Wednesday, 4 April 2007


I’ve finally found something I’m good at. After inauspicious start i.e rehearsals, my debut on the stage in the role of Lavinia Reader, chav wife and dominatrix extraordinaire, was quite honestly, staggering.
Now this might have had something to do with the fact that the week leading up to the performance had been an anxious one indeed. My 11 year girl, who has been suffering with an inflamed and painful knee for years, recently had an MRI scan to find out the cause. This was quickly followed up by another more intrusive MRI scan, this time involving a dye injected into the blood stream. I thought nothing of it until a brisk letter followed the MRI with an appointment for a biopsy. Like many people and for obvious reasons, I do not like the word biopsy at all; my anxiety levels on reading the appointment letter were out in orbit.
I rang the orthopaedic consultant’s secretary to find out what an earth was going on. “I’ll get him to call you Mrs Band”, she said.
“Please do”, I implored, “I’m sick with worry”. If I’d expected a jolly phone call from the consultant letting me know there was nothing to worry about then I was much mistaken. He rang later that day. “Ah Mrs Band. The radiologist found something she didn’t like the look of on the MRI. She took your daughter’s case to a meeting and they decided a biopsy was the only way forward to rule out a tumour”. By this point I was clutching the kitchen counter.
“But it doesn’t make sense”, I cried, “She’s had a bad knee for years; surely if it was something more sinister she’d be a very sick child indeed”.
“I’m sure you’re right Mrs Band but we can’t take any chances.”
Hubby, for once understanding the gravity of the situation, stayed at home an extra day to accompany his, by now frenzied wife to the biopsy appointment. The usual debacle of trying to find a parking space preceded any hospital treatment and half an hour after arriving in the grounds of Derriford Hospital, we eventually took our seats in X-Ray East.
My poor little girl, it was not a pleasant procedure but over soon enough. The chap performing the biopsy told her to rest her leg that day but she would be in school “tomorrow”. Ha! This was Monday, on Friday her leg was still of balloon proportions, very painful and she was hobbling. This did nothing to allay my fears of something very serious indeed and that afternoon I took myself to see my local nurse practioner. When you are without a mother this, I have found is what you have to do if you are in dire need of a cuddle and a “There, there”. The nurse in question is especially warm and empathic, and did not fail in comforting me.
Two hours later, Hubby arrived home, I gave him instructions on what to feed the kids, what time he had to be at the school for the play and putting my costume, a couple of blonde wigs and enough coleslaw to feed 76 people (the audience were being fed during the interval) into the boot of my car, I went to join my cast.
Walking into the Green Room (or computer suite for wont of another word), I found my fellow thespians applying their makeup and warming up. Lovely as the nurse had been, I still felt anxious and tearful and my anxiety was going to affect my performance if I didn’t pull myself together. Just as the director called “Five minutes” and I applied the last sweep of lipstick however, my mobile phone rang. It was the consultant, my heart raced and I prepared myself, “Mrs Band, good news, the biopsy results show your daughter’s lump was fibrous muscle tissue”.
“Oh thank God”.
“Good show. We’ll see her shortly for a follow up. Break a leg”. The irony of such a phrase coming from an orthopaedic consultant was not lost on me and I had to try very hard to stop myself dissolving into relieved, hysterical laughter.
Dahlings, what followed can only be described as the performance of my life and I enjoyed every minute, even when a false nail sprang off into the audience, I incorporated it into my role with aplomb. As we took our final bows and the applause rang out around the school hall, I thought to myself, ‘Helen Mirren – watch out, Alice Band is on her way’.
Mags met me for a latte in the week to congratulate me. We met with appropriately ‘luvvy’ air kisses and took our seats. We couldn’t quite believe where we were. This was not a chain coffee shop in some identikit shopping mall but a charming, privately owned affair in Torpoint. Of all places. Please let it be successful – the cakes were sublime and the words ‘fairtrade and organic’ were liberally used to describe the food and beverages. Our coffees even came with a bite-sized, heart shaped, shortbread biscuit. No doubt house prices will now go through the roof, as people clamour for a share of our middle-class café society.

No comments: