It has now gone a little over one year since I became ill. The time since then has been a bit of a roller-coaster ride with good days and not-so-good days. Fortunately, most have been good days. The initial information was hard to take in. I could easily have quoted John McEnroe “You cannot be serious”. There I was, in the prime of life (60 is, after all, the new 30) being told that I have a life-threatening condition that will require surgery, radiation treatment, chemotherapy and some other stuff as well.
I quickly learnt about my condition, its’ consequences and treatment and came to terms with having to live with it. Being on sick leave is quite challenging. In the middle of a pandemic this is made worse by not being allowed to meet with friends and family as much as I would like. Coping with the isolation and constant tiredness has meant that a good deal of time has been spent in front of the television. The European football championships and Olympic games have been a great help.
One programme which caught my attention, normally, I would have avoided it, has been “Naked and afraid”, where a group of contestants are left alone (with a camera team, sound team and production team, and probably a team of expert advisors and medical support) with no food, clothing or equipment, in a wilderness where they try to survive for a period ranging from 21 to 60 days.
Being an American programme, all expressions of foul language are censored with a beep and all anatomical naughty bits (check the goodies series from the 1970s) are pixelated. For the same reason, I doubt that is any major risk to the participants due to possible litigation in the event of a lion attack or similar incident.
The interesting part of the series is to see how the participants use their knowledge and ingenuity to secure food, water, and safe accommodation. In general, the series looks at how different individuals react to and cope with being in a very demanding situation.
I relate to this series because I also feel exposed to unknown dangers in a similar way. Fortunately, I get to keep my clothes, with the exception of a pair of hospital underpants (see earlier blog), food and other luxuries. I also have access to a fantastic support crew comprising the nurses, doctors, technicians, physiotherapists and other hospital support staff. Finally, I have my family and friends, who despite not being there physically, have given me a huge amount of support and encouragement throughout this time.
Thanks to all of you. I will pay you back by sticking around and continuing to be as irritating as possible.