I wrote the following 5 weeks after falling and breaking both of my legs. Apologies if this blog appears a bit self-indulgent, but at the time I wrote it I think found it to be quite cathartic. It’s now 4 months since I fell, and, following 2 operations and a total of 10 weeks in plaster, I’m now finally back on two legs and just about managing to get about under my own steam.
‘(About 5pm, Saturday 5th April)
“Mummy, I want to go upstairs and watch ‘Jelly on a Plate'”
I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve recounted this over the last few weeks..
“My little boy (2) likes to sit on the bed and watch his favourite songs on the iPad” I always say,
“He asked me if we could go upstairs and watch…”
We’d only gone up the first three stairs when I realised his drink of water was downstairs. Crucially (as it turns out) I wasn’t sure exactly where it was.
“Let’s get your water before we go upstairs” I said – it really is almost unbearably mundane.
“Okay!” My little boy said cheerfully, and trotted off.
He KNEW where his drink was. I could have stayed where I was on the stairs, at this point he was heading confidently towards the dining room…
Instead, I heard myself saying, “where is your water..?…”
That’s the point where everything changed, suddenly and completely. That very second. Most accidents, I guess, seem to occur at moments of mundane normality. If it weren’t for the re telling and rerunning in my head, over and over again, innumerable times over the last 5 weeks, I would, no doubt, by now have forgotten that any of these events ever took place.
I’m not sure what happened. People kept asking me, they still keep asking me, even now. I just don’t know. The only thing I can surmise is that I maybe thought I was at the bottom of the stairs, and stepped forward as such. Either that, or I simply slipped, through a momentary lapse of concentration.
Either way, I fell. One thing that I was aware of was that I didn’t seem to put up any defence. I’m almost certain that I didn’t put my hands out to break my fall. I seemed to just crash straight down.
Not being the most lightweight of people, I’m afraid the results of this were fairly catastrophic, and I knew it at the time.
I landed with both legs under me, what my partner describes as a kind of twisted, grotesque kneeling.
“My ankle!” I heard myself saying.
In truth, I’d felt at least one crack. I knew I’d done some serious damage.
The events that followed were like some kind of nightmarish vision. It was like a Salvador Dali painting. Everything swirled and melted.
My partner was insisting on straightening my legs for me. “No!” I begged,
“Please leave me..”
But he was insistent. Prising my legs out from under me, I yelled, cried, screamed and protested. He lay my legs on a large, cushion.
It was a bit like the feeling when you’ve had far too much to drink and just want to be left alone.
Meanwhile, my daughter, who less than a minute before had been happily watching her long-awaited download of ‘Frozen’, began screaming.
The screaming — I couldn’t bear the screaming. It melded with the melting, bending visions in my head. The pounding in my skull, the overwhelming nausea, the sweaty clammy-ness. My little boy began screaming too. I wanted to comfort them…but I also wanted to pass out.
But the worst thing was the pain. The pain – particularly in my right leg – was indescribable. I don’t even know how I could begin to explain.
Meanwhile, through the swirling, melting mix of screaming, sweat, nausea and pain, I was aware of my partner phoning an ambulance…then ringing my parents.
I was petrified that someone would bump the cushion where my legs lay. Such was the level of pain, the thought of someone even tapping the cushion was unbearable. I couldn’t move my legs..and I didn’t dare.
I lay with my upper torso resting on the stairs I had fallen down. I was half on my side and the stairs dug into my ribs, exacerbating my discomfort.
Then a phone call. The ambulance was delayed. I had to speak to them. Somehow I needed to muster an explanation that conveyed that they must come…as quickly as possible.
My parents arrived and took the children to their house.
Eventually, some paramedics arrived. No ambulance, yet, but at least someone had come. This meant pain relief: gas and air — laughing gas. Thank God.’
Twitter was such a great help to me during the 4 weeks that I was in hospital and I had so many kind messages of support. In fact, it’s continued to be an invaluable source of support throughout this whole, unpleasant experience. Thank you to all.
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