After a week of euphoria and long miles on the bike, I came down today with a crash.
I haven’t yet written about my bad days. Usually it’s because I feel so crappy , that I don’t have the energy or the enthusiasm to write. By the next day, I’ve forgotten. Or put it out of mind.
Today I’ve forced myself, even as I lie in bed fuzzy, sick and demoralised.
I aim to tell the truth, and that is that around one day in ten – whether thanks to the drugs or the tumour – I feel pretty rubbish.
I know as soon as I wake up. A fuzzy hangover with no drink the night before, no appetite for breakfast, no appetite for anything.
As the day goes on I begin to feel sick, but irritatingly not sick enough to vomit. If only I could be sick, maybe it would be a good day after all.
A dull ache spreads across my forehead, my bones feel heavy and sluggish. Metallic taste. There’s no pain, just tiredness. Like a hangover, I feel like a shower and shave could wash it away. But it doesn’t.
Maybe I could shake it off if I tried hard enough, like a dog shakes off water after splashing in the sea. But it won’t go.
On days like today, I live behind three inches of glass.
My mind buffers what I hear, what I say, what I think. I’m an internet movie, holding momentarily while the connection catches up.
And I get irritated. So irritated.
The couple talking next to me, too loud, too public. The bus driven too fast, too erratically. The lawnmower next door, I wish it would stop. My children’s reasonable requests, too whiney, too demanding. Even their hugs are too tight.
My wife’s honest sympathy and understanding. Too much, because I’m undeserving. So I retreat to bed.
Sleep doesn’t shake it, so I lie staring at the wall.
I listen to her shoulder the burden of caring for our children, cooking a meal that I might not eat, putting off the run she planned, that I know makes her happy.
Guilt. Because she holds the fort, and doesn’t blink.
Mad with myself for being weak, for allowing myself to be taken down even though the doctors tell me I’m not ill yet.
I think about my illness and feel sad. I go over other things in my life that make me sad. I think about what’s to come and I feel sad.
Then I feel guilty for feeling mad, for feeling sad, for feeling guilty.
Is this my life when the tumour turns? Will she have to live like this until I’m gone, only to suffer more once I have?
The gratitude and love I feel I cannot express. I say it, but it can never be enough. She just tells me to pull my socks up. (“It’s such a cliche to say your partner is wonderful”, she said when she read this).
This is just one day in ten.
Tomorrow will be bright again, I’ll be boasting of my miles, playing with my children, enjoying food and being a good husband.
But before tomorrow, I wanted to tell you about today.