Skip to content

sometimes life can be a little unfair

It’s been a hell of a day. In fact, it’s been a hell of a week.

For a start, my poor colleague Michelle has been laid up in bed since Sunday with a as-of-yet undiagnosed case of feeling seriously ropey. More hospital appointments upcoming.

Then, yesterday, I slammed my finger in my car door. It was totally shut. On my finger. I swore a lot and went a bit wobbly for a moment. Spent the afternoon at Harlow A&E Minor Injury Unit. It was all quite funny – showering with a hair bobble attached sandwich bag over the bandage last night – until I couldn’t sleep for the pain. I was with my little sister Ruth in Cambridge for the evening so it was a joyful 6am start for me this morning which goes part way to explaining my mood now.

I was OK though really, until about six hours ago. In fact, it was a relatively pleasant day at the ‘Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter’s Easter Tea Party’ in Knebworth Park. The sunshine in the morning quickly melted the frost off the silver lined grass, the sky turned blue and it promised to be a beautiful day. Then a blanket of grey clouds pulled over the sky and the icy wind made an unwelcome return. In the end I wrapped myself up in the pink and brown 70s style double sleeping bag usually reserved as padding for the giant collection tin, and did a fairly good impression of a turd wearing a crown. (Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the main reason that today was alright in the end: in a  moment of divine inspiration earlier this week, I thought to dig out my Princess Leah wig, sparkly blue cow boy hat, feather bower, bunny rabbit ears, boingy deely boppers and spangly heart adorned crown, for the kids to dress up in.  Genius, and it worked a treat if I do say so myself. Not least thanks to 7 year old Jen and 11 year old Amy who came with their Mum and Dad and the Clay Pot tent next door but appointed themselves our helpers. We kept each other entertained all day long!).

No, the problems began after we packed up and the serious faced, helpful (slightly over cautious?) first aid tent man redressed my squished finger suggesting a trip to my GP to demand antibiotics. Always one to listen to advice but it being Good Friday, I end up speaking to the ‘Herts Emergency Care Line’ service (yep it’s a new one on me too) who suggest an appointment at my closest hospital (The Lister) at 9.20pm. It’s 5.30pm.

“Erm, right. Well I’m actually staying at my friends in St Albans tonight”. Clearly the right information to divulge as there’s an appointment at the Minor Injuries Unit at St Albans City Hospital at 6.20pm. So I  buy myself some easy dinner and gather some change for the car park by buying a Top Cat scratch card (I didnt win £5000) and a lucky dip lottery ticket (not checked the numbers yet) before I set off.

When I arrive the Doctor’s been called to an emergency on the ward, so I sit texting a few people and updating facebook as my battery slowly dwindles to a tiny speck. This is when the day starts to wilt at the edges. It hits me that my stomach feels cavernous and I should probably therefore eat something. Remembering the banana I had in my bag this morning I dig around, until I feel a cold gelatinous mulch on my (left) fingertip.  Hmm, maybe I’ll just leave that where it is then. Ignore that its splurged all over everything in my bag. La la la. Everything is groovy. Granite hard pear instead. Yum. (Budgens, you let me down on the fruit front this week). I take three bites and (sods law) the harassed looking Doctor lady calls my name so the rock hard pear gets tossed back into the sludge bucket that is my now handbag.

She seems slightly ticked off with my explanation of who’s changed what dressing when, as it becomes apparent that a/there’s not a sniff of infection (“that white bit is just dead skin”; comforting) and that b/the lovely first aider man might have been a tad over-helpful. She briskly fetches a nurse to sort me out and gets back to the more pressing cases.

I feel like an idiot. Especially when one of the two frazzled-end-of-day-nurses (who are both silently tutting to themselves that I’m even here) asks her colleague (not me?) why I’m not taking it to my GP. At which point I find myself pointing out the obvious difficulty with that, with it being the Easter weekend n’all. She looks affronted that I’ve interrupted a conversation about me, not to me. Anyway, the issue of Easter is clearly not theirs. I dare to mention whether the 2cm long wound should have stopped bleeding by now and the ‘should be at your GP’ one asks if I’ve been keeping it suspended today. I suspect a look of incredulity crosses my face: I’ve been hulking around merchandise boxes, putting up Gazebo walls, hi-fiving as mascot Pilot Pete today; not exactly synonymous with keeping my hand suspended.

