“So, Tanya, how has your mood been?” Dr Stein my psychiatrist says – pen poised over my notes.
“Well, actually I think it’s lifted a bit,” I say.
“You certainly seem a bit brighter,” he says. He’s wearing a cashmere sweater – the same bright blue as his eyes.
“Maybe the tramadol is lifting my mood?” I say. “Or the fact that I’ve still got my drain in so I don’t have to do anything except lie on the sofa and watch films and…”
“You be careful of tramadol,” he says. “It’s an opiate you know. It’s addictive and…”
“I know. I like it. It’s cheering me up and…”
“I dare say it is,” Dr Stein says, smiling. “Are you in a lot of pain then?”
“Yes, I am,” I say. “I’ve got a drain coming out of my side – look,” I lift up my sweater to show him where the tube is snaking down my body. “I was hoping it could come out today but there’s still too much fluid. It has to come out on Monday – I’ve got a party in town that evening and…”
“If it’s not ready to come out then, that will take precedence over a party,” Dr Stein says, looking concerned. “You don’t want the fluid collecting under your skin and needing to be removed with a needle.”
“No, of course not,” I say. “OK, I hope the drain will be removed on Monday then.”
“That’s better,” he says. “You must take your surgeon’s advice.”
“I will,” I say.
“Right,” he says. “Let’s leave your medication where it is and I’ll see you in three weeks. Give my regards to the fluffy monster.”

It’s a beautiful sunny day. The sky is blue and cloudless. Back on the sofa, my drain bottle sitting on the floor beside me, I watch the blackbirds hopping along the wall. They are eating the berries that grow there. It will be good to be able to get outside again, I think…


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