Adding in­jury to in­sult in the ex­treme sport of ag­ing

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SO I was bungee jump­ing last week­end, and the cord was a tad long and…well, that’s how I came to tear all the lig­a­ments in my left foot.

Don’t be­lieve me? Try this: I went sky-div­ing and landed awk­wardly… No? Well, there was this cage-fight, see… Okay, here it is – in all its pedes­trian ba­nal­ity: I was the vic­tim of a par­tic­u­larly vi­cious hole that was ly­ing in wait, clev­erly dis­guised as lawn.

I’ve spent a good part of the week test­ing out more sen­sa­tional ex­pla­na­tions and have had a num­ber of help­ful sug­ges­tions rang­ing from a skateboarding or ab­seil­ing mishap, to the near­lethal but tri­umphant pur­suit of a flee­ing ban­dit and, my per­sonal favourite: “Tell ‘em you should see the other gal!”.

Truth is, it seems just get­ting older is an ex­treme sport.

When an or­di­nary but ill-timed stride can put you up on blocks for a month, you know you’ve reached the age at which ev­ery­thing starts to wear out, fall down or seize up.

To add in­sult to in­jury, there was no psy­che­delic bruis­ing; no hideously swollen sasquatch­like swelling with which to garner wide­spread com­mis­er­a­tion.

Just what the physio says is a “grade two” tear of the lig­a­ments – a sneak­ily con­cealed wound that, like the hole that put it there, lies in wait un­til you’re lulled into think­ing it might be time to test the heal­ing process and… wham! Over you go. And turn the air pur­ple with the kind of lan­guage that would make Gor­don Ram­say blush.

So my new fash­ion ac­ces­sory for the new year is a par­tic­u­larly unattrac­tive black “moon boot” – so called be­cause you’d rather fly to outer space than go through the pain of re-in­jury.

Like most rugby props I know, it ain’t pretty but it’s ef­fec­tive.

At first, I was scep­ti­cal. “Do you re­ally think it’s nec­es­sary to wear this thing for a month?” I asked my hus­band, The Or­a­cle.

“Nah…” he said, rolling his eyes. “They just want you to wear it to piss you off and make you walk funny.” Ex­cel­lent, be­cause it’s ac­com­plished both. While the boot re­mark­ably suc­cess­ful in im­mo­bil­is­ing the way­ward lig­a­ments and the foot to which they were pre­vi­ously at­tached, it makes for a gait rem­i­nis­cent of Quasi­modo. I lurch in­el­e­gantly from side to side, fright­en­ing the dog and small chil­dren, and look­ing like I’ve just been to lunch with Sir Les Patterson.

It doesn’t do much for the over­all sar­to­rial ef­fect, but that’s the least of my wor­ries. My ol’ Mum used to say you have to suf­fer to be beau­ti­ful, but that ship sailed some time back, and I don’t have the stom­ach for the kind of suf­fer­ing torn lig­a­ments will wreak if not treated prop­erly.

A friend – an as­pir­ing co­me­dian, ap­par­ently – pointed out that the new footwear isn’t ex­actly con­ducive to ro­mance, but that’s just as well.

At this point, who knows what kind of harm a harm­less roll in the hay might in­flict?

The up­side, said the sun­shiney lit­tle voice in my head, is that I could look for­ward to at least a few days of pam­per­ing and in­dul­gent mol­ly­cod­dling from your near­est and dear­est be­fore the nov­elty, and sym­pa­thy, wears off.

Both the off­spring promptly skipped town. And The Or­a­cle – on whom I was left count­ing for peeled grapes, cups of tea with bick­ies and con­stant pan­der­ing – in­stead de­cided to steal my thun­der by pulling his right ham­string.

What a pair we make. Be­tween us we have a work­ing set of pins – his left, my right – so we’re grate­ful for small mer­cies. It’s not ex­actly life threat­en­ing, but it’s awk­ward.

The worst is that he has a bet­ter story. His in­jury was sus­tained dur­ing a valiant and ul­ti­mately vic­to­ri­ous ef­fort to stop a 230kg mo­tor­bike from crash­ing to the ground and break­ing some pretty sig­nif­i­cant bones. Me? I just stepped in a hole. And now I’m the one ty­ing HIS shoelaces and fetch­ing his English Break­fast. I could just kick him. Oh, wait….

I lurch in­el­e­gantly from side to side, fright­en­ing the dog and small chil­dren, and look­ing like I’ve just been to lunch with Sir Les Patterson.

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