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167: L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N

Next Thursday, I’ll have coffee with my superbly talented and lovely artist mate, before checking I’ve got some loose change to head to the worst car park of all time at Colchester General.

I’ll park, pray I’ll be within the half hour window where you don’t have to pay for parking (it’s happened ONCE and it was such a great day), and go check myself in at one of those self-service check-in things.

I’ll examine the white board to see if my consultant is running late - she rarely does to be fair - and listen for a nurse to tell me to go get my chest x-ray, which I sorta wish I had already taken myself to do but rules are rules and I HAVE to wait to be told.

“Do you know where to go, dear?” Yes, yep, no problem I know.

I’ll wander down the corridor, take the left to the Beta Unit and head to the desk to be handed one of those fetching hospital gowns, told to remove any jewellery, and casually asked whether I’m pregnant or not.

The wait is never that long, and I hear someone try and pronounce my full name and fail miserably because it’s a stupidly long name to pronounce, and stop them mid-way through my middle name just to avoid their embarrassment any further. Inevitably as I step up to stop them, my failed attempt at a knot on my gown comes loose and I’ll partially expose my bum to someone but that’s happened about twelve million times before so hopefully (I know!) I’ve made some poor sod waiting for an x-ray, giggle.

The radiographer and I will spend the first five minutes repeating my name to one another and asking where it comes from and did I always have a double-barrel surname because that really takes the biscuit eh? They’ll probably ask me again if I’m pregnant, before asking me to shuffle along to the x-ray machine. They ask me if I’ve done this before and I nod: “yep seasoned professional I guess”, and I place my arms behind my back and chin on the chin rest as directed. And wait.

“Okay if you can take one deep breathe in and hold…”

The. Longest. Of. Breaths.

“That’s great, we got it, you can step back now.”

I thank them and nearly ALWAYS do that awkward wave thing because they’re behind a glass and I’m not, and head to get changed out of the fetching gown in one of those tiny cubicles. I dump the barely worn gown in the hospital washing bin always always thinking “what a waste of washing”, and wonder back round to the Outpatients Department to wait to see my consultant.

This tends to be the longest wait. I’m eventually called by the nurse to be weighed and have my blood pressure taken, and probably for the third time in the space of an hour, asked if I’m pregnant again.

I’ll sit and people watch whilst I wait.

My consultant calls me in. She always smiles at me. Obvs. She always asks after my small human and asks how the biscuits are doing. I normally take her a reject biscuit from the previous day bake. (I’ve learned to never work on the days I’m going to the hospital: it never goes well and so now I write the whole day off and pad it with seeing friends instead.) She normally comments on my weight, whether I’ve had any pain or unusual discomfort , and tells me:

“things look okay, but come back in six months yes?”

This is all a really long, slightly convoluted way to explain why I thought NOW I’d take my mate up on his 1-2-1 yoga class. Long, but important. Because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to do that little routine. And yet still…

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Since my operation on my right lung, and since I had some unfortunate deep impact trauma to the right side of my body last year, I’ve been - unknowingly - over compensating on my left. This surprised me: I’m all about the right, I always believe it to be luckier than my left which sounds bizarre sure, but in my mums culture, we accept everything in our right hand: fortune, gifts, a handshake - always in the right. If you accept it in the left, it’s considered not only rude but unlucky. So. The fact my “unlucky” side of my body has been taking care of me whilst my right side has been healing, is quite something. 

On just standing it was horridly evident how much my left was supporting my entire body. I’ve had the same said to me by my rather incredible osteopath who helped me work thorough pain management following the car crash. 

My entire first yoga session saw my right side having to work so much harder than my left. My left could do the more complex moves with ease, whilst my right struggled to even balance. 

I try not to let the bi annual lung check be a “thing” anymore, but this - this over compensation - reminds me my body still hasn’t cured (and I realise that car crash was an unfortunate addition) so it’s no wonder that sometimes, my thoughts haven’t cured themselves either. 

So here’s my big and bestest love-and-shout-out to the people helping to make my right side more pliable again and to those listening to me still bang on about that op I had almost two years ago and whatnot.

Life goes on though, eh?

Be good and bake well,

Lady Bakewell-Park

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