I've been living the dream. Oh, yeah.
Didn't put my heart and soul into getting it, didn't spend my entire life thinking only of it, didn't need it, didn't in fact under any circumstances want it. But I've been living it nonetheless.
Recurring nightmares are a bugger.
This one went like this: I'd have this terrible thirst of mouth-cracking, throat-gumming, Saharan proportions, but I'd also have a pint tumbler and a nice cold water tap, so all I had to do was draw myself a nice, refreshing glass; except when I did, however deeply I drank, my thirst would remain unquenched. I'd drink more and more and more, but I'd just get thirstier and thirstier.
I’d had that one occasionally for years. I Googled it recently and there are all sorts of theories about its meaning. All mad, of course: what it in fact meant was that I'd been sleeping with my mouth open and what I needed was the actual real-life glass of water I keep at my bedside; a quick sip and I'd go comfortably back to sleep. So much for dream interpretation.
Thing is, for a couple of weeks there, much of my waking hours were like that. I had a terrible thirst, but drinking water wasn’t helping much in quenching it; I remained bone-dry and anyway felt a bit too ill to drink very much, or eat anything at all. I was also weak, and tired, and really pretty floored by high-velocity diarrhoea which looked like a petrochemical by-product and left the Simon Cowells feeling like they’d been skelped from the inside. Sorry for that image.
It all kicked off on day two of my most recent chemo, of course, so that would be the cause of that. Not nice, but just another three days, and all would be well…
By the following Monday, after a pretty rough weekend, I’d been off the chemo for 24 hours, and if anything felt worse. Tuesday was no better, and Wednesday wasn’t too great either. This was getting a bit worrying, partly because I wasn’t certain the human body should be able to pass that much effluent without having first taken anything in, but mainly because I was getting married on the Friday and felt I should probably be there for that.
I was trying manfully to pull myself together with the aid of groaning and Imodium, set in long periods of inactivity punctuated by very short bursts of extremely urgent action, but Clare did the sensible thing and called the Beatson, who told me to keep taking the Imodium but to get to my GP for blood tests, and start taking this stuff called Dioralyte which apparently rebalances your sugars and salts and lets you rehydrate. Marvellous stuff. I instantly stopped being thirsty for the first time in over a week and felt so much better.
So we got married, you’ll be pleased to know, without incident. My innards decided to forever hold their peace, which was nice of them.
It was a lovely afternoon: just us, our parents and siblings plus a registrar in one of Glasgow’s plusher West End hotels (true, most of us are southsiders and some from Lanarkshire, but we got a special visa as long as we promised to go back again). The whole ceremony was over in about 15 minutes so we could get down to the important eating and drinking part from lunchtime. It went well.
Marriage wasn’t necessarily something we’d thought we’d do; Clare for feminist reasons and me because I had no desire to seek validation for my life choices in the dubious eyes of the state or the non-existent eyes of God. But it suddenly seemed right, so we just did it anyway.
I didn’t really pop the question; in fact Clare did. Just after midnight on the 21st floor of a Gran Canarian hotel overlooking a concrete skate park, on a balcony with a pretty low balustrade and the light behind her. I felt I should say “yes”.
So I did, and we did it. We’ve been married a fortnight now and it’s great. We’ve already had a luxurious night at Marr Hall at Bishopton, and there will be some kind of honeymoon and a belated stag do later in the year.
I’m feeling a lot better, too. Not entirely back to normal – I lost more than 20lbs very quickly through this particular experience, and that takes its toll, even on those of us who can afford it – but pretty much. Seems I had some kind of common food poisoning bug on top of the usual chemo horror, and it’s running its course.
Which is good. Because I’m back on the anti-cancer poison from Wednesday. Wish me luck.