Bangkok – reflections and apologies

I have an apology to make.

In my defence, it has been an intense, stressful and exhausting week.  Physically, emotionally and everythingly.  But still, that is no excuse.  Just a smidgen more of care and attention, and I would have realised. And not made a few other bloopers too.

Monday was a long day.  The evening saw our writing group come together to wish our good friend Becky in Burma well as she moves on.  While burying at least my own head in the denial which accompanies the departures of dear friends.  There was little sleep, as I had a very early start on Tuesday and a 4.30 am departure to the airport for a short visit to Bangkok, crammed with meetings, discussions and tasks to do.  Plus it was the 49th day since my father’s death, which weighed heavily on my mind and heart.  The first flight of the day into Bangkok was on a smaller plane than the usual commuters, so took a little longer and flew at a lower altitude.  We landed pretty much on time, but not long before my first meeting.  With only carry on luggage, I swept through arrivals, zipped through immigration, stopped fleetingly at the ATM and belted down to the airport train link into town.  I arrived, late of course, and aching after dragging the bags across the city.  Even an mobile little carry on bag is wearisome when it has to be carted up and down stairs in such a warm and humid climate.  Never mind, meetings and discussions ensued, as did lunch and more discussions into the afternoon.  At some point I reached into my card wallet to pay for something, and immediately noticed something missing.  My bank card.  Now using bank cards is still a novelty and something I have not yet done in Myanmar, so my poor little card always suffers in Bangkok and is pleased to retire again when it returns home.  And here it was.  Or rather, wasn’t. It was missing.  My palms were sweating, hands shaking and mind racking back to the ATM transaction.  Yes, I had been in such a rush and so set on getting to my destination as soon as possible, that I had blindly left the card in the machine.  Any free minutes there might have been were spent on the phone to the bank, cancelling the card and trying to absorb the fact that a replacement can not be sent yet for security reasons.

The next day, Wednesday started with another early morning, and saw me departing on the Sky Train again to the next meetings.  Again with the carry on bag.  Again dragging it up and down the stairs and along the streets in the heat.  Immediately after the meeting, I was again back on the Sky Train and airport link and checking in for my return flight.  As I sank into the seats in the lounge waiting for my flight, I worked my way through emails and bits and pieces of work.  And in a rash moment, put up a quick Facebook update saying that  I seemed to be “back at the airport, after a crazy 17 hours in Bangkok, bracing for more of the same……….“.  Well, first of all I can’t count and in my exhausted state did not realise that I had been in Bangkok for much longer.  For a whole 30 hours in fact.  And the “more of the same” referred to a gruelling schedule awaiting me on my return.  I was soon boarding, travelling back and finally back home I collapsed into my chair with a very much needed mug of tea later that evening.

When I later flitted online, before sleeping, I realised that my rash update had brought a swathe of panic and concern.  Unexpected, rushed visits to Bangkok are indelibly associated with one thing.  The cancery thing. And family and friends were seeking urgent clarification.

Happily I was able to reassure this time.  But it brought home abruptly to me yet again, that once that line in the sand has been crossed, there has been a shift.  That shift is very much in our own perspective, but also ripples out not so gently to those close to us.  A simple fly-in fly-out visit to Bangkok had turned into a major panic.  All about cancer.Bangkok reflections

So I have an apology to make. I am sorry that a lack of thought on my part, brought worry and distress to people who care.  I am sorry that they had to go through that unnecessarily. But do you know what?  I am not going to take all the responsibility for that on my own shoulders .  No, because there is one nasty element which is at the root of it all.  And that is cancer.  Trying to raise its ugly head and revive fear and distress.

And I have yet to hear any apology forthcoming from cancer in any form whatsoever.

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16 thoughts on “Bangkok – reflections and apologies

  1. Indeed! Where is that long-overdue apology from cancer? I made the same mistake you did–posted on FB “Here we go again” from the oncologist’s office while waiting for my routine follow-up. My seemingly innocent message brought panic to my friends who made the same leap yours did. Stupid cancer.

  2. It is yet another example of how we have to do things a bit differently now. It is so tedious that we have to think about this before posting throwaway comments. My immediate response to seeing your “back at the airport …” post was the “oh no” one but then I thought about it and decided that if it was because of a scare, you’d have been phrasing it differently for the very reason that you’d not have wanted to worry people! Topsy-turvey thinking brought about by the non-apologetic cancer. E xx

    • Thanks E – you have put it beautifully. The fact that the most banal of comments has all these potential undercurrents. And your analysis was spot on – if there had been something going on, then I would have worded it much more carefully. Or more likely, not posted at all, and certainly not before speaking with family first. Rude, stupid cancer. xx

  3. You’ve had a hellacious week, sweetie. Cut yourself a break. I know all of your friends/family have. Much love and best of luck with the bank card thing. BTW, I blame cancer for that, too. ; ) – double_whammied

    • I LOVE this! Rude, stupid, thieving cancer stole my bank card 🙂 Actually, chemobrain probably did have more than a little part to play so it is not that tenuous. Thanks for making me laugh out loud 🙂

  4. You have absolutely nothing to apologize for! Like Kathleen said you have been through so much. It’s time to love yourself and you can’t control when others worry about you. You know it’s because they care but you did nothing to cause such alarm. Everyone understands how cancer invades in so many ways. I also hope you are doing loving things for yourself.

  5. Cancer doesn’t give us that apology, does it? Using my mobile device I thoughtlessly checked into my cancer center through Facebook. It was for a routine treatment. But immediately three people responded in a panic, wondering why I checked in. I felt bad about it, but cancer did not apologize to me, either. Be gentle on yourself! I try to be.xo

    • Thanks Jan, and isn’t that just the thing – we feel bad for something which in itself is not a big thing, but which has been distorted because of our cancer experience. You continue to be gentle on yourself and take good care, hugs to you

  6. Hey Philippa – but did you get your card cancelled in time/new one sent? And did you take that magic photograph of the temple reflected in the building?

    • Hi there S 🙂 The banking nightmare continues, and took many units of my Thai sim 😦 Still the card is cancelled. Getting a new one is tricky………….

      Yes, the photo is one I took as the sun was sinking. I think it is a shopping mall reflected rather than a temple though 😉 and it is reflected in the tall building where our office is based in BKK.

      Thanks for your comment 🙂 xxx

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