Well the cold weather has finally come back again, and I think readers of this Blog will remember just how much I hate the cold. Its mainly because of my back injury quite some years ago now which I believe I mentioned almost as many years ago now. Can’t quite remember when it happened, but I believe it was around 2001. It was caused by a slight fall at my home – well, in fact, quite a heavy fall as I succeeded in dislodging a vertebrae. No. I wasn’t ‘drunk’ (much as this may come a disappointment to a few of my critics!), but slipped on some workmen’s tools left on the stairs. Among other things, they were supposed to be fixing the lighting, but they had somehow managed to set the communal lightings setting down to a minimum, so instead of staying on for 4 minutes or so, the main lights went off after only about 15 seconds. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of this, and my descent on the rather steep stairs where I live (in a flat at the top of a house over-looking Highgate Woods) was suddenly ‘plunged into darkness’. Result. I missed the stairs and slipped on some tools which they had neglected to put away before leaving. I twisted my ankle and fell on the base on my spine – which wasn’t exactly helped by a heavy bang to the head in the process. There was no pain – at least, if there was, I didn’t feel any at the time. In the morning my foot was badly swollen and it was impossible to put any weight on it without severe pain; which meant, of course, normal walking was made impossible until the natural healing process had taken its course.
At least, that’s what I thought at the time; maybe two or three weeks trapped in my flat with a total reliance on others to bring me in every necessity from food to luxuries like cigarettes and wine.
The latter, in fact, didn’t bother me so much, as I needed a rest during a busy period and quite relished the fact of catching up on a lot of writing while being to see friends at the same time.
But after only just one week, it seemed I was getting a premonition of complications that were to come into the future . . . My foot was healing up quickly, but I noticed that something seemed to have ‘happened’ to my back. I could no longer get into comfortable positions in bed, or even sitting at the computer, and unwanted feelings of ‘dizziness’ became increasingly common which seemed to have no connection with my injured foot.. When I tried to walk (which I could almost do by this time), I could no longer do so with normal speed, and if I tried to so, all sense of balance would go so there was a real danger of falling over.
I spoke to a friend of mine about this whom I’d met at a nearby tennis club where I socialized. Being a doctor he could advise me ‘out of hours’, and he concluded that there was nothing physically wrong with my foot (which by this time had returned to normal size and not even painful), but that the dislodged vertebrae was the real problem (which could be felt to be physically out of place) which had somehow affected the nerve endings that affected walking. He advised me to go to my own doctor for confirmation and that she would probably refer me to a specialist who may advise that spinal ‘manipulation’ may be necessary – in other words, an operation.
Well, that really decided me in advance. I already suspected that this might be the problem, and yet I had heard so many horrendous stories about people having spinal ‘treatment’, that I decided to just ‘put up with it’, rather than just complicating the problem. After all, I reasoned, I was not in any physical pain (which was one major blessing), and it just meant adjusting my physical balance accordingly, although I also realised this would probably mean, I could never walk any faster.
By some quirk of Fate, I had become a ‘semi-invalid’ overnight (quite literally!), but (I reasoned, and still do!) it was the lesser of two evils just to accept this gracefully, rather than become a permanent one! I knew there were many others far worse off than myself, and I only had the disadvantage of being restricted by speed , and I would just have to accept Life’s given proviso.
And I do!
I have no choice. Yet I have adapted it to fit in with everyday life. Not so difficult to do in private maybe, but it can become quite inconvenient at some Talks I give when its necessary to travel by busy roads or rail with crowds of people to meet and converse with at the end of it! But even then, this may be a misnomer. More than often I’m just seated comfortably in my flat with or without friends around me – but invariably enjoying the work or solitude with my wife Della.
Sorry for any delay in Blogging, everyone. But I thought you at least might like a more personal one for a change!