Dad dying of cancer. Lying in bed in his striped pyjamas, telling us Bible-stories. He thinks God's testing him, said Mum, so he won't go to the doctor. But he went to a London hospital in the end. Neighbours taking care of us. Mum coming home late. No more church on Sundays.

It won't be cancer, because the blood tests were normal. Tap my chest. Nothing. Just a slight tense feeling. Something digestive. I'll have that endoscopy. They won't find anything. Maybe diverticulitis, or irritable bowel syndrome. Whatever those are. Hiatus hernia. Helicobacter pylori. It's probably stress-related. As soon as I phoned the out of hours service I felt better. Lying on a couch in hospital reading David Copperfield - it was a holiday. Riding home on the bus afterwards, a special bus that went a long way round because it was Sunday. Only four or five other people on board. That's the most relaxed I've felt in years. I need to change my life.

Back Next