28 October 2007

Patient by Ben Watt

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In 1992, Everything But The Girl's Ben Watt was taken to hospital for chest pains. Some months and a few very serious operations later he came home 20 kilos lighter and missing metres and metres of small intestine.

"(...) The little things we're in for turn out to be not so little after all. An endoscopy. A laparoscopy. A miscarriage. Keyhole surgery. 'It's nothing,' they say. But they all bring invasion."

One third into this amazing book, I felt really sick and wondered whether I should really read on, being so scared of hospitals and operations and various body fluids as I am. But a while later that passed and some sort of numbness took over. I suppose it's just as it would seem when it happens to you - you start out afraid and frustrated by the fact that you have no control and it's all in the hands of health care, but then you somehow learn (or are forced) to bear with it.

"I looked forward to simple, basic things - dry, clean sheets; the feeling of leaning back on freshly pumped pillows; the moment of unwrinkling my brow."

Similar to the tiniest things you have to force yourself to remember you love about life when you have decided to live after having wanted to die, I guess; something I wrote about in a dialogue some years ago: "Ärmmudden på en stickad tröja. Knappt skönjbara stavfel. Värmen i en hunds ljumske."

Ben Watt gets to shower for the first time in weeks after his first operations:

"I feel like a rare animal saved from extinction. I am tiny. A marsupial."

Go buy it.

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