as for the flat, our pension, well, that has some way to go. Sigh.
On the day they tell me the hugely expensive silestone quartz work top has been incorrectly cut (cue scream and swearing) I have back-to-back appointments with my two docs. First off, the sarcoma surgeon Prof no 1 who, having perused the chest x-ray and calf MRI, pronounces me 100%. As for my numb ankle, calf and claw foot, he says, ‘What do you expect? You had all your major calf muscles out and you carry on as normal. Its Anno Domini, my dear [he is old school!]. Your new muscles have to compensate for the loss of the old and are working overtime, hence the clawing. You really do too much.’ To which I of course replied ‘Carpe Diem!’ his words still echoing: ‘Three years a small party, five years a large party’. I’m only two-and-a-half years in remission, so you see there are inherent survival risks and we must pack it all in.
So here I am living amidst dust and noise, hiding with my faithful Pickle in the bedroom (she recognised the place immediately on return and was outside and using her new electronic cat flap within 2 days, despite all advice to keep her in for three weeks. When the builders arrive, she heads straight for my cupboard, or slides under the duvet in the guest room and hides until they have gone. Clever cat!
Then hot-tail to Prof no 2 too discuss excruciating back pain. This is all related to the op and to deteriorating hips x 2, luckily not bad enough to warrant replacement yet. So we are seeking ways to manage the pain – new drugs, physio etc. Neither she nor I is happy with my surviving on daily tramadol…Slightly worrying is the discovery of two shadows on a couple of vertebrae in the spine. Because of my history the radiologist is is insisting on more MRIs; there is a slight, very slight we think, chance that is could be metastases. So while they covering their asses I am covering my back. Better safe and all that.
As I said, we did have some high spots – a trip to Garsington with son Tommy and girlfriend Olivia; a day at Lords with friend Fi and some encounters with old university friends; lunch in Oxford at our friend’s gastro pub, The White Hart and Whytham, heartily recommended for delicious food and traditional setting; and a couple of girls’ evenings with old friends.
Life ain’t all bad; there is light at the end of the tunnel despite hitting rock bottom in the past week. Amazing that builders can be more stressful than issues of life or death!