Seeing the World

Life has served up a fantastic opportunity to travel



The Funeral

Following my dad’s passing on the 18th July, we can now announce arrangements for his funeral.

The funeral will take place at Oldham Crematorium (in Hollinwood) at 11am on Friday 10th August. Anyone is welcome to come and pay their respects.

The address is:

Oldham Crematorium Within Hollinwood Cemetery
Hollinwood Cemetery, Roman Rd, Oldham OL8 3LU

We ask that people wear an item of royal blue , or an Oldham Athletic or Stockport County shirt.

We request that, in lieu of flowers, people make a donation to Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. Either addressed to:

G. Barlow and Sons Ltd., 17-19, Union Street West, Oldham. OL8 1DQ.

or to his Just Giving site

The wake will then take place at the Milan Bar, with the room available as long as is needed.

The address for the wake is:

Milan Bar
13 Elliott St, Lees, Oldham OL4 3DY



My Dad: A Thank You

At around 2:30am on Wednesday 18th of July my dad, Dave, passed away peacefully in his sleep.

He spent his final days in hospital surrounded by his family, friends and other loved ones – he laughed and smiled and said goodbye to us all in his way. Even in his final days, he never lost his sense of humour or cheeky grin and fought on as long as he could to soak up every moment he could manage.

On behalf of him and the family, I’d like to extend my thanks to everyone that has read his blog. From the amusement of the hooker in London to the sadness of his pain and low points, he throughly enjoyed sharing his experiences with you. Your comments and support never failed to lift him up and the support network it allowed him to form helped him battle on for this long. You made him feel like a superstar.

Today is a sad day, but we are happy that dad is at peace now. He had the best last days he could ask for and passed away without pain or suffering.

We will announce funeral arrangements once they have been made via his Facebook page.

Thanks for reading,

Dave’s family (written by Chris)

When Your Body Gives You Up

The green pyjamas of Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.  I’ve replaced mine with my own gear.  The Pink Floyd cricket tee shirt out shines local provision.

But that’s a reminder that I’m stuck.  Partly by fate of ill health.  It’s fair to say the desire of the hospital staff to clean me has increased.  Because at present I lack the capacity to cleanse myself.  A serious and hopefully reversible deterioration.

So I have been cleaned intimately by NHS strangers.  They were damned humerous and made the experience easy despite my feeling deeply embarrassed by the necessary situation.

Despite listening to Yorkshire accents I’ve had my head in the USA touring the Pacific Coast Highway.  Yes, been there, done it before.  Unlikely to get back to be honest.  And I am still in the town of Huddersfield.  So not quite the same.  But a great reminder of trips gone by and, even if my body is thinking about giving up, I’ve actually lived a little and shared the fun.

Maybe I can become me again.  But for now hospital bed, gloved NHS washers who are exceptional people and necessary health investigators too are my essential support.  I’m feeble and a long way from being anything else.  But the memories remain.

Huddersfield Hopsital: Luxury Accomodation

I’ve been in Huddersfield Royal Infirmary for going on 3 weeks now. It’s not quite British Airways 1st Class but they feed me. Chris and Louise brought me in with a suspected infection. The infection has now cleared but I still don’t have a clue where I’ve been. In my head I’ve done a tour of the North, from Liverpool to Leeds. In reality I’ve been stuck in Huddersfield with the occasional treat of a trip to leads for radiotherapy.

Today I’ve managed to find the slippers that were lost in one of my many room moves and Chris has reminded me that Oldham have been relegated. Bugger! Although the he tells me I’m lucky to have forgotten Northampton away. I’ve no memory of it!

I keep thinking of Anglesey, Scotland and junction 22 of the m62. All places I’ve been staying at in my head. Ironically, the doctors are confused about my confusion – Oncobabe seems to think it’s due to cancer spread to the membrane around my brain.

I’m tired and confused, but at least the pain is less severe.

The Where the Hell am I Moments

It couldn’t be simpler.  Go to hospital.  Get fixed.  Go home.

Except they can’t fix me.  And one day they won’t send me home.  And hospital disorientation is driving me absolutely nuts.

It’s not just which ward.  Or which hospial.  It’s which county.  I am regularly waking up not knowing where I am, what investigation or treatment I’m in for or where I’m going next.

Lacashire or Yorkshire.  Oldham or Rochdale.  Huddersfield, Halifax or Leeds.  I’m sure there’s somewhere else I’ve visited too along the way.

Im sure there are good financial reasons for a multi-centre approach to patient treatment.  But it’s not something that works well for me.  I feel like I need a foundation for my treatment.  A simple base.  At the moment I feel bewildered by where I’m going each day, who’s going to transport me and what’s going to happen at the end of the travel.  A lack of control and understanding about the whats and wheres.  I don’t care for the whys either!

And genuine confusion about the shape of my days as I’m shoved between wards, wings and completely different towns, while stacked up with morphine and various other drugs.  I thank the patience of those who I keep asking very similar geographical questions of.  Even if I’m not quite able to keep up with all the answers.

Nil by Mouth – I Ask For Soup

Oncobabe has referred me for a brain scan.  This is a slight concern as I’m banned from driving if it shows anything unpleasant.  What will be will be.

