Woken up this morning by the screaming of the smoke alarm in the hallway outside the bedroom. My girlfriend leaps from the bed as if expecting it, and runs from the room. I groan and pull the covers over my head.
After using the shower the bathroom fills up with hot water vapour. If the bathroom door is left open it takes a couple of minutes for the warm mist to trigger the alarm. Our friend stayed with us last night and had not been informed of the oversensitive alarm. Nothing to worry about.
After a few moments the screaming subsides, my girlfriend gets back into bed and I am able to drift back to an early morning slumber. Seconds or minutes pass and the alarm on my mobile phone has a go at drawing attention to itself. It succeeds and is just out of reach on a table, causing a hideous wooden drilling sound as it vibrates across the surface. I reach out, press snooze and stuff it under the pillow to dampen the vibrations.
Five minutes exactly later and the alarm starts again. This time in my sleep I have pulled the pillow onto my head and the phone is pressed against my check. The power-tool vibrations buzz directly into my brain via the zygomatic bone. My hand flings itself at my face in a desperate grab for the phone. My eyes spin and twist in a struggle to focus and my fingers wiggle and fing as they mash the phone buttons helplessly. Thankfully the noise ceases.
I open my mouth to speak, but dehydration has crept over my lips, across gums and tongue, and is crawling down my throat like a horrific parasitic monster. The monster speaks, “Ak urgh ak ak”. My glass of water is almost empty and I half expect a mouthful of wet moth as I gulp blindly. Moth free and moistened I feel mildly improved. While I clamour around the floor beside the bed looking for my glasses and a pen and paper, my girlfriend has been out of the room, on the computer and returned with cheery words about cancer.
Her ex-employer is currently suffering bladder cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. She went to the doctor worried about a UTI, and within a week has had her bladder removed. She seems to be battling through it. Another previous work colleague discovered she had cancer and almost immediately died. It’s terrible how these things can happen. My immediate reaction, given the ugly awakening I have had today, is to make this terrible news somehow about me. To start worrying about how cancer could affect me, to run through every possible ailment either of us ever noticed and what might metastasise. Bloody hell, what a self-indulgent and sorry start to the day.
Brushing my teeth and having a cup of tea will fix my troubles. Donating to The Christie Charity will help to fix other peoples.