Readers of the Times Diary last month may have read a story that my wife and I came off our tandem while peddling round the constituency, and sustained some minor injuries. How the story reached the Times I don’t know, but it was basically true. No lasting physical damage has been done and I hope to be back on two wheels shortly.
The incident reconnected me with the NHS, on whose hospitality I have happily had to make few claims. It responded well to the challenge; X-rays were promptly taken, a wrist was encased in plaster, knees and elbows bathed and bandaged. I was invited to return a fortnight later for a progress report.
Offers to sign the plaster in the meantime were politely declined – until I went to a village fete and approached the Face Painting stand. No, I didn’t want to be painted as a cat but I would like to help raise funds for the local school. So a picture of a tandem was drawn on to the plaster as a memory of the cause of the injury.
I went back to the local hospital to have the plaster removed. A nurse approached me with a small circular saw. I took the view that amputation was premature as recovery was well underway; but the instrument was aimed at the plaster rather than the limb. While this operation took place – with my right arm emerging like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis -I picked up the advice sheet for patients with wrist injuries following removal of plaster.
“Avoid lifting heavy objects initially; e.g. do not lift a pan full of potatoes” I pointed this out to the wife, as an alibi for not cooking. She drew my attention to the following sentence “Pegging out light washing is ideal exercise” When we got home, she despatched me to the clothesline with a basket of damp linen.