This is how it happened. I went to a rugby match in Bath and took a shortcut across a grassy bank. My left foot slid down the slope and my body fell back on my ankle. Snap, fibula fractured in two places.
We went to A&E. The nurse asked questions about allergies. Then said:
“On a scale of 1 to 10, what’s your pain threshold?”
I thought about that: “Well, I’m not sure. I’ve nothing to compare with.”
She tapped her pen on the desk and told me she hadn’t got all day.
“Ok,” I said, “on a scale of 1 to 10 what would child-birth be?”
She glared at me and said: “You’re a 1.”
And so it went. Being on crutches and no car for the last two weeks opened my eyes. A train from Bletchly Park to Swindon meant five changes, all fine until Didcott where there’s no lift on platform 1. A client in Watford has his meeting room on the fifth floor and he’d no lift. Worse, he didn’t think that was odd.
People were lovely. A pregnant woman offered me her seat. I declined, but it started a lovely chat. An old man stood up and offered me his wife and then got flustered.
It was fun and fine for a few days and then it became tedious. So much you can’t do. I will look at the disabled more closely in future. Julia Kasdorf has lines that catch it:
Like a doctor, I learned to create
from another’s suffering, my own uselessness, and once
you know how to do this, you can never refuse.
First published in Swindon Link magazine