The Wedge

I had been given a 9am appointment for the ‘wedge’ to be investigated. This is the sort of appointment time that usually pleases me, but as I had to take public transport which didn’t go directly to the clinic and I don’t have a particularly good sense of direction, the 9am appointment was the source of some anxiety for me, never mind the concern over the contents of the wedge.

So, I caught a bus which was about two buses too early for a 9am appointment and duly disembarked where my iPhone told me to. My iPhone also told me I was 7 minutes away from my final destination, so with 40 minutes to spare, I strolled through a nearby park and then popped into the park loos before deciding to head off to the clinic. As I left the park loos I took my font of all knowledge out of my pocket and being the fickle font of all knowledge that it was, it had now decided that I was 32 minutes away from my final destination! How could this be? Did I lose track of time in a park which spanned the width of the town? Was the loo in the park really a TARDIS? Whatever the reason for the sudden change in my ETA, I knew I had to step on it. I didn’t like stepping on it whilst my wrist was wrecked, because I didn’t trust myself to not slip over again and break another part of myself. Helpful people had reassured me with pearls of wisdom such as ‘nothing could break that wrist now with a steel plate in there!’ True (actually, I’m not sure if it was true that the plate was steel) but there was a reason it was in a splint and a sling and couldn’t bear weight for another three months. It wasn’t fixed yet and I was not convinced that the pain wouldn’t be unimaginable if I fell on it again. And anyway, there were plenty of other bones that could snap and when you’ve got your arm in a sling, your balance is not great, frankly. But I quickened my pace to a brisk walk and proceeded to get lost. There was a railway line in-between my current location and my destination and I was starting to feel like I was in a maze, while I became increasingly frustrated at my inability to find a way over/under/through the track. But succeed I did, with no time to spare, so I found myself running awkwardly, as one does when one is incapacitated in some way and I got to the clinic a few minutes late.

Of course, the department I wanted was a few floors up so I called the lift which didn’t arrive and ended up taking the stairs two at a time, thinking that if I fell now, at least I would be surrounded by medical people, even if dislodged plates in wrists (which probably can’t happen) aren’t their speciality. I burst through the double doors on arrival at the correct floor and skidded to a halt at reception, panting all over the desk. I gave my name and time of appointment but this didn’t seem to interest her.

‘Fill this form in please,’ she commanded as she handed me something resembling a writing frame for a short novel. She, along with the other two receptionists, were transfixed by my sling.

‘Sure,’ I rasped, still catching my breath from my unexpected sprint, ‘but would you like my name?’

I knew I’d told her my name, but I was concerned that it wasn’t noted.

‘No,’ she replied, ‘I can’t tick you off till you’ve filled in the forms.’

‘It will take me some time,’ I pointed out, holding up my slinged arm by way of explanation.

‘I can’t tick you off till you’ve filled in the forms,’ she repeated.

I would have requested some help, but I found all of them so unwelcoming (just think of the DSS lady in Bread) that I did my best on my own. No – that’s a lie – I didn’t do my best. I was cross and anxious about the time, so I completed the form hurriedly. My writing is not the neatest, even with a working right arm, but as I was using my left hand and I was rushing, it was truly messy. I marched back to the front desk and plonked the short novel containing my medical history under her nose and got myself a coffee. I relaxed into a comfy chair and realised that quite a few people were transfixed by my sling. Maybe they thought I was really dim and had made a mistake by going to the wrong clinic. Or maybe I was just attracting attention because I was huffing and puffing and being quite noisy and clumsy, as everything is more complicated and takes longer when you have a temporary disability. I’ve specified ‘temporary’ because when your disability is short-lived, you don’t have time to adapt before everything’s back to normal for you.

I was lifting my cup to my mouth for the first glorious intake of caffeine, when my name was called and so began my journey from pillar to post as is the way in these clinics. I underwent many scrutinies, just as when I’d had the lump, but with the added bonus of a wrecked wrist. The nurses were suitably sympathetic over my medical double whammy and I accepted all offers of help, even though I had got used to just getting on with things, like squirming in and out of tops, but it was nice to have some help. Eventually they told me that the wedge was an innocent wedge. It was actually a cluster of lumps which they couldn’t really explain but that was fine; I considered my mind to be securely at rest over the matter.

And so I went home and mentally ticked off ‘the wedge’.

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