Today I sat with Yashobodhi in the lovely ornamental garden outside St. Thomas’ Hospital.  NHS staff with name tags ate lunch on the  benches and walls around the fountain.  I looked up at the tenth floor ward I which I had recently experienced major sensory challenge with the constant sounds and sights of new patients, at times pitifully ill.  Today it was sunny and warm, and the Thames flowed strong and deep between us and the Houses of Parliament on the other bank with the strangely familiar sound of Big Ben.  I ate a Victoria sponge muffin and pulled at a latte from M&S. 

We listened to a detailed voice note from an old friend, Amitashuri, who is now a hospital chaplain with a lot of personal experience of palliative care. I had asked her advice. She has suffered multiple serious illnesses and I’m amazed that she manages to live such a varied, effective life.  Last time I saw her we were co leading a retreat at Rivendell with Indrabodhi, sitting on the carpet of the teachers’ room with pots of paint, watching him sketch out a Wheel of Samsara for the following day’s teaching.  

Behind us in the garden the London Eye bore its capsules of tourists imperceptibly through the blue sky. Amitashuri’s soft Scots advised details of drug scenarios likely to happen to me.  I was grateful for the kindness.  She had had a busy day and it was getting on for midnight when she recorded the message. As we listened my tongue, of itself, played endlessly with a tooth.  The top right wisdom tooth, along with others, has been loosened from the upper jaw, by some aspect of the cancer process. Five minutes into the long message and it actually came right out.  No blood and hardly any root was to be seen.