Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Crispy Mush.

My Dad says it’s okay now to tell you that it is he who has the multiple myeloma; the plasma eating cancer that sneaks in to nibble on white blood cells and nerves leaving mouse bite holes in various bones and causing havoc with the rather useful large organs. It is bloody painful and the treatment is extremely unplesant. He has been having a hard time of it and that is why I am here, in Lusaka, Zambia, extending my Xmas vacation by a few weeks to hang out with me Dad as he chews his way through hundreds of ghastly pills and tries each morning to figure out if it is going to be a good day or a bloody bad one. Xmas Dad/Elf: (c) T. Bush 09

However, as he is rather more stubborn then a mule with piles and braver then Attilla the Hun, he insists on going to work even when he is feeling ghastly, propping himself behind his desk so his patients can’t see his cane or the days when his hands tremble terribly (infuriating for a doctor famous for having the steadiest hands in the biz. Makes tying knots in fishing tackle bloody tricky.)

He won't stop. Last weekend he was honored guest at the Mother of Mercy HIV Hospice where he is volunteer medical supervisor. He insisted on leaping up to make a speech but they made him sit to do the presents.

He is rather marvellous.

He won’t want me to bang on about 'IT' though as he hates people worrying. At first he tried telling everyone it was just a ‘squash injury’. He upgraded it to a ‘ski jump accident’ when he started the chemo but now we have both decided ‘kite surfing incident’ has serious kudos and sounds much more glamerous .

Hospice Xmas Party: (c) T. Bush 09

My days so far have been focused on hanging out with Dad breakfast, lunch and supper and just being around when he is resting. I am not greatly useful but he doesn't mind. I've seen old friends too including a lovely Xmas dinner party complete with dramatic sunset and sun-downers overlooking the Southern hills, the dying sun burning my pale skin.

I do miss Grace of course and find myself talking to the space on my left where she should be, which makes people around me a little nervous, but have news that she is thoroughly enjoying her holiday and the snow back in UK which makes me happy.

When Dad is working I should be working on my manuscript for university but instead I have rejoined my old gym. I love my old stinky gym. I used to train here ten years ago and they still have the same towels and equipment, neither of them have been washed particually well since 1999. But I know where everything is and so even though it is boiling and the air conditioner has never worked, only leaked, even though they have fabulously bad Zambian TV on at the SAME time as blasting out Eminem's latest hits, even though the door to the ladies changing rooms is stuck open in such a way as to make getting in for a shower an extra cardio exercise and inside is potentially a bacteria ridden death trap, and even though I suspect one of the receptionists does her own version of ‘personal training..ehem’ in the massage room on occasion, even so I feel very comfortable there.

Anyway it is all essential for getting rid of stress …..or would have been except my old buddy EM was there. He recently won 3rd place in the Mr. Zambia body building competition and can see from across the blinking gym that I am being half hearted about my crunches and press ups. I am cheerfully adopted and there is no escape. An hour and a half later and my lactic acid build up is through the roof. Me and The Incredible Hulk: (c) T. Bush 09

'Tomorrow,' says EM grinning hugely. He does everything hugely. Note the photo….

And I did this..went with my dear friend and her beautiful children to East of the city into the scrubby bush. Storm clouds towered several thousand feet high on the horizon but the sun blazed heartily determined to melt my 50 factor sun cream. I didn’ t have my jodphurs or boots but there was a jump and it just seemed the right thing to do. The horse was Amarula…a very appropriately named beast for me as the amarula is a little fruit which makes a delicious very potent alcoholic drink…

So for you readers, in various places and my friends and family snowed in and freezing, slipping on the ice and weary of the darkness, I send you some sunburn, the sound of creaking cicadas, the smell of distant rain and the sensation of sun burn.

And love, much, much love. We never know what is around the corner…live every day stuffed full with the stuff!

More soon. Cloud Ships: (c) T. Bush 09


Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Packing Up (Lusaka tomorrow)

It is late and I am not packed. I can’t quite seem to get my head straight. I feel fragile, the spit bubble of a baby, or a moth caught out in rain. I am not anxious or sad just out of time... waiting. image from internet
Earlier today I sat in my novel seminar at Bath Spa Uni peering at my group through vision all smoky. Some days my sight makes me feel as if I am separated from everyone, held behind a screen of smoked grey glass, looking on. It’s lonely when it’s like that. They,-all my group that is, are writing work that leaps and bounces from the page; faster and more eloquent and more lyrical each week.
'Burkha' (c) T. Bush 08
I on the other hand, am having a hard time wringing more then 2000 words a week and it feels lack lustre compared.
‘I have got to up my game!’ I think. But today I couldn’t dwell on it. I had to get to back to Cambridge.
Grace and I leapt up spilling bits of paper, poop bags, biros and small change everywhere. The workshop ground to a halt at which point Grace, somewhat like the Queen, went around to each individual to say good-bye grinning and bestowing blessings. She does celebrity remarkably well.
We bussed and trained and hooched it back only took four hours ..and then the lovely Guide Dog woman came and then it was just me here and the suitcase which looks like a sensible shape until you try to pack it. 'Grace' (c) T. Bush 09
I can’t fit my sandals in. Even if I fold them..which is bloody difficult.

Tomorrow I will NOT ask for assistance at the airport as they have a habit of taking ‘the disabled’ and herding them into ‘Disabled Holding Pens’. A nice quiet area you would think would be a good thing, away from the push and shove of the shopping quadrangle of Heathrow but remember these are for ‘Disabled’ people. Disabled people just sit and drool. We are not supposed to need anything but condescension and prune juice. In this quiet area there are no working areas, no lap top plug ins, no decent coffee machines and worst of all considering if you are a disabled it is the one thing you NEED to do when travelling....nowhere to drink! So no holding pen for me.
Image from internet Nope! Even without Grace I intend to stagger around knocking all the shelves over and wacking into small children and wheelie cases until I can find a decent Bloody Mary. Hopefully I will get to the right gate on time.
Zambia here I come!
image from internet