It is more than a little disturbing to find myself lying in the same hospital bay last visited after ripping my knee open on a summer flint. That encounter traded pain for boredom over the next three days until eventually a nice man with seven years training and a wire brush removed a kneeful of trail dirt and rocks.
Stoke Mandeville hospital has lately become like a second home or the local pub. Every time I stagger into the front entrance with some imagined fatal disease, the receptionist greets me as an unwanted smelly Uncle who keeps turning up, even after the kind of hints that have an iron bar wrapped around them.
I fully expected to suffer the same six hour wait as the previous summer, and so prepared myself with a flask of coffee and a selection of periodicals with sufficient depth to keep me going long into the night. Fortified thus, it was almost a disappointment, therefore, to be called in for an educated prodding within thirty minutes of darkening the A&E doorstep.
And I’d barely started on a gripping article entitled, bevelling a radiator grill with emphasis on the waffling flange and homologising the rebate bracketï¿½ This is the type or periodical written for and written by a special but shadowy sector of the UK population; known only as the “retired“
Once the traditional lies around smoking and drinking had been documented “ much to my amusement when considering the relevance to a manky shoulder “ much wiggling and attempted rotation followed. During some extended prodding, I felt her enquiry on whether there was any pain was somewhat superfluous, since by this time I was chewing the bedpost and answering almost any questions with “arrrgghhh that bloody hurts”
A severe blow was dealt to my hypochondria once she’d announced that nothing was obviously broken, it wasn’t worth the cost of an x-ray and the best medical science could offer was Ibuprofen, ice and a concise explanation of age, injury and fast healing. Pick any two from three apparently.
The doctor’s prognosis that it may be more painful in the morningï¿½? was absolutely spot on once you’ve exchanged more for excruciatingly. The arm works pretty well below shoulder level and partially above. The eye watering transition between the two has only been slightly dulled by a druggy concoction of aspirin, cocodemal and “ the bikers friend “ industrial strength Ibuprofen. The dosages I’m taking would probably stun a small donkey but, over the years, my body has built up a bit of a resistance.
How did it happen? Obviously I crashed the bike again. Less obviously, it was a cruel permutation of stump high mud, a stump and a narrow gulley. My foot took the initial impact before an outstretched hand took the rest as I was flipped over the bars sporting a very surprised expression. This is the classic scenario where the next thing you hear is your collarbone snapping. So this makes me lucky I guess. Not feeling terribly lucky though, now yesterdays full range of movement has long gone and been replaced by a sharp ache.
I need to stop crashing. Or learn to bounce better. The kids reckoned I should just stop riding mountain bikes. Wisdom of youth eh? I don’t think so.
The body “ even in us elder gentlemen “ is an amazing thing and the Doc confidently predicted a repair in about two weeks. Since that’s on the exact timeline of a five day riding trip to Morocco, he’d bloody better be right.