Tuesday 7 October 2008

An unlucky break?

14st 4lb; zero alcohol yesterday; 1,217 days left; M62 yet again.

My neighbours told me this morning that there was some sort of dog trial taking place on the estate on which we live, which explained the coach mysteriously parked in the middle of nowhere and the large trailer full of people being towed around by a tractor when I took the dog for his walk yesterday afternoon. Since we are well out of the way of the way of the police and busybodies who love animals (though there are unfounded rumours that some of the local hill farmers do indeed love their animals, in a very real sense), it struck me that this would be an ideal place for an illegal hare coursing extravaganza. I looked forward to writing in this blog about finding the Waterloo Cup Mark 2 being staged in my own paddock while my back was turned, but a glance at the internet confirmed that it was an entirely legitimate event organized by something called the Golden Retriever Club of Northumbria. Which was rather a disappointment, to be honest.

I left this earthly paradise once again at lunchtime, to face the grim 222-mile slog along the motorways to see the Less Tall Cheshire Brunette on her home territory. I reached her house feeling completely shattered and looking forward to her getting home from work and cooking me an agreeable supper while I unwound with a long drink. Instead I received a phone call to report that she was at her sports physiotherapist, who believed that her foot was broken and that she should go straight to A&E for an X-ray, with a recommendation that she should get someone to drive her there as they would more than likely put her foot in plaster, making it a bit of a challenge to drive back.

Many people would have found this rather depressing news. I did so myself, as I saw the prospect of a hot supper vanishing over the horizon. But not the LTCB, who had clearly brightened up immensely from the moment when she announced that she had completed the Great North Run on Sunday and her physiotherapist replied “You did WHAT???” The diagnosis instantly converted what she had hitherto considered a rather embarrassing finishing time into an incredible triumph of the human spirit over physical adversity. It also invited cheering comparisons with younger, fitter members of my extended family who had taken nearly as long to cover the distance even though they were equipped with two conventionally intact feet.

So I drove her to the Countess of Chester Hospital, rather disappointed to discover that it is not nicknamed Camilla’s or Saint Diana’s, and dropped her off for her estimated two and a half hour wait in the X-ray queue, while I returned to her house to tackle the work assignment which had been conveniently e-mailed to me just before we set off. Shortly before 10 she rang me with the good news that her foot wasn’t broken after all – or, at any rate, that they weren’t able to detect a fracture on the X-ray, and weren’t going to put her in plaster. Though she was a bit miffed that they wouldn’t let her have the pair of the crutches that her physio had recommended her to use, whatever the hospital concluded about the precise nature of her injury.

Driving her back home, I naturally pointed out that I had suggested that it might not be such a brilliant idea to do the Great North Run with an injured foot. She replied, as she had done before the race, that she was doing it for charity and could not let them down. I queried whether the funds raised for Maggie’s Centres for cancer support (without doubt an excellent cause) might not be outweighed by the cost to the public purse of X-rays, surgery, prosthetics and rehabilitation if she ended up having her foot amputated. She contended that this was not going to happen. No doubt time will tell.

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