Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Today I said goodbye to an old friend, who’s supported me and been around me for the past 31 years. He never did get me into the Welsh football squad but even so I hadn’t planned for our parting to be so sudden. Sometimes, though, life takes an unexpected course.

For the past 24 hours I’ve jumped (well, hopped really) at every form of sedation and medication available to try to make the hours pass as hazily as possible. Yesterday felt like waiting for an exam; that sick foreboding feeling in the pit of the stomach. Now, at least, it’s over and tomorrow – when I’m assured I’ll be allowed alcohol – I’ll open a bottle of champagne and celebrate life.

I’ve been avoiding using one word until now because it scares me but I think now’s the time to say it. Amputation. It’s such a brutal word, conjuring up images of below-deck surgery in blood-spattered operating theatres on navy tallships. But that’s what’s happened to me and now it’s over it doesn’t seem so bad. Rather than months of hobbling around on crutches and scores of slow and painful operations, hopefully it means a swift return to normality. So I’ll say it – a little gingerly for now but with increasing confidence. Amputation.

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