Tristan Hazell lives and works in the shadow of the Westway on Portobello Road. What follows is a collection of observations, reviews, social comment, fiction, poetry, art criticism and more. Much of it is fiction and some of it will offend someone somewhere, I hope.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A reason to live.

It has been said that living to an old age is just dying very slowly and painfully.

Good health is of course in its own way a terminal illness.

A chronic condition is a sure cure for that terminal illness.

Complications can set in of course - Add a new born child late in a mans life to the mix and you suddenly add a will to live (beat the illness and its cure) well beyond life expectancy.

I used to think that when time came to pass I would be content to go having done those things I felt essential. Not any longer though... Witnessing my new daughter achieve adulthood has now become essential which complicates things somewhat.

With chronic lung disease in late middle age my new daughters spring coincides with my autumn and in real terms the looming winter becomes an obstacle course. Colds and flu kill thousands like me each year (my mother died this way earlier this year). I carry a rescue pack of steroids and antibiotics in case I should pick up a cold or flu. The steroids themselves bring a lowered immune system and acute depression. The withdrawal process at the end of the course brings its own special misery.

I am writing this while suffering my second cold in as many weeks - Bunged up with snot, steroids, antibiotics, inhaler to open my pipes, inhaler to get rid of mucus and another inhaler to introduce yet more steroids. My daily cocktail is topped up with regular pain killers.

But by far the most effective relief is provided by a four month old child.

At the moment I hardly have the strength to pick her up yet she weighs no more than a bag of potatoes. My coughing alarms her, not because she knows what it is but because it is loud and raucous.

Sleep is becoming more difficult. I am constantly being visited by images of unbearable sadness and attempt to counteract this by drinking far too much in the hope of facilitating immediate unconsciousness in bed rather than a nightly marathon of horror.

But how do I  explain to the people I love that every time I close my eyes I do not count sheep but count the number of steps to the top of a multi storey car park and then consider whether I would have the strength to climb the parapet.

Waking from my hard earned sleep is somehow worse; a painful regime of inhalers and then waiting for something to kick in. This is accompanied by an extreme, unprovoked, bad temper which I know is both unacceptable and offensive. I am sorry but suspect that sorry ain't going to be good enough in the long run.

I am not proud of any of this.

I am however determined to see my daughter into her adulthood.

A reason to live.






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