16 december 2019






school photos







           All original writing



2014, 2015, 2016,

2017, 2018, 2019

Ian McLauchlin


In May 2018 daughter brought round a meal. It had some red cabbage in it. How generous and thoughtful. Wee turned a bit pink. Oh it’s the red cabbage. But it happened a few other times and red cabbage definitely wasn’t involved. Took me till end of June to decide something wasn’t right. Decided to take a sample to GP. “Is it red cabbage?” No blood. Good job you came to see me.

“Are you free in the next week or so? We need to rule out cancer.” You don’t mean ‘rule out’ you mean ‘check whether’ don’t you. He looked away, said nothing but smiled. “We need to check bladder, kidneys and everything else around there. What else could there be?

To find anything else, I had to drink gallons of water before an ultrasound examination of bladder and kidneys and then an Xray.  They were getting me ready for ultimate bladder control required later on. . .

There then followed an urgent cystoscopy.

You arrange a lift into hospital - ever helpful daughter again. Leave any remaining dignity at the door. I saw a large pile. Change into gown with holes for about three arms. I chose just two of mine and selected a hole or three. Waited alone. Waited some more. Looked at the leaflets in a rack on the wall. What to do if . . . .  And there was a whole range of undesirable outcomes but luckily not one that said ‘No hope’. After a long time they asked me to come in, ignore the mess, lie down on this table here, lift your gown all the way up to here and ignore the presence of several females plus the odd male who was there for a laugh.

You switch off. It’s got to be done, so you do it. They grabbed it and inserted a tube. Injected a bit of anaeshetic. Inserted a long tube, with things on the end, including nurses. They gathered round. There was a screen and you could see right up the urethra and into the bladder. Note ‘the’. It was mine but it was also theirs too and you surrendered to them.

Oh look, there’s the tube which leads to the left kidney! Oh look, there’s the tube which leads to the right kidney. So far so good. Look out, there’s the Circle Line. And finally oh look, there are two growths between bladder and prostate. Wow. They all took selfies but I wasn’t included. They filled the bladder with water to open it up. Looks like transitional cell carcinoma, whatever that is. Then, for an encore, the usual prostate examination by sticking a finger up your bum. Luckily it wasn’t my finger but the female consultant’s. You’re past caring by this stage. “We need to take samples.” What now? “Oh no, you need to be asleep for that. And we can’t find our hammer . . . .”

Good job there was all that absorbent wadding underneath as a bladder full of water emptied itself when they removed their instruments. When they’d finished wiping up the mess, they helped me to sit up. Totally devoid of even the last vestige of dignity, I staggered out to get dressed. There were more leaflets but nothing to help with total loss of self-respect . . . . .

It was then that I noticed warnings everywhere. Adverts on the TV and even in Tesco’s:

On to the next stage . . . . . .