Death warmed up. What a wonderful phrase until one day you realise that maybe, just maybe, you've used it too often.
There are others of a similar ilk - stone dead, dead as a dodo, a fate worse than death, be at death's door.
You'll have noticed how dead and dying are part of that whole lot and there's a good reason. You're either dead or you ain't.
Yet so many of us, including me, take the Eskimo approach to snow - 27 varieties ain't enough.
Why so morbid? One day last weekend, I didn't want to wake up. Ever.
So much for so many of you who have called me tough, thanked me for my positive approach and wished me good luck in my battles. There you go, I simply didn't want to waken.
Last weekend was the McKay reunion, you might recall. The docs had moved me on to morphine with extras anytime.
Also, a fancy antibiotic I'd deemed as the cure of my lack of breath and inability to walk five steps without breaking out in panicky sweats.
Trouble is, the antibiotic wasn't touching any of that, nor was it reducing my waking to cough fits that meant a daily struggle to breathe.
Hands up, I hate it.
The McKay brothers and sister were on good form. It was this boy who was being the party pooper.
This was a new experience for me.
I'm the guy who somehow recovers miraculously to lead any party, never mind one with my family.
Now there I was sitting at a table, my chin cupped in one hand, a faraway dead stare in my eyes, hearing everything in an echo, responding to nothing. I didn't care if I was there. Didn't care if I was alive.
Think I might have been a wee bit ill? My sister took it hardest. She is closest in age to me and we've been through good times and bad times together. She expected the old Reg to be conducting the cheerleading.
What she found was a pale-faced shadow of a man staring some place into the corner of nowhere.
This wasn't fair. My older sister had watched over my dodgy formative years. Bailed me out of street beatings and introduced me to her cool boyfriends who influenced my life forever.
Now she saw a dead man walking. This wasn't fair on her.
Jane got tipsy and talkative. I got weary and wordless.
Before the coughing started next morning, I lay there wondering why my body allowed me to waken at all. Ach, my weird body, it obviously has something against itself.
I didn't get out of bed barring a couple of hours in the evening.Well, a man has to drink wine.
For the first time since a child and short stays in hospital, I didn't get out of my pyjamas all day. I didn't even wear pyjamas nine months ago.
People took one look at me and I knew that look - it told me I was like death warmed up.
Constipated for three days, my bowels moved early one morning, synchronising with my lungs, deciding they could not, would not, breathe.
Sitting on that toilet as keech rushed from my a**e and breath choked in my gullet, I was in hell.
Thirty minutes, later I wiped myself down, washed myself off and decided - I was going to get better.
You've heard that from me before. This time there were two days' delay, a death wish and no enthusiasm to face my world.
I even told youngest brother Tich, who travelled all the way from Oz, to leave my bedroom. I love the man but had nothing to give him.
We all get our low days. It was like climbing somewhere high, and feeling my feet wobble beneath me and jumping back on to firm ground. Had I seen the depths? The fall? It terrified the s**t out of me.
It's the kind of fear that makes most of us healthy survivors. We see it, feel it and decide we want to leave it. Yet again, McKay chose to live.
One day, death will choose me. That day, there will be no fear.
What sort of a life have I chosen? The cancer has been busy. I can't dress or wash myself. As for writing, it first took my scribbling hand away and now weeks after I'd accepted I'd have to dictate all my words to Gerry, it is taking my very voice, breath by breath. The She Bitch is having another laugh.
Oxygen was the business. Hats off to the medical services. When you need something, you get something.
The canister and mask arrived pronto, much to my relief. One wee problem - no key to turn on the oxygen. For a full night and almost a day, it sat there smiling and tormenting me.
I write this sitting at my kitchen table on my jiving chair with my favourite woman beside me.
It's a slow process.Thank God Gerry's learned to be patient with me.
She's paused waiting for me to find the breath for the next sentence. I look into her green-blue eyes I fell in love with years ago. She's smiling, but she can't fool me. I see her pain, her fear and her horror at losing her man.
No woman should have to go through this. My girl shouldn't have to go through this.Soon, we'll meet experts who will look for some solutions. For my girl's sake, I hope they find some.