Latest posts by Martin Moodie (see all)
- Splendid isolation in Bangkok - December 5, 2022
- Why the Wai beats the handshake every time in the COVID era - December 1, 2022
- Discovering the lure of luxury at Hong Kong Airport and with Le Clos at DXB - November 25, 2022
In Kurt Vonnegut Junior’s epic novel Slaughterhouse-Five the phrase “So it goes” follows every mention of death (and there are many). The device, which on one level satirically depicts the narrator Billy Pilgrim’s growing immunity to mass death (the novel was inspired by the Dresden bombings in 1945), is also used via its repetition to keep an awful tally of the cumulative force of death and to point out its inevitability.
As readers of this Blog know, I have been close to death before, back in 2010. I thought I would have to wait longer than January 2016 to walk into its dark embrace once more. But in recent days I have felt its clutches, fleetingly and yet perhaps even more closely this time. As I surfaced from a 5-hour operation last Tuesday I believed I was drowning in a bubble, my medics and family unable to see or hear me as I tried to surface. No matter how much I flailed or panicked they could not hear me nor set me free from the bubble that encased me. And then, suddenly, I was up above the surface, bursting to life, panicking, relieved, telling my startled children what I had just experienced. Morphine-ridden, I was hallucinating wildly but I was safe.
That day seems like another lifetime. Perhaps it was. Today I am sitting up at my latest Moodie ‘Bureau’, at the Hammersmith Hospital in West London. Heart attack units are not places to be, for you or your loved ones, but they do bring people back from the dead. And they do scream out, as they did with me, “No, this one doesn’t go.” My body is battered, my breath short so I will keep this Blog short. But it is my own small achievement to be able to articulate it in my mind and find the strength to type it on my keyboard.
I am going home soon, perhaps as early as tomorrow, Tuesday latest I hope. This time there will be the drastic rethink that many urged on me back in 2010. I had known something like this was coming. I suppose my rather melancholy blog of early January predicted it. I could almost hear the footsteps of death coming, even told my family about it. I just didn’t know those steps were right behind me.
There is no person deemed ‘well’ in this ward. I have seen so much pain and courage in recent days. I have listened to the desperate, bereft, broken cries in the night as no doubt my fellow patients and nurses have listened to mine. I have been treated with so much courtesy by nurses, ward assistants and doctors, who have to work under the most difficult conditions possible. They put the ‘stress’ I deal with into the insignificant perspective it deserves.
It’s time to leave this place, take the dance with death for the warning it was and grasp that great glugging, bursting to the surface opportunity that is life once more.
I have had numerous e-mails, texts, calls and skype messages over recent days. I (or my daugher Sinead) have replied to some. I will reply to all in coming days once I am home. Good morning my friends. Never did the grey, dismal January skyline of London ever look more beautiful or the opportunity to reach out to you seem so bountiful.