This blog may have given the impression that I live surrounded by carrara marble (less expensive that I’d thought) and precious metals, bathe in Santovac 5 (not a practical or desirable bathing fluid, but reassuringly expensive) and have an extensive staff (below stairs) to cater to my every whim. If so, you have been misled: I don’t have so much as a cleaner, let alone a stunt man. Frankly, I’m not sure that in my quotidien existence I’d have enough use for a stunt double to make it worth hiring one on a full time basis: though this week one might have been handy.
Somewhere in the cloud, in an unfashionable corner of Facebook, there is a short video from Tuesday of the author performing a near-prefect back lever on gymnastic rings for a good two seconds. The more tech-savvy among you may be able to track down this screen gem. As the title of this post suggests, this is the actual author and has not been faked. On this occasion, I was fully in control of my movements – or I was until the oxygen ran out (I cannot yet breathe in the full hold).
Later that evening, thanks to the malign efforts of a feline assailant, the author performed another acrobatic manoeuvre but this time without so much control. As I was cycling up to the theatre, a ginger cat (its colour is not relevant, but is included to add substance to the account) decided to hurl itself under the front wheel of my bike. If I am known for anything, it is for my lightening reflexes, and so I was able to stop the bike without hitting the animal assassin. Despite liking to think of myself as a dangerous maverick, it would seem that I am still bound by Newton’s Laws of Motion. So, while my bike stopped very quickly and efficiently, my own journey did not cease at quite the same time. As a result, I sailed over my handlebars and landed in a crumpled heap on the road, somewhat entangled with my bike. Sadly, there is no footage of this incident, but I like to imagine that my passage through the air was marked by its singular grace before my travels were brought to an abrupt end by the tarmac.
What happened next, says quite a lot about me – though does not necessarily show the author in the most favourable or logical light. Having come to rest, I lay there for a moment or two cursing my assailant – who had vanished into the night by this stage (it failed to leave any insurance details or make any sort of apology, but I suppose that’s cats for you). I then returned to my feet and checked for witnesses and whether I would need to attempt to “style-out” my unconventional dismount. My isolation confirmed, my first concern was for damage to the bike. This seemed ok and so I mounted it again and continued on my way. This involved a degree of discomfort, but seemed to go alright until I came to park my bike at journey’s end. At this point, I believe my body moved from embarrassment into shock and I felt quite unsteady on my feet. Nonetheless, I made it to the foyer of the Nuffield Theatre looking only slightly like Banquo’s ghost. At this stage, I went more fully into shock – which is an interesting experience, lots of tingling in the extremities, a reduced ability to form coherent sentences and feelings not unlike those that arise just before you faint. Luckily, at this point I was surrounded by people who know me (and that I do not normally look like one of the undead) and had access to a chair: so I sat down. Staff at the Nuffield manage to rustle up a glass of coca cola (which seems the modern, more rapidly conjured equivalent of hot, sweet tea) and so unusual did I feel that I actually drank it. I soon started to feel much more normal (or at least like myself, which may not be the same thing) and it was only at this stage that I decided to ascertain the damage to my body (a rather long time after checking the state of the bike). There were cuts, grazes and contusions along with some minor bleeding on my legs and some discomfort from my hands which had presumably broken my fall. Inspection of my cycle helmet, which was the only serious protection I’d provided to my body, indicated that it had not had been called upon to serve in the “incident”.
Most of the damage to the author was of a nature that he regularly inflicts upon himself by his inability to walk round objects, preferring to take the short cut through them, but the damage to my left hand and wrist was more severe. As a result, I decided against cycling home and thought the bus would be a better option. A friend decided that this was not appropriate either and, while was eventually convinced not to take me straight to casualty (without passing Go), insisted on driving me home and on regular text updates that I was still numbered among the living. (*** Spoiler alert *** I survived)
I must say that if you are a Friend of the Nuffield Theatre you are not part of a one-way friendship, or it certainly hasn’t been that way for me. Being a “regular” definitely has its perks when it comes to arriving at a venue in a sub-par condition.
So, I had an unexpectedly early return home (without my bike) and decided to start icing my left hand with a freezer pack. Yesterday morning, with my left hand/wrist still giving me gyp, I took myself to the Minor Injuries Unit at the nearby Royal South Hampshire. On the basis of this trip, I would suggest that the NHS is now a provider of car parking with a small healthcare side business. Signage to the various car parks was extremely clear, but that to any kind to medical facility substantially less so. Still, having found the MIU and filling in an extensive form (not ideal with damaged hands), I was seen very quickly. It seems unlikely that I have broken anything, I’ve just strained or sprained my wrist and I was told to continue with exactly the attempts at self-medication I was already using (on my recent performance when it comes to self-diagnosis, a career in the medical profession must be on the cards).
I have now moved on from the rigid freezer pack to the more malleable form of a bag of Waitrose Essential Peas and Beans (broad and french) to soothe my sprain (well, it was that or a pack of frozen broccoli, which I felt would be less conducive to a swift recovery). Yes, this is dangerously middle class but I hope it is speeding my return to full function. When required, I take painkillers – but mostly I can function without. My left-hand is fine for typing and can play the piano and guitar a little, though fff and barre chords are currently ixnayed. I’m right handed but make a surprising amount of use of my left (as I am now discovering), but I am slowly finding work-arounds. Even remotely heavy lifting is currently out of the question (as are gymnastics) and buttons are surprisingly challenging: but life can broadly continue as usual while I heal. I must admit that the lack of serious exercise is starting to get to me already, I’m trying to think of a workout that can be performed without use of my left-hand – but the options seem limited. I may have to use a treadmill and actually run: urgh!
Pleasingly, my wrist has finally become somewhat swollen: there is little more dispiriting than being a brave little soldier when nobody knows you’re injured (another positive of this post). I am also taking this is a sign that the process of recovery is underway…