The rest of the week went by. My ankle was starting to throb and swell. So much so that Sarah went to the chemist and bought a strap for my ankle. A lovely bright blue as if I was going to show it off at an ankle strap pageant. In fact I didn’t want to show anything off. I didn’t want to play “poor me” and hobbling around like an old git, but I did. I even borrowed Sarahs walking stick that she used after her hip operation. On Sunday afternoon I hobbled next-door-but-one to the Newtons for a BBQ. Then I hobbled back. I was hobbling everywhere.
The foot was now difficult to put weight on. Sunday evening the pain and constant throbbing was so bad that I had to do something. I don’t like going to the doctor. I don’t have much faith to be honest. It took ages to find a good doctor in Sydney. I don’t like their guesstimates and “lets give this a try” approach. I didn’t like it when a young doctor in Southbourne many years ago called the psoriasis on my scalp scurvy. Pr*ck!
Anyway, after much pain, at 3:00 am I succumbed and asked Sarah to take me to Accident & Emergency (A&E) at Royal Bournemouth Hospital which luckily was only just down the road. She dropped me off at the entrance and went and parked the car while I hobbled, stick in support, to find a seat in the waiting room. Sarah appeared shortly and signed me in.
I wondered if there may be some problem as we are Australians about to live in Spain with British passports, but it seemed to go smoothly and they still had my record from 24 years ago when we lived in Poole. Well … we are still paying our UK National Insurance after all.
The waiting room wasn’t full, but it wasn’t empty either. Arms and legs seemed to be the main issues with the occasional dizzy person. A sign announced that post-triage the waiting time was over 3 hours. After some time I hobbled into the nurse and explained my pain. At least I tried to. I always find it difficult to explain pain. It confuses my mind when there are brief seconds of relief and I wonder if I imagined it. I feel like a fake. But then it burns back into my ankle and my eyes water. The nurse taps away into the computer and Sarah goes off on a mission to find a wheelchair. What? Yes, a wheelchair. I try my light wit on the nurse with little effect. I imagine Sarah looking for a wheelchair … I hope she finds a spare one otherwise some little old man may be lifted by one hand and tossed away somewhere. She is gone a long time, but as my thoughts wander she suddenly appears through the Triage door with a … I don’t know. I thought Sarah was getting a wheelchair, but she is pushing what looks like blue scaffolding on Tonka Toy wheels. The scaffolding has protruding bars at waist level and a padded black platform with a matching upright. Clearly she was a long time because she had to build this out of Meccano and some bits of old piping she found. Of course this was the National Health Service hospital version of a wheelchair.
I put on my hard hat and support straps, then carefully climbed the scaffolding to mid-peak where the landing pad held out a softened invitation and slumped into it. I was then lovingly pushed out of triage back into the waiting room. I knew it was a waiting room because we waited and waited and waited. People came and went. Hobbling in one door and hobbling back out another. It seemed that as doctors became available they would appear at the door and call out a patients name. Different doctors of all colours, ages and sizes would appear. As darkness turned to light and the Sun came up, over 3 hours later the hospital ward door burst open and a female voice called my name. I looked up, but I couldn’t see a doctor. However, in the doorway stood a 10 year girl in green overalls with a stethoscope around her neck…. smiling. Off course she was older, but I couldn’t help thinking, not by much more. And yes, a real doctor. I was wheeled at speed through the swing door ensuring I kept my arms in so that they weren’t cut off at the shoulders. Sarah push’s the scaffolding like she rides her scooter … fast and braking sharply.
The young doctor who clearly should be getting ready for school at this time in the morning started to ask questions about my pain. I felt like her grandfather and we were playing a pretend game of hospitals. Her sweet smiling head nodded in understanding and she thought it would be a great idea in the game for me to have an x-ray. Like Lewis Hamilton on the grid, Nurse/Driver Sarah sped down the hospital corridors as I gripped the bars on the wheelchair. We turn the last corner on the front and back left wheels and slammed to a halt on the front 2. From looking straight ahead I was immediately looking at the floor and then jarred back into the upright position.
I wipped the sweat from my brow and not before too long invited into a somber room to be blasted with rays that can see through my flesh and outline my bones.
Having had a pit stop we returned to the circuit. Another stop and a little waiting. The young girl dressed up as a doctor appears again and tells me that I have severely injured my ligaments and the swelling is trying to protect them. How nice of them! So the instructions were quite simple. The RICE method. Rest, Ice, Compact and Elevate. I won’t elaborate only to say that over the next 6 weeks none of this was as easy as it seemed and even the most simple part … just rest .. was as frustrating as bloody hell!
Anyway, I was sized up for a pair of nice new NHS crutches. A young porter appeared and adjusted them to length and he then gave me some instructions on how to use them. Uhh, as if I need that. Clearly I did. It seems there is a knack to using crutches. Instead of the elegant swing to and fro I manoeuvred out of the hospital like a spider with 3 paralysed legs. After 20 feet of bashing doors and trying to miss people I waited at the exit for my driver.
We returned home. I went to bed and slept all day.
On Tuesday Deb and Sunny join us for dinner. Wednesday we land on a new departure date and change the ferry booking from Poole. In the afternoon we venture out to the cinema at Tower Park to watch the Book Club starring Jane Fonda and Diane Keaton. Despite being summer I wasn’t comfortable wearing flip flops to the cinema, but there was really no choice. My foot had swollen to proportions that meant getting a shoe on was impossible. I felt like a hippie! I was dropped off, the car was parked. Sarah and Deidre (Sarahs Mum) caught up with me as I now expertly swung on my crutches towards the cinema. It wasn’t exactly buzzing on a week day afternoon. Due to my incapacitation we took the back lift which oddly meant going outside to the lift door. We found our seats in the cinema and I shuffled with the crutches, trying to find a resting place for them during the next few hours. Something didn’t seem right with the cinema chairs. I seemed to be leaning back too far. It was difficult because I needed to arrange my ankle in a comfortable position. There was a commotion behind. People in the wrong seats. Why are the public so dumb at times? Legs brushed past my head. I lean’t back and sensed knees behind me. You know the feeling when you lean back on a seat and it locks in a comfortable solid position. Well these seats didn’t. They disobeyed normal social standards and went back as far as they could. Its like they had given up and as the weight of my body pushed against them I just kept going until I has almost flat. I say almost because the seat stopped at the point of the lady’s knees behind me. It seems my seat wasn’t faulty. They were all like that, but for some reason the awkward way I was sitting caused the situation to exaggerate itself. Feeling uncomfortable I thought I should, move, but that would only transfer the problem to somewhere else in the cinema. In the end I stayed on the basis that as I was the injured person with crutches and if the person behind me was uncomfortable, then they should move. But they didn’t and so I spent the next 2 hours psychologically gently rocking forward to mitigate the situation. But I could feel stubborn knees behind me burning through the seat!
Until next time🌏