Friday, 27 April 2007

War Stories

Last week my physiotherapist allowed me to jettison both Brad and Johnny (crutches) and walk unassisted. Yes! I am Crutches Tiger, Hidden Dragon no more. The sad news is that I will not be allowed back in the dojo until May. No kicking of bags or instructors until then. Still, I shouldn't complain. At least I can now sit on a bike and pedal with both legs. Up till now I've been pedalling with one leg only, which is very hard to do and does not look cool.

Instead of the dojo, I've been hanging out at the fracture clinic. Be assured, this is a highly competitive environment. My fellow fractees (?) are either young guys who broke their bones snow- or skateboarding, or more elderly victims who suffered quite horrendous injuries falling in the bathtub or down the stairs. What we all have in common is a fervent desire to outdo each other in the war story department. I had rather thought I would scoop the prize for best "injured-in-action" tale – puny woman felling 190 pound kickboxing champion with one blow -- but not so. There is a very good-looking gentleman in our group who tells of breaking his ankle on some remote island off Argentina, dragging himself through miles of swampland, then taking a rickety ferry to the mainland, then flying on a prop plane (at first I mistakenly thought he had piloted it himself, as well) before making his way back to the UK -- all with his broken bones unset. Top that one. As for the injuries themselves – seventy-one year old Stella who suffered 'spiral' breaks has bragging rights here. Her spiky X-ray makes the hardware they've drilled into my leg look like chopsticks.

The line at the fracture clinic is often long, which is why many people bring their own reading material with them. Looking around the room I was sad to see not even one Season of the Witch and rather predictable choices: J.K Rowling; Tess Gerritsen, Dan Brown but also The Executioner's Song – aha - in the hands of a kid who couldn't have been more than sixteen. Doesn't that just give you hope.

Personally, I like browsing through those old dog-eared magazines that are always on offer. They're an adventure. What, Posh and Becks are having marital problems? This is also the only time I ever get to read my horoscope. I was immensely cheered to learn that my financial prospects were about to 'move to the next level' although rather sad to discover that this particular copy was three years old. Seriously though, magazines in waiting rooms have been good to me in the past. When I was thirteen years old and waiting for my appointment with the dentist, I read an article about Thomas Edison. This article ended up providing me with the plot for my first novel many years later. Edison, whose parents were Spiritualists, tried to design a telephone that he hoped might connect the living with relatives who had "crossed over". When I sat down to write Midnight Side, I decided to make use of the concept of phone calls from the dead. After all, what could be more creepy? A ghost wouldn't scare me that much, I don't think – but picking up a ringing phone and recognising the voice on the other end as someone I know to be no longer alive? See Jane run.

Anyway, thanks very much to all of you who have been sending me good wishes and speedy recovery, and who still do. You warm my heart!

BTW This blog entry was originally posted 26 January 2008 but because I wanted to move it to the back of the list I had to play around with the dates...

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