12 March 2020 – 07:11 GMT – 3°C Mostly Sunny – Co. Dublin, Ireland
I found a travel book on the beside table in a friend’s house. We were visiting Offaly where another guest had left it behind, judging from the stamped but unsent postcard bookmark. I read the first chapter and was hooked. How could you not become fascinated by the rescue of a gay leper? Or want to know more about an immortal Yogi? And my architectural hero Lutyens features in the story when in Delhi.
We too left it behind as you’d expect and my wife bought the book for my birthday. I suppose I should mention that she purchased it sitting in the passenger seat of the car when we were driving home the next day. And since it was out of print, she had to search for a place that would sell a used copy and post it to her. All this online service available at 120 km an hour in rural Ireland. “A Journey Through India” by Manchán Magan is a must read for anyone who travels to broaden their horizons.
And the book was delivered early. Which was fortuitous. It allowed me to lend it to a friend who was seriously ill in hospital. And I’m pleased to say that reading this insane travelogue cheered her up. And then the pandemic. I sent a message to her after she’d returned the book:
>>“Hope to see you sometime soon. In order for that to happen, you need to self-isolate since you are probably not in the highest risk category rather in the extremely high risk cohort. And you know it. Explore the online world. Take up gaming. Create an audio book. Write out your frustrations and have a sociopathic defrocked priest murder a family of four migrants in Carlow due to delayed PTSD from his time with the UN in the Congo … in rhyme As Gaeilge to minimise reputation damage …”
<<“You read my mind!
How did you know about my plot?
Except it was Kenya.
And the Mau Mau.”
Now it’s my birthday. I’m reading about India. The Rome walk is still on. Pending health rules.
And I’m discharged from prostate care. That was a sad day. My family all gathered in the hospital while I was discharged. Problem was that the gathering wasn’t for me but our eldest daughter who an hour earlier was diagnosed with breast cancer. She’s just 39 and it was caught earlyish. Her prognosis is good but her specific treatment is a year’s regime of chemo and surgery with a wait-and-see on radio.
And today we learned that it’s Stage 1 Grade 3 breast cancer. Entering the hospital to see her consultant was like getting into a maximum security prison. Now between pandemic and recent changes noted in the cancer, the chemo plan has been changed. Her immune suppression is more imminent. And the pandemic hasn’t peaked yet. And surgery may be earlier, depending on how the chemo goes.
And we know of another cancer victim for whom a potential life saving surgical intervention has been postponed. Indefinitely. Another for whom self-isolation without surgery is considered safer than risking a post-operative infection, potentially deadly because of the immunity suppression.