Return of Calamity Jane

In my childhood I was referred to as Calamity Jane because, all too frequently, I would fall down stairs, run into glass doors and fly over the handlebars of my bike. It appears this is not something I have necessarily grown out of.

Keeping horses can be a dangerous pursuit, not least because of the accidents which can occur doing everyday tasks. For instance removing a bale of straw from a pallet. Easy? Danger free? Wrong ! On Friday I managed to break my leg doing just this.

I hadn’t been at the stables long. The horses have been in pretty much everyday since Sunday, and their boxes were filthy. I’d used up all the straw on the front pallet, and so I had to negotiate climbing up the next stack to remove myself a couple of bales of straw. I do this often, it’s become a fine art.

I throw the bales down and began my descent, and in the process of doing so I realise that I am in a pretty precarious position. After landing safely on the narrow step before my final descent to ground level I pause. “One of these days” I thought to myself “someone is going to have a bloody accident”. I then make a mental note on my “to do” list to re-organize the storage space.

I land on the pallet safely, lift a large bale of straw and turn ready to step down into the narrow drainage channel.

The bale is large and, as a result, I can barely see the ground immediately in front of me, so it comes as a real shock when suddenly my left foot drops. It lands, I start to fall, and a large crack fills the air. I recall the very moment when the words “please god no!” flit through my head.

Funny that, a self confirmed atheist making that silent prayer. I know deep down as I collapse on the floor and yell “my leg”. People mingle, “its just a sprain” they say. I nod, trying to suppress the urge to scream.

I hop to the car, and for the ten millionth time in my long life of horse obsession head for A & E.

“It’s just a sprain” they say “but we’ll x-ray it just to be on the safe side”

I mumble an agreement, deep down knowing it was no sprain but hoping it was. I’ve had sprains, and their status is usually not announced with a large bone shattering crack. Two hours later I’m taken into the theatre where a tiny nurse manipulates my leg into physically impossible positions with all the delicacy of a sumo wrestler.

“Oh I’m sorry. Did that hurt?” she asks without even a glance in my direction.

I try to smile but manage only a grimace. “No, it’s fine” I respond politely, not bothering to hide the pain in it.

“You’re very patient, I’m sure its just a sprain” she says as she continues in her attempt to twist my ankle a full 360 degrees.

Finally it’s over. She smiles reassuringly, and explains she will just take a quick look at them before passing them to the consultant. She heads into a nearby room. I can see her through the half inch of clear glass, immediately below the information about x-rays whilst pregnant. I hear her say “ok, well, that’s clear” to her co-worker closely followed by an “oh”.

She appears, still smiling. “OK” she says a little too much like a red coat at Butlin’s.  At any moment I expect her to burst into song to boost my failing moral. “Let’s take you to the Doctor, and he’ll tell you all about it”

I’m returned to the waiting room where Mum awaits looking worried. Almost immediately I’m called again, another journey in the wayward wheelchair with a mind of it’s own. Have I ever said I aren’t good at this dependent thing?!.

“From the front it’s clear” he says attempting a look of sympathy but failing to appear sincere, “but from the side you have a lovely twist fracture running right up your leg”

A whole range of expletives shoot through my mind.

A temporary pot is attached, the permanent one to be attached Monday and did he really say six weeks?. Oh shit.

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