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Neil and Robyn on tour.

The dreaded day of my last radiotherapy appointment arrived; with my car off the road.

We decided to do it by public transport, not least because a mini cab would be a minimum of £100 without tips.

I can't say I was looking forward to it but the alternatives of 'Patient Transport' (who probably wouldn't come this far to get me) and a dodgy cab weren't so great either. Whichever way we did it was going to hurt.

I should say that I've never been good with buses - Robyn is a natural. I look at where I am and where I'm going and I just want to make a raid. Robyn thinks laterally and just sees the bus routes.

I turned myself into a five year old, let her do the thinking and just let it flow over me.

We had plenty of time so I planned to stop off in Staines and get some money on the way.

Unfortunately, even though there's a bus stop outside the house there are road works and we didn't think it would stop for us.

So we walked into the village to the earlier stop - that's five minutes to you, a quarter of an hour to me.

I was pretty exhausted by that point but here we are on the 305 from Wraysbury to Staines;

At Staines Bus station I gave up on walking into the high street to get the money; I was tired and there wasn't time.

We caught the 290 from Staines to Twickenham;

We passed through Staines, Ashford, Sunbury Cross until Robyn made me get off in the middle of nowhere - somewhere past Sunbury (if there actually is anywhere past Sunbury).

We caught the 490 to Richmond;

I don't know how she does it.

On the way we tried to guess the age of the houses we saw.

We passed through Twickenham, over the bridge to Richmond and got off on the High Street so that I could get that money - it was a much shorter walk than if I'd gone in Staines and quicker.

Then we had to get to the Train Station so that Robyn could put some money on her Oyster Card.

I staggered over the road to the bus stop by the station to wait for the 190.

Is that it?

Yes, thank goodness.

By this time the busses were starting to fill up with school children, just what I'd been looking forward to.

We zoomed off up the A316 to Chiswick and then through Hammersmith until the bus dropped us off at the entrance to Charing Cross Hospital.

We were only just in time - about 10 minutes before the appointment at 5-00 pm. We had left home at 2-00pm and I was shattered.

My appointment had been at 5-45pm but was moved earlier.
In fact, I was seen at about 1845 but it didn't matter to me - I was fast asleep from the moment I arrived at the waiting room.

My back was agony and it took two nurses and Robyn to get me on and off the table......but we did it!

We came out of the hospital at about 1900 and really didn't know what to do. We could take multi buses back to Staines but we'd need a cab home because the last bus was at 1800. Or we could take the tube from Hammersmith to Heathrow and then catch the airport bus home with a bit of a walk. I wasn't prepared to take a cab from the airport because the minimum fair used to be £50 and it's probably a lot higher these days.

We looked at each other and the thought of a three hour bus journey to Staines wasn't happening - we'd had enough.

So we caught the 190 from outside the hospital and got off at Hammersmith Bus Station, taking a walk to the tube, we took the Piccadilly line to Heathrow.

We missed some of the rush hour but it was tough - crowded and full of grumpy people, including us.

We got off at Terminal 5 and negotiated a lift with no buttons, a glass floor above a 50 foot drop and eventually found our bus stop.

Robyn took out my mask from Radiotherapy to pose for this picture at Heathrow T5 bus station;

It's an impressive selfie of me; moulded out of thermoplastic directly onto my face, they let us keep it today.

Each time I got zapped they put the mask on me and bolted it down so that I couldn't move - just at well as my broken vertebrae was giving me muscle spasms when I was lying down.

You can't see it too well but the mask is marked with targets for the laser beams that plot out where the radiation will go.

It's really cool!

At last the number 10 bus from the Airport came, dropping us of at Wraysbury before it sped on to all points on the way to Eton Wick.

We met a couple who had rented a house from 'Air BNB' and helped them find the way - I have no idea why anyone would want to spend their holiday here - everyday is bad enough!

We then had to walk from the High Street home, which was a bit of an ordeal.

I googled the journey when I got home - our normal route is just under 19 miles and should take 32 minutes which may be a bit optimistic.

Our tour took in all the sights, 6 buses and the tube and lasted all of 7 hours, including the time at Hospital.

But we made it - no more radiotherapy.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
Contact me: [email protected]

This post first appeared on Help Me Sort Out St Peter's!, please read the originial post: here

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Neil and Robyn on tour.


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