A paean — good word, that — for hospitals

This may not be of interest to you in which case I apologise.
I haveimgres had cancer, some strokes (no one knows exactly how many) and cracked my face open falling while jogging. The reason was probably a stroke.
This has left me, an important first, with an unbounded admiration for the people who staff assorted hospitals. I have found loving care in separate places in the world. And it all seems to be of an incredibly high standard.
Now I have seen — a three monthly check-up — my oncologist Robert Smee at the Prince of Wales hospital in Sydney who you see in the first picture (the second one on the next page is from a pantomime). I get on with him remarkably well. He is a very decent chap. Could have been in my regiment, the First Foot and Mouth Deserters.
Over the past year my relationship with him has changed.
As I come to the end of this long and somewhat unpleasant journey I have come across a simple truth which I had not divined before although my wife Jenny told me it repeatedly.
What a specialist, in this case an oncologist, does is cure you of that which is ailing you. And an oncologist works in a specialised area which is cancer.
If you are cured of cancer than it is a round of Treble Bob Major for the oncologist. But what is cured is the cancer. The side effects you get through the treatment — loss of weight, appetite, inability to eat certain foods — remain.
The hospital dietitian (her name is Molly and I am secretly in love but she has just got married) goes through what I can eat, what I should eat. images
In a sense this is a losing battle because at 81 you are not going to change much. Yes, I run (lollop) every morning for an hour and a half except Monday which is dustbin day.
Yes, my weight has just started to creep up and soon I will be the same weight I was on the day I went into the army.
So although it is under control — and praise the Lord that I have no cancer — the side effects are something I have to live with.
That’s cool.
It is easy to put up with. Easy to adjust.
True I can no longer drink alcohol.
You can argue — and I would agree — I should never have started.
But I do not have cancer. Not.
I am not in a state of smug satisfaction about this but I feel, strongly, that I should say something about the wonderful care I had in Worthing, Sussex, Chichester, Bangkok and Sydney. Having cancer and having strokes are not experiences I would recommend to anyone. But the hospitals I have experienced carry out the most wonderful work which has which has brought me a new understanding of health care,  professional sacrifice and, yes, religion.

About Gareth Powell

Welsh to the point of affectation. Retired publisher, journalist, author, truck driver, circus hand, sergeant. Lives in Australia and England. Prefers writing to almost any other human activity.

One thought on “A paean — good word, that — for hospitals

  1. So pleased to read you are now clear of cancer. The ancillary conditions you have acquired are scant sacrifice. I am intrigued and wish to learn more of how your recovery has given you a new understanding of religion…….

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