A Rottweiler, Frank & I
LIKE A RUNAWAY TRAIN
So there you are, not so much riding the rollercoaster of life, more
driving down its motorway on cruise control, when:
1. You are made redundant without any warning after 10 years
with your current employer.
2. During a routine shopping trip, you wake up in the local A&E
ward without any knowledge of how you actually got there - I
know what you’re thinking but please don’t judge us all by your
The staff – who bore very little resemblance to those dedicated ones
working in shiny hospitals on BBC1 - give you the news; they have
“found something in the scan” and you are to be referred. In this case,
referral meant an immediate ambulance ride in the depths of night to
To reduce the dramatic tension somewhat, have you ever been lost in
an ambulance on a hospital approach road network? “It must be
straight on here, no… erm…didn’t we take that turn the last time? Ask
that chap over there…”
Referral is, as we will later see, a very significant word defined in the
dictionary as “... to have recourse to some authority; send on or
direct...” The recipient hospital – particularly charmless and built as a
form of concrete shrine to the 1960’s – conducts some further tests.
The Consultant and Oncology Nurse now invite you into whatever
spare room [or broom cupboard] they can find to pronounce the
verdict - you have a Brain Tumour that, due to its location, is very likely
to be terminal.
Immediate surgery is recommended and the risks of various options are
mentioned. This process is called “Informed Choice” and, like referral, it
will be a theme that we will return to later. At what point do I actually
wake up and find that this rollercoaster ride is a dream? Actually, a
rollercoaster ride has an up and a down – I was only receiving “no
news or bad news” at this time.