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TGIF columns are in order by date from the most recent.

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​Rum & Coax

My wife bought me these excellent memory-improvement tablets; of course I keep forgetting to take them, indeed, have actually taken to throwing them away (making up in deviousness whatever I’m losing in recollection) so she won’t notice that the level of pills is not being depleted. One way or the other, though, the bottle and the game will soon be up; but I do have what I think would be a foolproof excuse: I forgot.

By a tangentially linked process—I wouldn’t say I remembered them—the memory pills got me thinking about those prescription drug TV ads in the most expensive primetime advertising slots.

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​Trini Christmas Present

Live Vs. Death by deikochanTWO SATURDAYS ago, I had a tumour removed from my oesophagus. I got out of the Intensive Care Unit (so-called because that is exactly what you might need at short notice) on Monday evening and out of hospital itself one Friday ago.

Not to tempt Providence, as Standard English would express the concept, or to jumbie anything, as we would say, it seems I’m likely to live a bit longer.
It was touch and go, though. In spades. If my procedure was a plane flight, it would have been the most turbulent ride of my life. Apparently, a major blood vessel broke almost the minute the surgeons opened me up. An operation that should have lasted six hours ran to nine, the first three spent just making sure I would’t bleed out on the table (and, if I did get off said table, blood would
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​In the Ward of Damocles

Part II of Under the Knife of Damocles

LAST SATURDAY I underwent surgery to remove a tumour from the end of my gullet… but even though you’re reading this column now, I wrote it before I went under the knife. So neither you nor I have any idea how the operation went. Hopefully it wasn’t one of those procedures doctors describe with the words, “The operation was a 100 per cent success. Regrettably, the patient didn’t survive.”
It’s an odd thing, to prepare yourself mentally for major surgery, and mine certainly qualifies as major. It’s going to involve four principal medical people – operatives? – and will take six to eight hours. If that’s not major surgery, it’ll do until major surgery comes along, as Cormac McCarthy’s characters say.
It’s not going to be a walk in the Savannah grass.

And then I’ll be in the ICU for a couple of days (just in case they need the machines kept there) and in hospital for five to seven.

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​Under the Knife of Damocles

TOMORROW, Saturday December 10, I undergo surgery to remove the tumour from my oesophagus and thank goodness in general and FIFA badness in particular for this year’s World Cup, which should never have been awarded to a human rights disaster area like Qatar – but which, for football lovers, has been even better than the Russian World Cup (that other disastrous, dictator-pleasing, human rights-degrading FIFA award).

The 90 minutes twice a day I’ve spent watching the World Cup in the last fortnight has been the only time I’ve thought about anything else but my surgery. Trying not to think about your upcoming potentially life-saving operation is like trying not to think of having to pee, but worse, because 1. it more than makes up with longevity for whatever it might lack in urgency and; 2. The worst thing you can do with a hot pee is wet your pants.
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Rain of Terror, Reign of Error

TRINIDAD IS one big flood basin now. Even the mountains aren’t safe from the wettest rainy season anyone can remember, with retaining walls crumbling like wet Crix and spilling mud and flood into the upper levels of the fancy new Cocorite plannings. Whole houses are slipping down hillsides and the wonder is that it isn’t whole villages.

On Tuesday, the Caroni River burst its banks and flooded the southbound lanes of the Buzz, the Uriah Butler Highway, making it instantly impassable. Within minutes, not hours, of that, traffic snarled as far west as Cocorite and as far east as Piarco Airport.

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