Laughter, pain and the kindness of friends…

I had a booking at a school yesterday – and, despite my nasty fall on Wednesday, was determined to go in and teach. Until, that is, I woke up and found I could barely bend my right knee and that my left ankle had swollen up even more and was going multi-coloured.

I decided instead, to drive, very carefully, down to the local Minor Injuries Unit and get my afflicted, traumatised parts x-rayed.

Getting there at just after eight in the morning was good in one way (the place was virtually empty) and bad in another (x-ray doesn’t open till nine), but it was surprisingly pleasant just lolling around, albeit in a fair amount of pain, doing nothing.

A nurse called me at 8.30 and had a good look at both injuries. She tweaked my knee (painful, but necessary) and said that I’d need to get the ankle x-rayed, but that the knee was just badly bruised and a little bit abraded.

My ankle had its picture taken from two different angles – and I was then told to go back to the Waiting Room while someone looked at, and deciphered, the resulting images.

Hobbling back, I came upon a scene of great cheer and hilarity. Cheered me up no end, it did. Two pupils, from one of the schools I have taught at in recent weeks, had injured themselves  – in separate accidents, I hasten to add – and had fetched up, each with a parent, at more or less the same time. Both were able to see the funny side of what had happened to them and, instead of groans and tears, the atmosphere was full of jollity and raucous laughter – which I joined with great relief! By the time I was called to see my original nurse, I felt I had known these people for far longer than twenty minutes (or whatever it was) – and I wished both the young people good luck as I limped slowly to the cubicle.

To my relief, there was no obvious sign of a recent fracture, just two tiny marks which, I am certain, occurred during one of the many similar incidents years ago. This meant that I did not have to go down the Plaster of Paris, hideous boot road – and, for all that a sprain, ironically, takes longer to heal than a fracture, this was a great relief.

Instead, I opted for the bandages and crutches combination. I was told to rest my legs, not to drive if at all possible and to come back in five days or so to get my bits looked at.

I must say crutch technology has come on in leaps and bounds (which is a damn sight more than I am currently capable of) since the last time I had them (after breaking an ankle falling upstairs when trying to impress a boy I fancied back in my first term at university in 1976!) – and, while I won’t claim my eventual departure from the hospital was conducted in a series of adagios and pas-de-deux moves, I did manage to make it to the car park without jettisoning a crutch or twisting the other ankle.

I will confess that I had a brief moment of weeping and feeling sorry for myself – but my body knew what it both wanted and needed and I slept, deeply and dreamlessly, for about three and a half hours.

I had some really lovely comments, both on here and on Facebook. Thank you to all those who wrote to me. I will respond personally, but maybe not today.

As I lounged around in the armchair (my favourite seat in the house ), I realised how frantic, even manic, I have been since I moved to Glastonbury just under three months ago. It is as if I have been trying to prove something – though quite what and to whom I am not sure – or, perhaps, trying hard not to let waves of grief, sadness and loss overwhelm me. I have been busy, busy, busy, creating a new career, making new friends, walking Jumbs and exploring my area, sorting out house and garden and so on.

It felt wrong to be just sitting there doing nothing – as if I were wasting precious time or something; as if I needed to give myself permission to just be there, doing nothing more exacting than reading.

Later, a lovely local friend came round, bringing books and rhubarb and offers to help (which I accepted). I was very touched, by this and by another friend’s support this morning. I do not know why I find it so hard to ask for assistance, why I am so stubbornly independent and, in many ways, private; but I do know that it does not always serve me to shut people out in this way through guilt and fear of being too much, too demanding.

I have an appointment at the hospital next week, to get my left hand swelling looked at by the Orthopaedic team, so will combine that with a repeat visit to Minor Injuries. My friend has already said she can drive me there, which is such a wonderful relief and so kind of her.

Now? I need to sit tight and relax. The day is bright and beautiful. There is nothing urgent I need to do, having for the first time in my life ordered my weekly shop online, so I can luxuriate in the books loaned to me, loll around and let my body (and mind) heal.

Small note: I found that image of a sprained ankle on line, not being sufficiently mobile at that point to photograph my own injury – but mine is almost identical in appearance.