Thursday, 10 March 2011

Charlotte Desperado

Back to the hospital again for the last English oncology appointment. We're here to beg medicine really, Kelly's not been on any drugs since they discovered that the last super chemo deluxe failed. So we'll see what happens. That's all we'll do - we'll be unlikely to influence anything one way or another.

The Breast-care nurse and the Willow Foundation both contacted us yesterday. Yet more forms to fill in but it looks as if the 19th is go - good job as I sent the invites out yesterday.

We were wandering around London most of yesterday with Kelly, first to her massage at the Marie Curie Hospice Centre in Belsize Park (where I wander around for an hour). From there Kelly wanted to walk to her psychologist's appointment in Archway. So we power up to Hampstead, along Hampstead Lane and on to Highgate and on to highgate proper. By the time we get to Highgate it is five to four and we still have to wade down Highgate Hill. There is crabbiness. Kelly makes the appointment ten minutes late and I retire to the Charlotte Despard for a white wine. There is only the bar-man in there and he has a broken arm. This means a chat. I take a swig of chablis and ask him about it. He gives me about half an hour on one breath, sparing no detail, being carefully specific about the ethnicities of the various people who have caused him upset. It transpires that he hasn't enjoyed his tenure at the Whittington Hospital. He objects to the A and E for not treating him for two whole hours and that there were tramps in the waiting room. People were rude to him. A man shouted. It goes on.

My mother's genes fulminate, bubbling within me; I need to compete. I can totally take this fucker apart with my hospital misery stories. He's got nothing. Two hours in A and E? Try 12 hours straight with no bed waiting for me at the end of it. Tramps in the hospital? Try an obese monoped in a wheelchair coming out of a ward toilet with no lock on it, reeking of fags and giving me a conspitatorial wink. But he carries on and on while I tenderise my tongue.

There is gap, a breath. I don't miss my chance and launch into my tale. I give him the volcanic-bubo-of-green-pus-as-a-result-of-an-MRSA-infected-pin-in-my-knee and he looks suitably aghast. I build to my rhetorical climax when, tragically, other customers come in and he waddles off to serve them clumsily with his knackered hand, immediately launching into another tirade against the NHS. I look at my phone and find that Kelly's psychologist hasn't turned up and she's been sitting in the astonishingly 70's foyer of Hell House on her own!

I rush to meet her and we walk home. I estimate that she's walked between five and six miles today. She seems so well that it's hard to believe that there is anything wrong with her. She's off to dinner in Finsbury Park's fashionable "Season" restaurant.

I stay in, clean the flat and watch a 1985 documentary on page three girls. It's a perfect night in. There are hardly any tits in it but the hair! The anklets! The blouson-style leather jackets! The smoking a cocktail cigarette with a moustachioed man in a nightclub! The bleached film-stock! Part of it was about a girl called Sharon Jay who wanted to be a page 3 girl. She won't be: she's caked in make-up and frazzled by high-lights. She's fifteen going on sixteen, getting her tits out on national television. A year older than I was in 1985. All I was worried about at the time was getting the grass stains out of my white, pleated chinos. I resist the urge to look up her career and what kind of career it was. She's docile and modestly pretty; an exact cross between Kim Wilde and Spagna. Nowadays she'd be orange, tattooed and miming blowjobs on Babestation.

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