The 59th Bridge Street Song

KL Diary Number 2

Slow down, you move too fast


You got to make the morning last…

At least, you’ve got to make the coffee last.

My dad grumbles a lot, about everything: the government, the grass in the garden that grows faster than he can trim it, a crack on an outside wall that lets water seep in thus damaging the inside wall, the fluorescent tube in his study that flickers annoyingly as it heads towards obsolescence, the water pressure which is low as we live up on a hill, the moss in the fishpond that needs scrubbing off.

This morning at the hospital he grumbles about the blood test he has to take, the length of his chemotherapy treatment, the cost of hospital bills. He is losing weight, losing hair and losing patience.

This is only the third chemotherapy session out of twelve.

I try to cheer him up by sharing his favourite drink at Starbucks, a Caffe Mocha. I order the tallest size.




Whilst waiting to see his oncologist, he reads the messages on his mobile phone and complains about his new doctor. In fact he questions why he needs one.

I am struggling with the bags containing all the stuff we need to get us through a day at the hospital and don’t understand his mumblings.

But he repeats himself: Your sister says I need a new doctor. Here, look at her message. Is this the number to call the new doctor?

I look at the message that Hong Kong Sister sent him via WhatsApp.




A fit of uncontrollable laughter takes hold of me. Dad, new doc means there is a new document waiting for you to read.

My dad needs a crash course in IT terminology. We really don’t want him to mistake junk mail for a brand of tinned ham, or to worry about the relevance of chips and wafers in computers.




The oncologist says his blood tests show he is responding well to treatment. For the first time today he perks up. At the Cancer Day Unit he is in a cubicle surrounded by other younger people in the adjoining cubicles. Everyone has cancer but he is one of the older ones. He now thinks he’s lucky to have survived until his mid-70s without any major illnesses.

I got no deeds to do
No promises to keep
I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me
Life, I love you
All is groovy

He sinks into his armchair and allows the nurse to plunge a needle into his chemo port to start round three of the treatment.


The Song:
The 59th Bridge Street Song, by Simon and Garfunkel, is more well known as the Feelin’ Groovy song. Groovy is what people used to say a lot but I wasn’t part of that (much older) generation. I think Mr Gochugaru and I used to say Cool. The children say Sick when they mean Cool but I for one would never use that word. After all the trips to hospital, sick means sick and it is definitely not cool.