Me ? I’m Just A Lucky Guy.

“People tell me I’m lucky
Yes, I know I’m a lucky guy”


I met my friend Freddie on Tuesday for a coffee for the first time in what both seemed like, and was, ages. I brought coffee, sausage roll and buns to his house and we sat out the back and caught up. He’d been to Canada for his sister’s wedding, so we heard all about that. And I talked a bit about my cancer treatment. He asked me sincerely “Are you going to be OK ?” I smiled to reassure him, and to give myself a moment to think of an answer. Eventually I said –

 Absolutely. This is fixable. We’ll be meeting for lunch for a few years yet.

“And then we can go on the trampoline ??”

We’ll see…doctors orders and all that.

To be honest , I love a good bounce as much as the next man, Actually I enjoy a good bounce almost as much as Freddie does…it’s his surprise flying wrestling tackles I could live without…and yet I miss now.

We chatted a bit more about musicals, theatre and then the sun came out and I took my beanie off.

“Your hair is class ! I love it !”


“Who cut it for you ?”

My Soulmate.

“You’re a lucky man.”

I am.

On Wednesday morning I drove with my Soulmate up to Dublin for the 8.30am start of Cycle 2 of my chemotherapy. The first Wednesday of the three consecutive Wednesdays in a cycle is always the longest as it’s the double dose day. I had two books with me. I had a 129 pages left of Damian Owen’s new novel, ‘Duffy and Son’, and if I got through that, I also had George Saunders’ ‘Lincoln In The Bardo’ , which the aforementioned Mr.Owens had sent me as a gift when he heard I was poorly.

“You have authors sending you books to read ???” I hear you ask.

Yes, I’m a lucky guy.

Nurse A , while putting a canula in my arm, commented on my Pillow Queens tee. I waxed lyrical about them. So much so in fact, that she asked if I was their Dad. She also said that my hair looked class. I said my Soulmate cut it for me.

“Your own hairdresser ? How lucky are you !”


Nurse B, later on when fixing the first IV drip bag of ‘flush’ to prepare the kidneys for the chemo, said sympathetically “This is a long day for you. Did you travel far ?”


“That was an early start. Did you get a lift ?”

I drove up, but my Soulmate , is driving home.

“That’s a long day for her.”

‘Tis, she had to milk the cows before we left.

“What ?!?”

Only joking.

“Is she away shopping ?”

No, she may have a wee snooze in the car. I always park on the roof of the car park, but last time she was rudely awoken by something hitting the roof , she tentatively strained to see if she could see anything from the top of the windscreen and got a shock when she saw the upside down head of the seagull that had landed on the roof staring back at her. She parked on a lower level today.

Nurse B laughed.

And then she’s walking into town to meet our friend Micky.

“Walking into town ? That’s a hike.”

She’s a gazelle. She might even run it.

She later asked if we had any kids.

Three, the youngest is doing his Leaving Cert’ this year.

“You don’t look old enough to have kids that age.”

It’s the new haircut, takes years off me apparently.

“It does !”

I love Nurse B.

Because of my Nephrostomy I need to change the bandage twice a week and the tube and bag once a week. They are quite specialised and our local pharmacist can’t source them from any of his suppliers, so I have to ask for replacements every other time I’m up in Beaumont. I had a note in my book to ask for more of the bags. I asked Nurse C.

“We don’t have them on this ward, but I’ll check and see it the other ward on this floor has any. Doesn’t your public health nurse bring them to you ?”

I’ve never had a visit from the public health nurse.

“Who changes your bandages ?”

My SoulMate.

“Is she a nurse ?”


“Can I check the bandage ?”

Of Course.

She pulls around the magic curtain that now separates my comfy chair station from the other three comfy chair stations. I know from experience that there are always enough gaps that my fellow ChemOlympians  can see and hear everything. But I’m not shy.

Nurse C examines the bandage.

“Textbook, I couldn’t do a better job myself. You’re a lucky man.”

I get that a lot. I know. She did my hair as well.

“Has she got any single brothers ?”

All four snapped up , I’m afraid. Mind you, apart from Gareth, I don’t think I’d trust any of the others to  be as gentle as her. Build you a house, yes. Economic voodoo, yes. Power the future, yes. Replace a nephrostomy bandage, nope.

“Big family, any sisters ?”

Two princesses, married too I’m afraid, but may be open to offers. I said winking at her.

She backed away slowly from me at that point.

I got finished early, all done and dusted and out by 4.30pm. I regaled my SoulMate with all of the above. She said it was no wonder I was out early as they probably couldn’t wait to get rid of me. Before we left the carpark she double checked that I’d got the extra bags I’d need. I told her they thought I’d be getting them locally, but they got me some anyway. I told her I thought I overheard the nurses talking as I left about my requests for supplies.

“What did they say ?”

They think I’m opening a pharmacy of my own.

She laughed. We drove home, and we did a lot of laughing the whole way. Neither of us can exactly remember of what , and only one of us had more drugs in them than Jimi Hendrix, it was just one of those magical car trips where we’re home in good spirits before we realise we’re there.

We arrived home to discover that out Beech hedge had been trimmed.

“Wow !” My Soulmate exclaimed.

I was about to suggest that Elliott done it ? But then remembered his aversion to fresh air and sunlight.

“You’ll have to thank Kieran.”

How do you know it was Kieran ?

“Because it’s done properly !”

I messaged Kieran to thank him, and he immediately apologised for not raking up the trimmimgs. I messaged back :

I see it as we take from nature and we give a little back. I just kick them under the hedge. Or near the hedge…eventually.

We have the best neighbours in the world, ever. I may have mentioned this once or twice….

In the past week or so I’ve had a painting painted for me, I’ve received three decorated plates from my friend Paula Moen, one has ‘Let’s Dance written on it, to commemorate this week being the 39th anniversary of David Bowie’s classic 1983 album, which I bought in 1983 and wore out…I met him on a bus to Galway once…true story..the other two plates have quotes from my blogs. How cool is that ? My neighbour Hilda, the ever patient partner of the aforementioned Kieran, dropped down buns, fresh fruit salad, and a bottle of wine. I’ve been gifted books …from an actual real life author. Received a care package from America. Had a visit from Micky & Helena on Sunday, who brought truffles and an Easter Egg. And I’ve also been offered a stripey piglet by my penpal from The Hill in Donegal.

“Want a new pet ?” Brian asked, sending me a video of the litter.

I said I’d be tempted to take them all.

“Careful what you wish for, I could land with the nine to you if we talked cash money.”

I declined, saying that moments after they arrived, I would be buried in a shallow grave next to them. Love has it’s limits. My SoulMate’s would be nine pet piglets, as she knows that they would grow old with me, as I’d never part with them.

This week alone I’ve had three people offer to drive me to chemo. This is on top of the dozen or more that have already offered.

I get messages of love and support on an almost hourly basis.

And Fontaines DC are releasing their new album , Skinty , TODAY !

Me ? I’m just the luckiest guy.



P.S This is a coolness overload ! Billie Eilish is joined on stage at Coachella Pos from De La Soul ,and  Damon Albarn from Gorillaz to sing ‘Feel Good Inc’

Author: paul

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