Yesterday evening, I had my first big wobble. I don’t mean becoming a bit unbalanced on my crutches – that happens almost every time I get up. I mean lower-lip shuddering, teary blubbering which went on for ages. It was embarrassing but I couldn’t shake the same futile thought: ‘Why did I voluntarily go in for this?’. I think I lost more salt over my two hour deluge than most marathon runners.
I just couldn’t stop. My brother had been teasing me about my shrinking chicken leg, which is fair enough, but I suddenly struggled to see the funny side of it all. I’ve gone from being a working young professional gallivanting around the globe, to a bed-ridden and helpless sack of wasting muscle. I know it’s not going to last forever, but I’m only halfway through my 6 week hiatus. Syd jokingly mused whether this could be the next effective weight loss plan, but I ventured that it only works one limb at a time. I don’t know anyone who’s ever complained of a fat forearm over their waistline. The self pity hung on.
Mum tried to cheer me up, offering me a shower. After almost 3 weeks of tepid flannel washes, this was just the boost I needed. Another milestone of recovery. But first, I had to navigate the treacherous stairs. Only 14 steps, but it was my Ben Nevis. Getting in the shower was no easier – we had a chair inside and outside the shower, but once my leg brace was off I couldn’t work out how to swing myself up the small step. The usual careful hop was out of the question on the slippery shower floor. It was a conundrum out of the Crystal Maze, and as I hoarsely called for help, I felt like the abandoned team mate left to the mercy of the bald ringleader. Mum had to prop me up as the snivelling and grovelling continued – I think I used up all my ‘sorry’s’ for the month. Being British, it was a barricade of apologising, then feeling sorry for my meekness, and then apologising for that too. Mum offered me a benevolent slap to knock me out of it.
My family have been generous, relinquishing the entire lounge for me. My bed, positioned in the most prominent corner by the TV, means I don’t need to risk the stairs. The burst of warm weather meant I could sit in the garden with my leg up, but this doesn’t stop me feeling like Han Solo and the gang in the trash compactor scene where the walls begin moving in (watch it here). Imagine being within the same four walls for a month and a half – I make a note to politely turn down a ride on a submarine, if ever the offer came up.
As much as it pains me to admit it, it hurts your ego being left alone at home while the world just carries on without you. My team are getting on with it, Tom is cracking on with his final deadlines in London, my sister and her boyfriend are five steps closer to having their own home, and a good friend of mine just brought new life into this world. All while I’m sat here, trying not to dribble on the best cushions during my inevitable daytime naps, feel guilty about not being able to walk our dog, or generally make myself useful.
On the bright side, we gave our bearded dragon Steve a bath yesterday. Check out his hench ‘Do you even lift, bro?’ arms.
Pictures clockwise from top: The trash compactor scene in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope; Steve’s results after hitting the gym; a familiar wistful look out the window.