Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ice, Ice, Baby

Careful - it's slippery out

Who knew that ice-skating is dangerous? Who knew that skating on ice is slippery? It just so happens that I haven't fallen over ice-skating in... well years and years. I guessed it would happen soon because I've been pushing myself to try new, complicated things which are difficult.

I was trying a simple enough movement - skate forward on left, turn change feet, backwards spiral, change, crossover... with a little jump. I'm right-footed which means that everything is easy on my right foot but my left is weaker so I sometimes struggle to balance. So I started with my left foot... after ten minutes I could do it well enough so when my teacher said "change feet" I was feeling pretty confident.

The crowded Poseidon rink

I get knocked down - but I get up again

I skated forward on my right foot and was suddenly on the floor. I landed awkwardly on my backside and hands (how I'm not sure). I got up and fully intended to carry on skating once I'd got my breath back. Then I started to feel dizzy and sick and stumbled again. My right wrist hurt a bit, but it had been numbed by the ice and the pain didn't sink in until the shock started to wear off and the wrist warmed up.

I'm used to bruises and scrapes - I did gymnastics when I was younger, climbed trees, crashed bikes etc. I've sprained my wrist several times, had concussion from playing netball and fractured a bone in my hand after tripping whilst running. I'm not accident-prone or clumsy... just active. This was pain beyond pain I've ever experienced and I was close to tears. However, I presumed it would go away after a good night's sleep.

Of course my skating teacher advised me to go to A&E as did a couple of other skaters I'm friendly with. Each told me (in a variety of French, Italian and English) that it'd be best to have it checked just in case, because it could heal wrong and I might get arthritis when I was older. At this stage it was swollen and pretty painful so I agreed to be driven to the local hospital by my skating teacher. One skater I know is a doctor so he offered to come along as well to oversee the process.

Brush yourself off and try again

We arrived at the hospital and got into the queue... ignored by the receptionist doctor who was having far too much fun wheeling around on his chair. Dr Skater got quite irritated by this: "I take off my white coat and stethoscope and they don't recognise me". He then popped to the waiting room and announced "It's Happy Hour" which was just great because it was almost 9.30pm as it was and my skating teacher had told me that when her father received a puck to the eye, he wasn't seen until 4.30am (after arriving just after 9pm). I figured we might as well get comfy...

Once my second set of forms were completed - yes we filled them out wrong the first time - we sat down in the waiting room discussing language (I was obviously rather worried I'd agree to have my arm amputated). My skating teacher told me that when she was in America, she and her family went to an Italian restaurant and ordered Margheritas. The waiter politely informed them that they didn't serve alcohol in this restaurant. Her father explained that they didn't want alcohol, they just wanted some Margheritas. The waiter again insisted they couldn't serve Margaritas so her father gave up and ordered 'cheese and tomato pizzas'.

It's not what you know - it's who you know

After we'd been sitting down for two minutes, Dr Skater came back from chatting to his friends and announced that we could go straight through. I glanced smugly at everyone else in the waiting room and went through Tin-Tin decorated corridors to a room where Dr Evil prodded and pulled my arm, wrist and hand (almost reducing me to tears), maliciously enquiring whether or not it hurt.

Feeling thoroughly assaulted I gave him my best stare, went back to the corridor and had barely sat down before I was having my arm X-rayed by Dr Teenager (overseen by Dr Skater who had pulled a lot of strings by the sound of it). Everyone was pretty sure it was broken but apparently I have strong bones. The results showed there were no breaks, fractures or fissures, just a torn ligament - Grade III sprain - I was strapped up and given some Ibuprofen Teva. The whole process took less than an hour! Go Sproutland!

Dad: You look like an armadillo!

Just whistle while you work

The next day was Friday and my arm was still really painful. Not one to complain I got on with my daily routine:

  • Showering - washing hair and body presented no problem. Putting the towel around me was impossible.
  • Getting dressed - tedious but doable. Bra - putting it on one-handed was not humanly possible.
  • Beautification - lenses and make-up were manageable. Combing of the hair difficult.
  • Working - typing with my left hand was fine, but slow. Taking notes during a conference call didn't work.
  • Eating - using a fork was fine. Taking hot crockery out of the microwave unpleasant.
  • Making a hotty - fine the first time; the second time I scalded my left leg!
Needless to say, my plans for this weekend were scuppered, although I did manage to pack most of my stuff, but it was time-consuming and annoying.

Get back on that horse

I'm very glad I didn't break my wrist, especially as I start my new job a week tomorrow and being unable to type isn't particularly useful... not least when you're a professional writer!

I did miss my skating lesson yesterday (and it would have been my last one), but it's my last few days in Brussels and I am definitely going tomorrow, even if it's for just twenty minutes (I want to buy a souvenir Poseidon ice-skating teddy). After all - there's nothing wrong with my feet!

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