“Was it an accident or did you do it on purpose?” asked the serious-looking assessment nurse with a strong Irish accent. It was one of those moments when you realise that there are so many completely barmy people in this world and that most of them spend a fair bit of time in hospitals’ A&E departments. Or maybe she was just looking at my file and noticed that it was my second visit since the month started.
The first time was an E – my brain decided to play mean tricks on my body. This time was definitely an A. I reached down to get a spare battery for my drill without noticing the steel wood-cutting bit pointing in my direction. All 12mm of the driving spike rammed into my hand just below the lower joint on my thumb. “Ouch!” would be an understatement. 24 hours later and I’m still finding blood-spatters all over the place. It was like the opening credits from Dexter.
My first A&E visit happened on Good Friday. I had to wait almost four hours and got to watch all of The Sound of Music with subtitles. This time my wait was comparatively short and I only got to skim a newspaper that was uncomfortably large for someone with a damaged hand. The broadsheet producers really should show more consideration for the disabled and the careless.
Now the puncture is dark and looks like a vampire has visited. The swollen skin around it is a subtle shade of blue. It hurts when I bend it and is stopping me from getting on with anything useful. Stopping me doing the job I was doing when the A happened.
If only I could turn back the clock until that moment just before skin hit metal and warn myself not to be such a numpty. But if I could do that I wouldn’t have fallen off my bike when I was seven – resulting in a stone being removed from my knee a year later. I wouldn’t have gone snowboarding or skiing – resulting in more damage to the ligaments in that same knee and I wouldn’t have tripped over the fallen road-works sign last month – resulting in my knee almost doubling in size and, despite spending the morning under a packet of rapidly-thawing sweetcorn, turning a colour resembling something like the inside of a blueberry muffin.
But there is no time-turner and the ancient saying ‘That which doesn’t kill us makes us strong’ springs to mind. My body says bollocks to that!