Part 12 – Foot Man

The day is here and I’m excited! Today is the day when I see my foot doctor in Eastbourne and therefore it is the first day that I leave the hospital in any way shape or form.
The burly ambulance men arrive and jollily load me into the back. I’m on a special kind of chair that then folds down so I can take a seat in the back of the minibus ambulance thing.
There are other folks here too, conversation rolls and there’s a kind of summer holiday feel. I tell the quite blokey nurse about my job adding cheekily that the money is, of course, incredible. He nods seriously and congratulates me. He has no idea I’m taking the piss. So much for delicate irony, a subtle skill I’m still slowly re-learning. Although I still do love a good poo gag I’m trying to broaden my repertoire. Back in the day I used to be able to deliver an outrageous lie with the kind of deadpan aplomb that would hopefully make folks smile. These days when I have a bash at that sort of joke they just take me seriously. That’s brain injuries for you. If people know you have a bruised cerebrum then they expect bollocks and are not ready for barefaced sarcasm. If I told the docs that I was Napoleon they would probably nod seriously and say “What makes you think that then?” In fact, there’s probably a whole medical paper on brain damaged dictator delusions.
Anyway, enough of my griping because the general vibe is very nice, kind of like a school trip, the sun is shining and oooop what’s that? Hold on, it’ll pass.
Yes, as I was saying, the skies really blue and we’re lucky to … hang on, salivating mouth, that can’t be good, but yeah nice weather and …. oh dear do you mind passing me one of those paper bag things? And here we go, don’t look, this ain’t gonna be nice, oooop, BUMP!
UUUuuuuurgggghhhh…
(Hand up) Don’t worry I’ll be alright in a minute I just need to … oh god …
COOORRRRNNER!!
WuuUuuuR UUUp! FeWEy! OooOop! EeeEeerrrrr! (Gulp) Glooop…
With a baptism of fire I am introduced to one of the more famous (no-one mentioned it to me!) side effects of brain injury: carsickness.
You know, your balance is all skewiff so the motion (especially around windey country roads) is only going to make you a bit peeky.
When we arrive at the hospital in Eastbourne I’m a gentle shade of jade. That wasn’t pleasant … or rather it was until the stomach evacuation commenced. It was a big operation. All hands on deck.
The fellow passengers looked on sympathetically while I gurgled, yakked and yobbled.
Eeeeewwww … oh well, here we are: solid ground and the nausea lifts just as quickly as it arrived. Let’s not dwell. This day’s too interesting. To the waiting room!
The place is filled with the usual untold stories and just plain old ‘thank fuck I’m not thems!’ A guy gabbles on incoherently in his wheelchair as a nurse looks to the other patients and with a knowing grimace, taps on her temple. He really is not making any sense at all. There but for the grace of God eh? If I’m lucky enough to get away with just motor related vomiting then so be it. At least I’m not that guy.
Eventually we wheel across to the x-ray. The first thing I do on entering the waiting room is point to the nurse behind the counter and comment, quite loudly, ‘CHECK OUT THE QUIFF ON THAT GUY!’
As it is, I happily get away with it, the young, rather sharp looking fella just smiles from beneath his (if we’re honest) towering achievement.
I guess I bring it up here because later my urge to joyfully blab strikes again.
X-rays done I settle down with the man who, quite elegantly, filled my foot with metal.
He surveys the x-rays (as do I – cooool) and makes positive noises. He then goes on to tell me that he’s married to a very pretty doctor on my ward. Now hold your breath and hush my dear ones because you are at the dawn of a momentous occasion. Now although I am proud of such an occurrence it does make me a little sad to impart. The moment when a brain bruised euphoric and somewhat inappropriate Dave learnt some restraint.
So the guy tells me about his misses.
I breath in deeply and am about to commence a rather loud ‘PhwaaaAAA! I WOULD!’ when I have a moment’s pause.
OK, a problem now occurs because I am obviously just about to say something or emit some kind of noise. I have inhaled very heavily, it’s obviously leading up to something. The Doc looks at me with eyebrows raised, expectant. I must say something but not that. I can’t just blow my cheeks out in a long senseless raspberry.
So … I have to think on my feet. And what I say is this (which I think this is fine, if a little awkward):
‘Your wife is very … very… erm … your wife … is very … aesthetically pleasing.’
Well there we go. Phew! I don’t sound like a complete dick, what a relief!
I do sound like bit of a dick though, just a rather verbose one (but I am getting more verbose. Aesthetically, check out the vocab on me!).
The guy chuckles wryly under his breath and says ‘Yes … And she’s a good doctor.’
Good point gently made and with that sly little witticism I am definitely humbled. He certainly came out of that looking the best but I think, bearing in mind what the alterative could have been, I do come out of this looking a bit odd but OK.
On a footnote (well, we are dealing with feet) the surgeon in question was, I think, a bit of an artist. Later, whenever I’ve had to show my foot to a nurse or a doctor they have reacted with a kind of hushed awe. As I’ve yanked my trouser leg up it has often felt like I am unveiling a rather tastily put together kit car. They run their hands over it admiringly, emit a low whistle and usually say something like ‘nice foot job’.
The rest of the day passes nicely. My parents pop down. I get to see some of Eastborne and have some cake in a nice café.
It’s nice. It’s nice to be out and about.
My mother glances at me and says quickly. “So … Eastbourne. Bring back any memories?”
I miss the slight edge to her voice and ram some more cake in my mouth. That’s the great thing about having lost so much weight. I can eat anything I want. Twice.
I look at the seafront frowning. I know whatever happened to me happened here.
“No,” I say, raising my eyebrows. “No. It’s all gone. All gone. I haven’t got a clue.”
“Oh well,” says my mum. “You probably wouldn’t want to remember.”
“Well. It would be nice to know what happened.”
“Yes it would be but never mind eh? That’s in the past now.” She puts her cake on my plate. “All in the past.”

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