Counting down

The last few days have been tougher. I’ve been congested, which has the effect of amplifying the pain. At times, it’s been quite a lot. As a result, I’ve spent more time in bed and upped the dosage of painkillers. It’s been better the last 24 hours, basically because I pop a pill every couple of hours. Not long to go, so it’s a fair risk.

I’m ready to go. I feel some natural trepidation, but I’m over the pain, and until I have surgery, I’m never going to get better.

I reckon about 70% of the time, I feel like this: do what needs to be done. About 20% it gets to me a little – a little spooked, maybe. The remaining 10% I’m over it. I don’t know how I’ll feel nearer the time, but I suspect I’ll remain focussed. I feel as if I’m in that cool zone before the battle begins. Shit may go down, it won’t be easy, but I’m ready for it.

I find myself focussing more on the months ahead, after surgery, after the radiotherapy and all the associated treatment, to the time when I have the worst behind me and feel as if I’m on the road back towards some kind of normality. Let’s call that December.

In the meantime, there are a few things I still need to sort out. The application for income protection insurance has hit a hurdle. Not surprising, really – these things are never easy. The problem is the waiting period, which I’ve requested to be reduced to 30 days from 90 days. I submitted the request the day after I got the advice of the pay increase, about 3 weeks after discussing it first with the insurer’s account manager. It won’t be resolved before I get into hospital. I hope for the best and am leaving it in the hands of a friend to manage.

The other unexpected issue is regarding the bond from my last property. The agent is complaining the walls were dirty with soot, which is very good and suggestive of fire. I had no fires. I’m arguing that most likely it’s baked on the grime of years of residency, predating me. It’s unusual that walls are cleaned, as was requested this time.

I’ve not got my bond back yet, and they threaten to clip a part of it to properly clean the walls. I’ve responded hard, saying that I’ll lodge an appeal if I don’t get the full refund. That the landlord chooses to renovate and repaint the property is of no concern to me and not my responsibility. It’s standard procedure that walls are cleaned with sugar soap before painting, and the cost of that should be borne by the person who’ll benefit from property improvement.

I may need to leave that with someone else also, but I’m happy to bite hard.

Now, I’m preparing myself for the trip to the hospital on Wednesday. I’ve packed a bag. I’ve copied a bunch of movies onto an SD card, so I have something to watch as I recover. I’ve given keys to the property to the Cheeses to look after while I’m gone. They reckon they’ll do a few things for me. I’ll be speaking to the neighbour across the way tomorrow to ask them to keep an eye on the place. And I expect a visit later from someone in my chain of acquaintances – a nutritionist – who will drop off some supplements for me for when I return home.

I’m amazed by the reaction of friends and acquaintances. The kindness showed and the offers of help and support have greatly moved me. I feel embraced in the regard of dozens of people, and it warms me greatly.

Primary among those is the Cheeses. Mrs Cheese is always fantastic in this regard. She’s a caring and practical person. She’s organised and hardworking. I find myself giving way before her, knowing that she will miss nothing. In my situation, I’ve reached the stage that I’ll accept any and all help.

Cheeseboy has been very caring. He’s a warm and lovely man, but he’s also provided much practical assistance through this time. I couldn’t have managed without him. He checks in on me and visits. Yesterday we went for a walk along the beach at Black Rock over a coffee, much as we have dozens of times previously. It was easy and casual, and then we parted.

I think he worries for me. I worry for myself, but I don’t indulge it. He’s had a tough year. I have many reasons to get better, but among them is the desire to do the right thing by the people who love me.

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