So, the hospital yesterday was just dandy. They already knew that my teeth needed sorting: they already knew about the cancer. So I got to answer a whole lot of questions to which the answer was ‘no’.
Are you allergic to anything? No.
Do you have heart problems? No.
Have you ever had a heart attack? No.
Have you ever had a stroke? No.
Do you have athsma? No.
Do you have difficulty breathing when you’re not exerting yourself? No.
Do you have any physical condition that prevents you from having a normal day-to-day life? No.
Do you suffer from fainting or blackouts? No.
Do you like bananas? No.
OK, I made that last one up, but you get my drift. By the time we got to the end of the questions I was feeling as though the universe had reminded me just how much I have to be grateful for: the swelling of my lungs, the swinging of my hips, my fully functioning heart.
And then it got better. I had my blood taken by one of the most cheerful nurses I have ever met. We had a lovely chat, during which we discovered that we are both fans of the cereal-for-lunch option. (It’s quick. It’s comforting. It’s less hassle than a sandwich.) But the Best Bit Of All was when she got down to business and said:
“Ooh, look, here’s a lovely, bouncy vein.”
Those of you who were with me through chemotherapy will know exactly what that sentence meant to me. If I hadn’t had a needle sticking out of my arm – it hit the vein first time – I’d have been tempted to jiggle me a little jig. What a journey. From collapsed to lovely. From crushed to bouncy.
And as with the veins, so with the rest of me. It has taken time, and care (largely other people’s care), and there’s still a way to go. I know I could be fitter, and I still have a digestive system as fragile and unpredictable as a spoilt Victorian debutante, cramps, and plenty of menopausality. But, by and large, I am bouncy. And I’m glad, and grateful that I’m getting there.