This post isn’t anything like the last one. I’m quite pleased with it, but it’s different.

There’s no lube. That’s what I’m saying.

You know what? I think I’m making this worse.

Today was my first day back at work. I got in, booted up my computer and hung my unicorn up on the wall.

His name is Toby.

Normal stuff.

Of course everyone asked about how my holidays were, and they were mostly pretty good, except for the hernia. That led to talking about the first near fatal hernia and cracking jokes about my many, many brushes with death.

Probably too many really. When I tried to count them I ran out of fingers and had to move on to toes.

Between accidents, illness and occasional malice I’ve nearly died more than a dozen times.

I’d like to think that’s all behind me now, but sometimes I’d like to think I look a bit like Ryan Reynolds and that’s just wildly untrue.

This has led to a fair bit of introspection. Actually it’s led to a fair bit of comfort eating but in between mouthfuls there’s been some introspection too. One of the things that cropped up over and over was that sometimes when death has been hanging around generally making a nuisance of itself, the difference between living and dying was made by something small.

And, just as importantly the difference between resilience and despair has again, been small things.

It’s been a friend sending me an advance copy of his book to read while I was in chemo.

It’s been my wife buying me silly things that she knows will make my day even if they make no sense to anyone else.

There has been more than one unicorn.

That’s why I have both Tony the unicorn and a framed picture of a pineapple on the wall at work.

It was my brother turning up at my place  to help me walk to the end of the drive when that was as far as I could go. And my parents sitting with me in chemo while all I could do was wheeze at them.

These things made that difference.

I’m saying all of this because I’m seeing a lot of people freaking out about where their world is at right now. And yep, for a lot of people things really suck right now for all kinds of reasons.

For some of them a part of that freak out is the feeling that they can’t do anything to help, and in a lot of situations they can’t help, not in the big powerful solve everything kind of way that we all wish we could offer at one point or another. But there are always small things. The little bits of help and comfort that don’t seem like much but can make all the difference in the world.

Of course if you CAN do a big thing, go do that, but if you can’t remember that just because you might not be able to do much doesn’t mean you can’t do anything.




This story is completely safe for work, despite what that title suggests.

A few days ago an ultrasound technician accidentally squirted half a bottle of cold lube into my underpants.

This stuff right here.

I was in getting an ultrasound because the site of my orchidectomy was hurting and I’m understandably nervous about any weird pains in that area.

Weirdly this pain didn’t feel like the cancer pain, it felt like a much older nearly fatal incident in my life. When I lived in Australia I had something called an incarcerated hernia, whereupon some of my guts slipped through a hole in my insides and then started to die.

I have a vivid memory of sitting in Sydney hospital listening with great interest as a very nice surgeon argued with a hospital administrator a room or so away. The admin guy was concerned that I had no insurance, and the surgeon was concerned that I was dying. In the end she said ‘I will take this boy (this was 15 years ago, I was 20) home and cut him open on my kitchen table if you don’t let me operate now’.

I always appreciated that. I still remember her name but I feel like I shouldn’t mention it on the internet.

That memory is also completely fabricated. It really happened, but I couldn’t possibly have heard it because I had passed out when that bit happened and only ever found out about it because my friend Josh told me afterwards. He had called me an ambulance and saved my life.

I had for some strange reason decided I was going to work despite all the pain I was in. I had gotten dressed and made it all the way down the stairs before the pain got so bad I had to go back inside.

I collapsed.

I still didn’t think to call an ambulance.

I’d like to say I’m older and smarter now but all the evidence suggests that I’m just older.

So with the all the death concentrated in one area of my body (more or less) when it started hurting I figured I should get it checked out* and a tired looking After Hours doctor had sent me off to get an ultrasound.

It didn’t start well.

A few doors down someone had a TV on and through the wall’s inadequate  sound proofing Sponge Bob Squarepants (The Movie) sounded an awful lot like someone had summoned a gaggle of enthusiastic demons to laugh at my pain.

Once we started there was an awful lot of juggling of towel, underwear and careful hand placement to protect the little that is left of my modesty. Then, because I’ve had so much surgery it was tough for the ultrasound tech to get a good idea of what was happening.

She got me to clench and re-clench my stomach muscles. Then at some point the ultrasound gun started to stick, so she went to add more of the supposedly warmed lubricant to the contact pad.

I do not know precisely what happened next.

I moved, she moved, and all at once my underwear was significantly colder and heavier.

I let out a sound I have never made before and hope to never make again and twitched, which sent a glob of unmoored lube sailing through the air to land in my hair.

Something I did not notice until I got home.

The upshot of all this is that I seem to have a very small hernia, not anything dangerous but I’ll probably need more surgery at some point. Which sucks, but is so far away from really bad news I’m pretty OK with it.

So, yeah, that’s how my 2017’s going so far.



* This is code for: My wife said ‘Andrew go to the Doctor’. See: older, not smarter.