For example yesterday.
Yesterday I woke up at 6.38am with an earache that told me I had to go straight to A&E.
I think I might have got some water in it through medical misadventure.
I hopped in the car and drove up to South End Green. It was the most stunningly beautiful morning.
The quiet London early morning Summer haze. No wind.
The Plane trees in the village centre were so quiet and still and glowing with their vibrantly alive leaves.
A wild woman with grey hair and a cigarette passed me in the street. She looked me in the eye while she was walking and briefly stopped to watch me pass. “Frightening. So so frightening”, she rasped.
My morning wasn’t frightening. It was perfect.
And I wondered how it was frightening for her.
At A&E it was quiet. There were four women and a baby there.
One woman was softly crying in pain. The kind of sound you make when in labour.
I looked around and wondered why nobody was attending to her more quickly.
Another woman had a broomstick handle as a makeshift walking stick. The doctor thought it was very good.
The woman in front of me turned around and smiled.
She asked if they discharge you officially. She’d been sitting in the waiting room for a few hours. But they’d sent her back out there and told her to wait. I asked what she was in for – was she going to have an operation? No, somebody had called an ambulance that night because she’d drunk too much. She was down from up north and she’d had an argument with her daughter. So she had nowhere to go and her train back home wasn’t until 2.15pm. She said she didn’t know whether she had to stay there and I said I thought they probably meant for her to sit there until she came to and started asking questions. I said she was probably ok to go. She could go and sit on the sofa at Starbucks. The Heath is just down the road and it’s a beautiful morning.
She put her head in her hands. Remembering the previous night.
Her shoulders hunched over and the slow shaking of her head told her story.
I was called in to see the doctor. It had only been about a half hour wait.
He asked me about my ear and I told him what I’d done.
He was listening intently to my story and I said, “Oh god you think I’m mad don’t you.” And he said, “Oh no I’m intrigued, it sounds really interesting”. That was me telling him about my new french pharmaceutical item, the wonderful saline nasal spray. The ones I’d bought in France had run out and I’d ordered some online and I’d tried it the previous morning and the spray was a bit different. I think some of it got into my ear. The doctor said it would be impossible for it to get into my ear and it must be a coincidence.
Of that I’m not entirely sure because I could definitely hear water in my ear.
I was fascinated that he heard the tiniest squeak from my lip (which I couldn’t really explain but sometimes lips squeak spontaneously, don’t they). He thought he’d hurt my ear. I was struck that he’d noticed it.
Looking in my ear the doctor said it looked bad. I agreed it was. I declined the painkillers and off he went to get the antibiotics and ear drops. Once I’d been furnished with said supplies off I went. I didn’t ask how I might have got it as I don’t like to waste doctor’s time at A&E with unnecessary questions. The doctor said was been pleased to meet me, and goodbye. Another first for a doctor.
Arriving back at home only an hour after I left it was into full swing baking and preparing for my brother’s family’s leaving picnic. I made raw raspberry nut cheesecake (no cheese in it at all), and in stark contrast an Alsace Tart brimming with organic creme fraiche, gammon steak cubes and organic double Jersey cream.
Before we headed out the door I said, “Oh! I need to do my handstand.” Kevin told me it was a bad idea and that I really shouldn’t. Not with an ear infection. So off upstairs I went and moved the furniture out of the way to prepare for my daily handstand.
First attempt I didn’t get all the way up to the wall – instead a perfect handstand straight up but no momentum to tip the scales to get my feet to the wall. Ok, no worries, second attempt.
Second attempt and I’ll do it.
Up I went. Onto the wall. Perhaps too far. My left arm buckled and I knew I was in trouble. I wondered what to do and very slowly my arm folded down and my head was next to meet the floor. I then pulled my body down to the ground and lifted my tucked in head up off the floor and out from under my shoulders. All. In. Very. Slow. Motion.
Whoosh I’m down.
My arm hurt. My head hurt.
I went downstairs and toyed with the idea of not saying anything.
But I did.
“Kevin, sometimes I should listen to you.”
“Yes!” Said Kevin. “At last!”