Kerb Your Enthusiasm

It’s been a bumpy start to the year so far but things have finally started getting back on track. My hands are doing much better and on Wednesday I was able to start using my much-loved Trekinetic wheelchair once again. It felt brilliant to be back in control and able to get around under my own steam.

Then, on Thursday I hit another bump, this time quite literally.

Leftwing Idiot and I were heading back to work after lunch. We got to the place where we normally cross the road but couldn’t because a van had parked in front of the dropped kerb. It meant we had to keep on the same side for a bit, but we soon reached the point where we had to cross over. Unfortunately there was no dropped kerb and although I could see one a bit further along, I thought rather than going any further I’d tackle the kerb instead – it looked harmless enough.

But it definitely didn’t feel harmless when my wheelchair started tipping over and I started falling.

Clearly I’d miss-judged the kerb. As my chair went over I instinctively stuck my arm out to break my fall, but it was immediately apparent that this was a very bad plan. My arm took the full force of the impact – both my weight and the chair’s. My arm smashed into the tarmac. The pain was incredible.

Leftwing Idiot rushed to help me. As he got me out of the chair and onto the pavement he started to say, “This is why it’s not a good idea to…” I interrupted, “No, not yet, I need a minute to work out how badly I’ve hurt myself.” I sat on the road and leaned into him sobbing, my arm throbbing with pain. After a moment he helped me back into the chair and then pushed me carefully back to work. I was shaking with shock and felt furious with myself for taking such a silly risk.

I sat on the sofa in the office foyer and considered the situation for a few minutes. I began to feel calmer but there was still an overwhelming pain in my elbow and I couldn’t move it properly. I decided I needed to go to hospital to get it checked out. Zoë was supporting that afternoon and together we headed to A&E in a taxi.

It was embarrassing to be back at Kings College Hospital, but the staff were wonderful and within a couple of hours I’d been x-rayed, seen by a doctor and given an appointment the following morning with a bone specialist. They suspected I’d fractured my elbow – the following morning we found out they were right.

Fortunately it’s not a bad fracture and it’ll heal by itself in a few weeks. I feel very lucky to have escaped without doing any serious damage. But I’ve learnt a serious lesson: from now on I’ll always go out of my way to find a dropped kerb.

Thanks to everyone who’s sent me their best wishes – hopefully I’ll be getting about independently again soon.

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