Irony upon irony.
In the UK, we are in the middle of an extreme heatwave.
Irony upon irony. It never rains but it pours.
Last Wednesday, torrential rains started in western Germany triggering deadly floods. At the time of writing, the German death toll is 188, with around 1,300 missing and an estimated 31 dead in Belgium. Poor old Belgium always gets forgotten.
And let’s not even mention the current Covid infection rate. Yet.
Irony upon irony.
The newspapers here in the UK are billing today as ‘Freedom Day’ when most Covid restriction in England are lifted. Yet the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and, yes, the Health Minister are all quarantining lest they have or spread Covid..
And, as ‘Freedom Day’ – freedom from Covid day – approached, there was a large surge in Covid cases which continues.
But more important to me, in my own little world, is that my vertigo returned with a vengeance this morning at 5.00am and I have been in bed all day. If I lie in bed on my right side – ie with my right ear on the pillow, it is like the inside of my head is being pulled apart by centrifugal force while I am spinning round on a phenominally fast fairground ride.
But the importance of anything is comparative.
In Germany: 188 flood deaths seems very bad… But they have had 91,370 Covid deaths.
I have vertigo again, but…
About a week ago, comedy critic Kate Copstick sent me an email saying that comedian Mark Dean Quinn had been hospitalised by a stroke and was paralysed down one side.
And London-based Italian performer Joe Palermo had had a heart attack.
Joe lived. So did Mark.
After a week, Mark Dean Quinn was back at home. His speech was still slightly slurred, but he was able to cut two eggs, two onions, two tomatoes and open two jars… though it took him 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, before all that, on 8th July, Copstick had also told me about 87-year-old London-based American comic Lynn Ruth Miller. Copstick wrote:
Lynn Ruth Miller had what she calls a “mild” heart attack last week.
She is leaving hospital today.
That is not the worst of it.
She has been told she has oesophageal cancer. A large, ulcerated tumour which is wrapped around her oesophagus. Inoperable, they said.
She cannot eat solids.
They can operate to put a stent into the oesophagus to stop it closing completely BUT they are not happy about surgery because of her age.
She is talking to them on Tuesday to discuss treatment options – chemo or radiation.
She is continuing to do her gigs.
I talked to Lynn Ruth after that billed Tuesday NHS appointment.:
“How did it go with the doctors?” I asked.
“I am getting the same runaround you are from the NHS,” she said. “I am unable to eat food and I am unable to sleep. They keep postponing the consultation that will tell me exactly what kind of cancer I have and what they can do about it – and they are doing nothing at all about it. I have to find out what kind of cancer it is and what stage it is at first before I can fight it and they keep moving the date forward.
“I do not know what to do or where to turn. I do not want to die just because no-one got around to figuring out how I can eat and sleep but that is exactly what is happening.
“I do know if I don’t get some help pretty soon I won’t make it and I want to make it very very badly.
“In other news there is a dead rat stinking up my kitchen and I cannot find it.”
I got in touch with her again today.
“I have been complaining about the symptoms since mid May,” she told me. The NHS has known about this cancer since the end of June because it showed up on a CT scan when I went to A& E.
“On July 2 I had the mild heart attack and, while I was having it, darling, I made the bed, brushed my teeth, did my etc and dressed properly, got the coffee ready and then collapsed.
“When they took me into A&E (for a second time) the doctor knew what was wrong and said: You had a heart attack and you have oesophageal cancer…
“WHY DIDN’T THEY TELL ME THAT AT THE END OF JUNE? I might have avoided the heart attack!
“In all this time, NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING has been done to treat the fact that my oesophagus is closed and I cannot eat solid food and it is getting worse. I have lost about 12 pounds and am losing more every day.
“I have told them that and they have increased the pain meds (they are working).
“I now have a ton of meds for my heart, but nothing for my digestive problem and, when I was in the hospital, the dietician couldn’t get it through her head that I really really really cannot chew or swallow ANYTHING… They kept giving me Heinz’s cream of chicken soup.
“So the bottom line is I can’t eat solid food and I cannot sleep because the pain is keeping me awake. Without food and sleep one dies… I am not in the mood to go this soon. I have a lot more trouble I want to cause.
“I also have a LOT of morphine I am planning to sell on the street to finance going private. Who do you know?
“Tomorrow I am supposed to get a diagnosis. I still do not have an oncology doctor or a gastroenterology doctor or a diagnosis.
“They have put off telling me three times.
“And this is socialized medicine!
“What has this world come to?”