CHRIS’S TEENAGE CANCER JOURNEY – PART 8 – MILD MORPHINE TRANCE

‘‘HES TRYING TO KILL ME!!’’ screamed an out of control, delusional and confused 19 year old. ‘’He’s not Christopher. The doctor’s only trying to help you with your pain’’ ushered a worried and embarrassed nurse. ‘’HE’S FUCKING NOT, HE’S TRYING TO KILL ME’’ I yelled back.

It was mid-afternoon at Fairfield Hospital on the picturesque hills of Crank, and I was just coming round from what was my first operation ever. An operation that I chose. An operation that I didn’t necessarily need to have. Now, a few weeks on from making the decision to have to dignity crushing op, I lying on my back in a recovery room surrounded by two nurses and a killer, or should I say: an anaesthetist. The killer was a tall and slender man, with olive skin and coarse black hair with a hint of grey on the sides. He was donning a big white coat – almost as if he’d just come straight from a NASA lab- that drowned him and just made him look even taller as he was stood over me contemplating what to do with me. What the hell possessed me to have this stupid fucking op, I thought. I mean, it wasn’t like I didn’t have a choice was it? I didn’t even need it did, I could of simply waited the problem out. But no, that talk at Edge Hill University a few years back had made a dint in my brain. A dint so deep that it shifted my way of thinking from ‘shut up and put up’ to ‘okay, let’s get this sorted out’. So here I was as a result.

I looked down and all I could see was layers of sheets covering my abdomen and legs, with the exception of my right foot sticking out, ready to make a run for it. I felt weary and dizzy far beyond that of when you step off a roundabout at the park. The room was getting smaller and then bigger, then smaller then bigger, then it started spinning like faster than the Taz Manian Devil on a high. I cautiously lifted up the sheets, and the first thing I saw was this big massive padding all around my crown jewels like I was wearing a cricket player’s protector. I lifted the sheets up a bit further and SHIT!!, there’s blood everywhere. All over the padding and smearing a good portion of my thighs. I was now certain in my mind that I had in fact gone into an operation at Fairfield Hospital to relive pain on my crown jewels, but somewhere in between I’d ended up in Satan’s front living room in hell. I felt terrified and vulnerable to say the least. I got myself mentally prepared to fight.

Just then I saw the two worried nurses and the killer wonder off to talk just out of earshot. What they didn’t realise though, was I’d always had super sensitive hearing, so I could hear everything they were saying. Well, if I wasn’t off my face I would of. ‘’I think we need to call his mum in’’ one whispered. ‘’Yeah, I agree, he’s just not calming down. Maybe a familiar face will help’’ Not calming down?! Too right I’m not calming down, there’s a killer on the loose in the same room as me, I thought. My mum better bring lots of weapons and my 4 iron to get out of this one.  Shortly later my mum entered the room –weapon-less. She’d been out of the hospital when they’d called her, but it only took few minutes to get there as we only lived a mile or two away.

‘’Chris, they’re not trying to kill you love, they’re here to help you. Now you need to calm down and take some deep breaths’’ said my mum reassuringly. In a more calm and conservative tone: ‘’I don’t think they are mum, it’s that guy over there’’ pointing at the killer in the white NASA-like lab coat. I lifted the sheets up and continued ‘’Look, there’s blood all over me, how can you not tell! They’re trying to kill me!’’ My mum let out a faint giggle at this point, though she was trying to keep a straight face. ‘’Chris, when have you ever seen orange blood? That’s not blood, it’s iodine, they use it to clean your skin during your operation’’. I narrowed my eyes and looked at my mum suspiciously in the eyes as if she were a car salesman trying to blag me into buying a shitty banger. I didn’t saying anything in return. I was too confused too. Maybe they weren’t trying to kill me after all? None of it made sense; it was all like one big giant nightmare where I could feel the pain more than usual. A few minutes later, I started feeling woozy again and I drifted back off into a deep sleep.

I woke a few hours later, this time in a side room on what seemed like a ghost ward. The walls were plain and untouched, and the noise level was so quiet that I could hear someone stirring a cup of tea just round the corner. That was a good sign, I thought, I’m returning back to my senses. Overall I was feeling better, and now all I could feel was pain – a more bearable yet persistent pain. I knew I was now back in reality on planet earth, so it was safe to move about. With that thought, I swung my legs over to my right and dangled them over the edge of the bed. The pain was horrific, and I had this drained empty feeling in my stomach.  Then a man walked in, he looked familiar and happy to see me. ‘’How are you feeling’’ Shit, I thought, but right now I’m still a little confused. Avoiding the question, I remarked ‘’Do I know you from somewhere?’’. He and my mum – whom was sat directly behind me in a grey rigid chair-, just looked at each other with smirks on their faces as if to say ‘He doesn’t remember does he’. ‘’Yeah I’m the anaesthetist who’s just helped with your operation, how are y’feeling?’’ Then it hit me. I recognised him. It was the man I’d been calling the killer last time I was awake, only this time he wasn’t wearing his NASA lab coat and he didn’t seem to want to kill me. Maybe I’d got this all wrong, I thought. Maybe it was all a dream. Pushing those thoughts to one side of my now clearer head, I deemed it safe to talk. ‘’yeah fine..’’ Fine? ‘’I’m just in a little pain that’s all….’’ And with that, I let my stone walls down and engaged in a productive conversation for the first time in what seemed like a lifetime. The guy seemed nice, and more importantly he certainly wasn’t a killer. The morphine and the anaesthetic simply didn’t bode well together and I’d been hallucinating all along. Time to go home.

That night at home, I often wondered what everything was going to look like down there, and whether my then-girlfriend would still find me attractive in the coming future. Of course she would, I thought, I was in great shape. And just like that my ego and self-confidence started to rebuild themselves back into the big headed teenage sort I was sporting just a few months back.

 

 

By August that year, my golfing form had gone downhill rapidly – probably my worst decline in form I’d ever had. I was hardly playing in Saturday competitions and instead opting to go out shopping in Liverpool with my then-girlfriend. Obviously, my recent operation played a big part in my decline too, though nobody outside my family knew. After all, the golf swing – at the level I was playing at – was a very quick and violent movement where body parts are twisted and stretched to the limit.  God forbid I got my precious crown jewels caught up in the action. So for that part, I remained cautious when getting back into it. I’d realised that, in my perspective, golf had gone from my being my best friend and closest ally, to that long lost school mate you bump into in Tesco’s every few years. My only hopes of salvaging the season lied with the summer-long knockout competitions – two of which I was still in: one partnered with my dad and the other partnered my best mate Josh. Maybe, just maybe the season wasn’t over yet.

What was over though was my willing to play in Karl’s South Lancs League team. That same week as I had my operation, I text him – because it was easier – to say I was giving up my place in the team. It read something like

‘’ Hiya mate, I don’t particularly know how to tell you but I’ve decided to give up my place on the south lancs team. I’ve just not been playing well this year and that’s down to a few things. I feel it’d only be right for me to give someone else a go in the team. Thanks for the opportunity and hopefully I’ll come back one next year, Cheers, Chris’’

Heart breaking as it was, I knew it was the right decision. I hadn’t even been playing much all season and I was that unprepared and lac-si-daisy about the whole thing that I’d even turned up to a match at Gathurst Golf Club with my electric trolley but had left my clubs back at the office. What a total idiot. Never the less, quitting took a weight off my shoulders and now I could concentrate on trying to salvage the season and trying to win my first adult knockout competitions.

Continued in part 9…

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