Today is Holi holiday, a festival of colour. Click here (today only, I'm guessing) for the Google doodle which leads in colourful fashion to learning more about what Holi is . In India there are beautiful displays of a love and fun-spirited appreciation of colour. "It brings people together" and anticipates fruitfulness in the seasons to come. