All You Need Is Love

“There’s nothin’ you can do that can’t be done
Nothin’ you can sing that can’t be sung
Nothin’ you can say, but you can learn how to play the game
It’s easy
Nothin’ you can make that can’t be made
No one you can save that can’t be saved
Nothin’ you can do, but you can learn how to be you in time
It’s easy

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need”

  • Lennon / McCartney

This is not a diary.

On Monday 18th July I packed my bag for my hospital holiday the next day. I packed my laptop, a new notebook, two Muji pens, one retractable pencil, and three novels.

On Saturday 30th July I came home and unpacked my unused laptop, my still pristine notebook, my virgin pens and pencil, and three unread novels.

I came home minus a bladder, prostrate, left kidney, and various lymph glands.

I knew I was facing major surgery and that it would be tough, but I thought that after a couple of days I’d be convalescing like a character in Brideshead Revisited in a large bed with lots of pillows, writing a novel, and as I was due to be there for 10 days, possibly two novels.

I woke from my operation to discover I was half man , half tubes. I had my stoma, a drain from my left side, a drain from my right side, a delightful catheter, cannulas in each arm , a nutrition tube in my neck, and an epidural in my back.

The first few days were a dull blur of sleep, dreams, tests, and visits from nurses, interns, pain management doctors, other doctors, health assistants, and my consultant, Miss Little. Miss Little was happy with how the operation had gone, and I was happy for her.

Again , this is not a diary.

Three days after my operation I had a slice of toast and a cup of tea. Later that day I had half a peach yoghurt, and the following morning I had half a small bowl of Rice Krispies. That night I woke and knew I was going to be sick. I was right….many times. The only thing worse than being sick is being sick when there are 24 staples holding your belly together.

That was a low.

I didn’t eat for another two days. I only wanted chipped ice to nibble on.

And then, little by little, I got better.

The ward I was on was a transplant ward, so movement in or out was restricted. I was encouraged to exercise, and the corridor outside my room was 22 metres long. I did two laps and went back to bed and slept solidly for an hour.

I wore my Radiohead pyjamas and everyone thought that they were very cool, and they were right. But I did have to explain who Radiohead are.

Miss Little had said that there would be days of doubt about what was the point of it all, but I can honestly say that I never experienced a moment of regret or resentment about my cancer or the operation to remove it. I felt , and feel fortunate that these amazing people spotted it and were able to do something about it.

And I never felt alone.

I’m no martyr. I hate pain. I am the worst Man Flu patient the world has ever known. I hated the confusion of being sore, ill, drugs and general discombobulation, but I knew it would pass, and it has.

The doctors on Miss Little’s team called to my room three times a day, and I saw Miss Little at least once each day too. Thinking back I’d say I had a visit from a nurse or health care assistant every half hour, 24 hours per day.

It would simply have been rude not to get better.

I’m home 5 days now as I write this. I walked a kilometre yesterday lunchtime, threw a stick for Molly, slept a little and missing the end of Antiques Roadtrip, and then walked another kilometre with my Soulmate after tea, holding hands.

I have received so many messages of love and support, had people send me thoughtful gifts, people helping my Soulmate around the house, that I’m humbled and overwhelmed.

I am an incredibly lucky guy.

I just wanted to say that I’m home, I love you, and thank you for loving me.



Author: paul

5 thoughts on “All You Need Is Love

  1. Paul in tears here reading this. So inspired by you. It puts everything in perspective. The going to hospital with writing and reading intentions rang so true… and madness given the massive operation you were to undertake. Amazing how the body heals and comes out of it. I’m so sorry you’ve had to face all this but your tenacity and graciousness is both like I said – totally inspiring, and not surprising from the human you are.
    Wishing you well well well
    Lots of love
    A x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *