I don’t like the change in the weather and I don’t like the on-set of autumn/winter. The change in seasons brings with it, every year, an abundance of new colds, flu’s, viruses and other horribleness and it makes life that much more worrying when you’re desperately trying to keep yourself well enough for a life-saving operation.
Yesterday I developed that odd feeling in the back of your throat, the little tickle-come-small obstruction you feel when you swallow which often prefaces the on-set of a cold or sinus infection.
If I’m honest, it’s petrifying. The last time I was unwell with any sort of cold/virus-type thing, it lead to the worst chest infection I’ve had for years and my body very nearly gave up the ghost. If it were to come around again, if the tickle becomes a cough, if the cough becomes a cold, if the cold becomes something else, it doesn’t really bear thinking about right now.
Try as I might, though, I can’t escape the thought of it. If someone tells you not to think about elephants you can guarantee that they’ll be singing, dancing and tooting their way ear-to-ear for the rest of the evening. An impending cold is very much the elephant in the room.
I’m suddenly hyper-aware of every creak and tweek my body makes, each breath that feels shorter becomes a worry, each cough that feels irregular concerns me. I’m doing whatever I can to get food, drink or any kind of calories down my neck in the hope of giving my body the energy it needs to nip this in the bud before it takes hold.
It’s impossible to know if any of it is likely to work – it’s impossible to know right now whether it is even the start of a cold or just a strange feeling in the throat. It’s impossible to know anything at all, really, which is, again, part of the problem I suppose. I’m waiting through each passing moment to see what my body’s going to do, to see if I’ve done enough to see it off. I’m on tenterhooks.
The one morsel of comfort I’m dragging from deep within my reserves of pluck and fight is the fact that as bleak as it seemed to get last time, I pulled through it – I fought my way out of it and afterwards I enjoyed some of the best fitness I’ve had for the last 12 months or so. Should I be facing the same fight again, I can only keep telling myself that I’ve been here and done that, and I should really look into getting a T-shirt.
It is inevitable that the ups and downs of life on a waiting list as fluid and unquantifiable as transplant are going to be increasingly hard to bear – each trough will reach deeper than the last and each peak will seem higher, whatever the physical stats may show.
Without fight, though, where would we be? Without the need to push ourselves forwards, to fend off the onslaught of the outside world against our frail bodies, how would the human race have come as far as it has? How would we all make our way through our day-to-day lives? My fight is no more than anyone else’s, merely against a different enemy, on different ground, with different markers of success and failure.
I suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, and I choose to take arms against a sea of troubles, but I know that without the help of the transplant team at Harefield, no amount of personal opposition will end them. All I can do is to my own self be true, and keep fighting the fight till the clarion call of a new life comes my way.*
*Apologies to W. Shakespeare
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