I sit, immobile, on a hotel bed in Ljubljana in Slovenian reflecting on my own mortality as I stare at my left leg which is strapped rigidly into a knee-high plastic cast. My broken foot has a heart beat of its own, each throb accompanied by a wave of dull pain. The tablets are beginning to work. A pair of crutches lie against the bar fridge blocking access to alternate pain relief. I confess to being a little melancholy.
Its evening and I have time, lots of it, to reflect on the first day of my annual holiday, a day spent in a foreign hospital. It passed slowly as I watched soundless cartoons on monitors that hung above every doorway in the hospital’s endless corridor of nameless rooms. On hearing my Aussie accent, my ailment became secondary to every medical staffer’s express aspiration to practice in Australia. More than one day’s re-run of the cartoons would do that to anyone. X-rays, pain killers, crutches, a pat on the back and I’m discharged. A dismissive ‘enjoy your holiday’, the parting gesture from the local medico who was in the middle of a very long shift.
And why a broken foot? The consequence of attempting to get fit because of my middle age desire to live beyond middle age with body and mind in a fit state to make life worth living. My first sporting injury at the age of 56. Proud as punch ! Sore as hell.
How did I get it? I simply put a foot wrong. Not even a story to brag about.
With time on my hands my mind has returned to a recurring thought, I must start a blog. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for years but today provides the perfect opportunity to begin, after all I’m not going anywhere in a hurry.
- is my will up to date?
- did I pay the travel insurance premium?
- wow, the medicos wouldn’t even talk to my wife about my injury (she is a doctor) until I gave express permission (seems the lawyers have had their impact here too)?
- will I get to actually take my camera out of its bag to capture some of the local delights?
- I really should have an advanced health care directive in place!
- how the hell do I get down 2 blocks of cobble stone streets to reach the restaurant booked for dinner tonight?
and other momentous questions of life, death and living. I’m now going to induce sleep by reviewing a paper I’ve written for presentation to a medical conference on mental capacity. That should make the pain at the other end of my body pale into insignificance.