“I’ve been working” is all I can mutter like a naughty kid apologising to the next door neighbour.

“What do you do?  Have you been active?”

“Er, well, yes.  I’m a fundraiser for the Air Ambulance”.  She gives a ‘yeah, not any more my dear’  shake of her head and promptly sweeps my arm into a sling.

“You’re not going to be working tomorrow”

“Oh.”  Small voice “But I need to drive home”.

“Well you can do that. But then you need to rest for the remainder of the weekend and keep your hand above your heart so your finger stops bleeding”. Right. OK. Fine. But this littlest hobo needs to unload the bags of her currently upside down life from the car when she gets to where she’s going. I don’t mention it. They’ve heard more than enough.

Marie and James are in Wales but have left me a key to their little St Albans flat. I pull up opposite the pub and do a six trip (left handed) unload, irritated at the need to lock and unlock the car each time I go back and forth. I’ve done more than my fair share of muttering by the time I’m fully moved in. There’s nothing for it now, and I’m clearly no longer working tomorrow so I go across to Tesco’s and pick out a nice Rioja. Then I realise it’s got a cork.

“Don’t think I can manage that” I laugh to the check-out boy who doesn’t care. Eventually I end up with the first screw top that my (left) hand lands on. After all, it doesn’t really matter. I just need a big glass of wine. Out of a bottle I can get into.

Back to the house. Oven on at 190.  Shepards Pie in.

Wet feet? Oh, look. A big puddle of water by the cupboard under the sink. And a suspicious dripping noise. You are kidding me?



There really is a leak. I briefly consider pretending I hadn’t noticed before guilt gets the better of me and I gingerly open the sink cupboard hoping for the best. Which is the opposite of what I get. There is a glinting puddle of wet over both shelves. And the drip goes on….and the drip goes on…and the drip goes on. I  can definitely hear it dripping. Fast.


Mop it up. Oh, actually, look. Behind the washing liquid, softener, scrubbing sponges and bleach there’s a stopcock! Awkwardly I twist it off with my (left) shoulder at a thoroughly weird angle. OK. Sorted. Only thing now is that if I need water, I need to remember to turn on both the stop cock, and the normal tap. Both with my left hand (generally a bit weak and pathetic compared to my be-slung and incapacitated right hand). Not to worry. Wine!

I clamp the bottle between my thighs (thank you teenage horse riding lessons), twist the top and gotcha. Glug it into a (large) glass and start to self medicate. Who needed antibiotics anyway!  I chop my dinner up (left) handed into toddler mouthfuls that I can scoop up with a fork, turn on the stopcock and tap for a glass of water, turn off the tap and stopcock and make transfer trips with water, wine and then food to the table by the sofa.  Ah, everything I need.

But now, I cant help but think (as I sit here determinedly typing one handed) how nice it would be right now to have someone here to look after me. You can forgive me: I’ve still got the prospect of one handed washing up (stopcock – tap – tap – stopcock) to contend with, before the evenings out.

But then. I suppose that’s what being a grown up is all about. Struggling with your circumstances but working out a way to deal with them so your world doesn’t crumble.

And working it out all by yourself. With wine. And a potential winning lottery ticket.

NB.  Things that are hard to do one handed: unload heavy bags from the car (lots of trips); turn stopcocks on and off; shower (especially the opposite armpit!); type or use a computer; wash up; undo bottle tops; smooth on face cream; write a text message (half an hour later…).

Things that are nigh on impossible to do one handed: eat with knife and fork; uncork a bottle of wine; apply liquid eye liner and/or mascara; write (depending on which hand you use/injured); unpeel and cut up a banana; finger comb hair (even with added conditioner); do up a zip on a bag fit to burst; open a bag of granola.  Teeth and thighs can be quite useful it seems!

Things you just can’t do one handed: put on thermal socks; tie a shoe lace; drive (hands at 10 to 2 = above your heart anyways); ctrl-alt-delete (imPOSSible!).


No comments yet

Leave a Reply

You may use basic HTML in your comments. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.