A bad week

This really hasn’t been a good week. It started well – good session with the ArtLift group, who are getting ready to start working on their own. And lots of prison prep. On Tuesday I – well, actually I can’t remember what I did, apart from going to see The life of Pi in the evening. I thought it was a very good representation of the book.

And on Wednesday I got the ladder out to kill the weeds on the patio walls. I did that, then went up the ladder again to strip off some of the last bits of creeper – but I decided that was too dangerous, so started back down the ladder…

Yes, readers, I fell; the ladder slipped, despite my great care in positioning it. I fell very badly, hurting my foot and bottom and banging my head. I tried to move but was far too dizzy, so I took the only reasonable course of action. I yelled.

An angel came to help – well, a teaching assistant from the school over the road, followed shortly by my next-door neighbour; then paramedics; then, after an hour lying on the cold damp patio, the ambulance men. Apparently if it hadn’t been misty that morning I’d have been taken in a helicopter to the hospital!

And then it all just happens. Check for spinal injuries (none); x-ray of foot; painkillers; throwing up (three times – I know, too much information); plaster; crutches; pain. And wonderful help from all the NHS personnel.

There’s not much poetry here,
Just polished floors seen from a wheelchair,
And the hurt cries of a child,
And some lonely, broken people,
And my feelings of self-pity.
There’s not much poetry here,
Just the polished moves of comfort
As a nurse applies the plaster,
And the cool hands of a doctor
That can soothe a small girl’s whimpers,
And the relatives on white chargers
Who bring smiles to patient’s faces –
The security of care,
Not diminished by the numbers.
I felt I was a person,

Not a subject or a papertrail;
Not just fall- fracture- female,
As they wiped away my tears.
So who needs poetry here?

The next day was spent in bed at the home of my own personal knight on white charger – The Bloke. The real problem was my bum; I’d never realised how bad a pain in the bum could be. Basically, every position is at best uncomfortable – sitting, standing or lying.

While I was lying there, I heard the news that seven prisons are to close. Among them is the one where I am writer in residence, and another where I’ve been booked to do some work. This means a huge loss to my income; not quite destitution but really, really worrying.

And then the cat was sick oh the bed. Thursday was not a good day.

On Friday I went to the fracture clinic. My pelvis was x-rayed; fortunately no damage. The doctor told me that I’ve fractured my heel and torn the ligaments in my left foot, and probably damaged my coccyx. They don’t bother x-raying this because there’s absolutely nothing they can do, and you just have to wait for it to heal on its own.

I asked the doctor for full details; I need them to rearrange work, where possible. Six weeks in plaster, absolutely no weight on the foot; a further six weeks with “some sort of contraption”; then I have to learn to walk normally again. Oh, and I might need an operation to take out a stray fragment of bone that’s wandered off into an odd part of my foot.

Since then, I’ve been finding ways to cope; I’ve been really depressed and fairly positive; I’ve been waited on by The Wonderful Bloke, given excellent practical help by The Son, and lots of telephone comfort by The Daughter.

And I’ve come to the conclusion that all this is a message. I can’t manage my big house and garden. I will have an enforced period with very little work and very little money, which I can use (once I’m mobile) in sorting out my house. It looks as though the New Year’s resolution I’ve had for the last three New Years – to sort my house out – might finally be achieved.

This year can only get better.



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