This morning has been one of over-relaxed bladder.  Not extreme, but a pressure I should have avoided using the cardboard devices supplied on ward.  This afternoon brings a new scan.  They suspect there’s nothing new to see, but want to check anyway.  My loopiness is not normal!

Then the luscious Rachel is scheduled to appear later to entertain me.  I’ve no idea what I must be putting her through, but I’m very glad she’s there.  I’d like to feel I’m still there for a good few years yet, but it’s not looking great.

Curtains have been opening and closing all morning.  Blood pressure has been tested at alarming regularity and my presence on the planet continues to feel like a blur as the drugs numb my faculties.

Is it Thursday or Friday?  I’ve just asked for soup.  I’m nil by mouth!  Cancelled!

There’s a Nutty Woman in my Room

For the second time in recent weeks, my personal space has been invaded by a nutty woman.  It’s 3am.  My cancer is flaring up in my pelvis.  I sit up on the side of my hospital bed to ease the pressure on it and stare out of a window through the blind slats.

The door to my private room, presumably an isolation room, opens.  I don’t have the ability to swiftly spin around but as the door opened the lady involved immediately addressed me with the words “it’s time for me to go, when are you going to let me out?”.

I know the NHS has a few vacancies on the books but I didn’t realise I’d been appointed to make such decisions during my tenure.

She takes a seat and starts demanding that I help her with her two heavy bags.  Sod that, I’ve travelled light and fear I’m going to struggle to carry my meagre bits and pieces home with me.

I politely said “I’m a patient and think you need to find assistance elsewhere”.  She muttered something and stayed seated for a couple of minutes.  I remained unmoved and didn’t look at her.  Eventually she left without speaking.

I seem to be attracting such situations.  But they’re certainly not a choice.

I have woken up groggy this morning but successfully made it to the bathroom.  I think my mind is clearer about where I am.  The doctor visited.  I recalled her from my September visit to the ward where she described by medical notes as making me the most unlikely man in the world to get a dose of lung cancer.  Still, she reckons they’ll discharge me this afternoon with some antibiotics.

I forgot to mention my nocturnal visitor.  I am fairly sure she was real though.


My Land of Confusion

Yesterday started well.  I woke up.  I then had a knock on my bedroom door.  Chris opened it.  A real shock because I had no recollection of him having stayed over, until I saw him.

Now I’ve certainly had memory lapses in the past, but this felt overwhelming.  Not remembering telling your son he could stay?  Weird!

In other news I’d agreed for Louise to visit me today.  Contacted her by telling her it was Saturday.  It just wasn’t.

Dave was not with it and was sharing the information well with his kids!  Even today, I’m not quite there.  It appears I had a temperature and some sort of infection. A series of nursing staff started asking me about my weeing abilities.  They’d become “unavailable ” to “run like Usain Boult or you will wet yourself”.

Regardless, I was in hospital, had company and was running a temperature.  Despite which, the bed didn’t feel in any way sweaty.

Breakfast arrived.  Porridge I think.  A trip out from Huddersfield infirmary to the hospital in Halifax to be assessed.  A suggestion that my growing confusion is down to a water infection.  Lovely.  Some IV antibiotics have since followed since my return to Huddersfield.  The body temperature has also moved up to 38.8 Celsius before subsequently reducing.  Good work antibiotics!  Pins and needles in my right leg have subsequently returned which is annoying me.

My thinking has gradually become more measured and less bizarre, so fingers crossed the amount of nonsense I’ve been thinking has reduced.  I’ve certainly suffered more jumbled thoughts in recent days.  They’re still not totally eradicated from my thinking but I’m more easily able to spot them and resist sharing them.

I still have my private ward.  I prefer it to more sociable areas and it’s easier to hear  my visitors.  I hate my one eared deafness!  I also quite enjoy the solitude option once the visitors leave.  The noise still echoes along the corridor but I feel happy in my own company while retaining the ability to talk to the outside world online.

I’m not sure what tomorrow will bring.  A CT scan is likely to help clear up any concerns about the cancer spread.  MRI and X-ray results are already outstanding.  I have found, even in hospital, the energy needed to get to and from these tests feels huge.  That’s with a porter pushing me!  I think there’s a chance they might discharge me.  But nobody has suggested this, so I’ll wait.  What a shame I no longer get £100 nightly for an NHS stay paid for by BUPA.

Ill probably sleep early again.  I’m sleeping longer most nights and while that probably isn’t a good thing I’ve not felt keeping myself awake is a good idea either.  Go with the flow.


Spaced Out

I’m not quite with it.  My ability to recall my plans for the day has become sketchy.  I can make a firm decision and within half an hour my mind has turned to mush and I have no recollection.

I don’t think it’s the drugs.  I just think my short term memory has desserted me.  Granted, it hasn’t been perfect for decades, but at the moment I can’t recall the general outline I’d put in place for the day.

This could become serious.  I was getting confused between rewriting my blog and seeing the doctor during the week.  Fortunately I avoided any potential embarrassment.  But finding a way to be a little more with it would be a good thing.


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