What a difference a week can make in one’s life!
One week ago I was getting on a plane from Corfu back to London feeling refreshed and invigorated from time away. I had fallen a few days before and thought I had just sprained my wrist. It was quite sore but nothing unbearable. Five years previously I had broken my shoulder and the pain was intense and constant so I was sure this was just a sprain.
On arriving in London my husband and I went straight to Hyde Park for the Eagles concert, a Christmas present from our children. It was a balmy summer’s evening and the park was full of ageing rockers, like ourselves. We are at that age and stage when everyone looks familiar. My husband adores the Eagles’ music and so we were set for a fabulous evening. What a brilliant way to end our holiday.
I woke on Monday full of energy, still humming Hotel California, when my husband suggested I get my wrist checked out as it didn’t seem to be improving or in ‘husband speak’ I was asking for his help to do a lot of simple tasks. I read once that Prince Charles has a man squeeze his toothpaste onto his brush. It must have been a media joke but right now I could have done with that man.
So the decision was made and he drove me to A&E and after three hours I exited wearing a cast as it was broken! How I had managed to walk around, swim, drive a car and dance in Hyde Park was a mystery to the bone doctor – perhaps the holiday alcohol consumption was the antidote. However, the whole incident highlighted an interesting ageing point to me. I observed the A&E language from the medics as they kept saying that I had had a fall whilst I kept saying I had fallen over or even just slipped on some slimy rocks.
I was being seen at a similar time to a 12-year-old girl who my doctor kept saying had fallen over whilst playing netball and had also broken her wrist. Meanwhile, my notes read, “she had a fall whilst on holiday.”
At what age do we move from falling over to having a fall? Having a fall seems to be an age-related affliction that simply can’t be helped.
I was reminded of when my girlfriend fell and broke her hip and had to fight to prove she still had some life left in her and therefore deserved a full hip replacement and not just a half. We need to defy all the ageist assumptions and show that we are not ready to be put out to ‘graze’ for the rest of our days.
Even more annoying my 12-year-old A&E companion was offered a coloured cast and chose blue. I got no such offer and I would have loved a pop of colour on my arm if I am going to be wearing this for a few weeks. Can we change the language in the medical world – some of us still want to have fun and we don’t want to fade into the background.
Having said all of this the NHS looked after me efficiently and swiftly so l have no complaints there. Dr. Freddie had a sense of humour throughout and said it would be 4 – 6 weeks of wearing a cast. I guess 4 weeks for those who have fallen over and 6 weeks for those who have had a fall!
More posts by Annabel can be read here