Friday, 8 January 2010


As Britain shivers in twelve degrees of overnight frost, I reflect on how I can't really enjoy the novelty of being snowed in. I wish I could. I wish I could revel in it in a near-hysterical way, like the schoolchildren, especially those who look like getting a suspension of next week's GCSE exams. But I have been snowed in for the last nine months, dependent on kind friends for lifts to the bank and shopping and excursions to the coast. I'm like some old person now, afraid to go out on my own, scared of falling. I have got to shake this feeling off. I have got to stretch my spine and exercise my leg muscles. No, I may never be legally empowered to drive again, but I've got functioning legs that used to be ready to walk anywhere and no one, except me, is going to impose health and safety sanctions on them. I have got to get a grip.

Yesterday, my Herceptin treatment nurse trudged for forty minutes through the snow to my house, an enormous rucksack on her back containing collapsible drip pole, syringes, sharps box and drugs. The dedication of the vast majority of medical people I have encountered through this disease never ceases to overwhelm me, as does the stoicism of some patients, especially the dialysis group who have to attend at the hospital three or four days a week for four or more hours, with travelling time and hold-ups added on. Or the neurology patients who shared a ward with me for six weeks last summer; some had been there for six months, unable to sit up to read or eat. Being snowed in may impose some physical restrictions, but the real obstacle is the state of being. If you make being snowed in your state of being, then snowed in you will be until you ice right over.