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Thursday, 28 October 2010

Plumbing for beginners.

They’ve made a real effort in here, none of those late 50’s early 60’s institutional colours, plastic seats, and the feeling of being a bad boy at school waiting for the cane.

Instead the ceiling arcs gracefully across a space that could be an airport or a university or a huge restaurant. There are TV’s displaying hospital information and BBC news, tropical trees in large pots, brushed steel handrails that I think have been nicked from Waterstone’s and Scandinavian style wooden floors. There’s even a string quartet playing live.

It’s a really good effort to make you feel less under threat. The receptionist was a bit of a Snow Queen; but to be fair she was efficient and she was doing her job. You can’t have everything can you.

I’m called through into a consulting room by the Stoma specialist – last seen when I had the operation to disembowel me.

But today I feel no fear, and I do not fear the future. I have been through enough to realise that I will survive and that life can be even better. So I feel absolutely OK.

Such a difference to this time a year ago when I was chronically ill and actually in danger of slipping off the disc of existence. I can’t believe how much I have changed. I am quite different.
She talks me through the reconstruction operation. You may know all this already but in case you don’t here’s the plan (There are some gory bits so look away if you don’t want to encounter that)

Imagine a hosepipe, and imagine taking half an arm’s length and bending it into a U shape. Now imagine slitting the pipe along the sides that touch. The edges could now be joined together to make something a bit like a long sporran. Now imagine all that again but this time it is my small gut.

They can do that and make a sporran or pouch out a part of my small gut. The bottom part of that is attached to your out-pipe. The top part is more complicated.

That part is not fully severed from the remainder of the small gut but kind of half sliced, and the pipe bent in two. Thus waste can escape out of the sliced section. This is turned into a new stoma with the route down and out temporarily unavailable.

Then it’s a matter of waiting for a few months for the down and out part to heal up while still being an “ostopath”.

Once it’s all healed up (and I’ve been to Glastonbury to feel the vibe) they do a few tests – nothing compared to the horrors of the past, and then, if all is OK, Its simply a matter of sewing up the half cut gut and . . .

 . . . .You have full 100 mb / sec broadband connection.

So not this Christmas – next Christmas I could be on the road back home.

It’s a long journey that I never wanted to take, but along the way I have learned I can take any shit and still survive.

I remain.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

How en trancing.

look into my eyes

“Corpus insurance, Kelly speaking, how may I help you?

“Ah hello, I’m trying to get a quote for some public liability cover . . . I’m studying Hypnotherapy and we have to get public liability insurance . . .”

“Hypnotherapy . . . remind me what that is”

“Well. . . the client sits in a chair and I talk to them . . . relax them until they are very deeply . . . relaxed and then –um offer them therapeutic suggestions”

“They’re asleep”

“No, they’re in a trance”

“A trance.”


“Hang on I’m just going to run this one past my supervisor.”


The sound of music, up beat, a bit brassy. Time passes and I stare without focus at my computer and go into a bit of a dream. I’m brought suddenly out of my reverie by an abrupt end to the music and Kelly’s rather loud voice scything its way along the line. The words strung together with the rat-a-rat of a machine gun. Intoned like an incantation.

“OK just a few questions, but first I’m obliged to inform you that you must answer all questions truthfully and accurately to the best of your knowledge, some calls are recorded for training purposes, and in accepting this you agree to the receipt of occasional promotional material. Is that OK?”

“I just want a quote really”

“I know I have to ask you these questions to work out a quote for you”


“Will you be using heat?”

“What? Er No”

“Working on a stage?”

“No it’s not like that”

“Using any medicinal substances?”


“Radioactive materials?”

“No – not at all”

“Strobe Lights?”


“Music at a high volume?”

“No – no music – its not like tat at all, they are sitting in a chair in my house or maybe their house, I just talk to them and . . .”

“They’re asleep right?”

“No they’re in a trance state. . . it’s . . .”

“What I’m going to do is take your number and get back to you on this one, what’s your landline number?”

Well, she said she would ring me back later that day. So far no call, but that’s all right because I found another company – Holistic Insurance.
No problem, completely understood. I’m now insured.

As part of the course I have to find practice subjects and work with them – fly solo as it were, and my first flight is tomorrow. I’ll tell you how it goes. . .

The world turns, and sun rises and falls again. . .

A friend of mine has volunteered to be a practice subject, and with characteristic punctuality he hammers my door quite forcefully and rings the door bell for good measure. I open the door and let him in.

Chit chat first it’s interesting to talk to him. Very. But perhaps I’m putting off the moment of my solo flight. So soon it's time to get on with it.

The weirdest bit is the transition from talking normally to starting the induction. It has to be a smooth cross fade. Not some ham fisted yank of the faders. I decide to go for the explicit but understated approach.

He closes his eyes and I hope his extremely busy mind relaxes. I think it does. I’m talking through a series of manoeuvres that I have remembered. Hoping I’m not missing something out.

Of course it’s a little odd at first, but soon it feels (for me at least) a good deal better. But I know I’m not giving as much space as I have done in practice sessions.

30 minutes later he emerges from the experience. He says he feels more relaxed. That’s good. He’s also been analysing and decoding what I have said - I expected no less from him. But that means that the conscious mind has been in play, and that of course blocks access to the unconscious mind. I am frustrated with myself for that. On the other hand it’s exactly what happened to me and I really wanted and needed some help. So maybe its OK.

Next time . . .  I will get better at this.

Friday, 1 October 2010


A while ago I decided to train as a Hypnotherapist, as described in my previous post “Does this sound weird?

This was for two reasons:

1) It helped me deal with the sharp steel and porcelain of the medical establishment, offering a refuge, and a way to cultivate tools in my own mind to encounter the challenge.

2) I had a great desire to learn and practice something new and useful. I had been involved with film and video production for years, and I love that still. but I feel - as we surely all do - that there are many other areas and experiences to be had. In fact I have lived many of these already. But I was searching for something new.

So at last the time has come. Last Saturday I started on the journey. It’s a really fascinating experience both to be in a hypnotic trance and to put others into one. I think there is a great overlap here with meditation and some of the issues discussed in the blog “Mindfulness and Mortality” by Gloriamundi, which, as you can see from my blogroll (to the right of the screen), I’m following.

I had been put into a trance before, but not in a circumstance in which I analysed the trance itself. On the course we were all put into a trance using an induction that described a journey through a landscape. You may have experienced similar things in areas such as theatre training.

Anyway, afterwards we were asked how long this took, and my guess was four minutes (logically not really possible – but I think I was still slightly en-tranced) the truth was it was more than twenty minutes. I could hardly believe this.

It was also so odd to talk to someone, and watch them first of all relax, as you might expect, but then to start slumping slightly forwards and to one side, see their skin slacken, and the jaw become loose. Of course we are a self selecting group with good reasons to be compliant, but there was more going on than that.

Now I have to find about five people to do a relaxation induction with before the next session. At the moment that's all we are allowed to do. That is quite a daunting task when you think of it. I think it will be easier to work with people who are known to me, but not really close friends and family, as the fear is that they will just laugh at me because they know me too well. I think a certain distance would be helpful.

There were many other fascinating insights and experiences, and many more to come. I will keep you posted.

So that’s the way it is with me. Just wanted to keep you up to date.

Thanks as well to all the people who have donated so far to the Crohn’s & Colitis UK charity. (See the widget- top right)

I remain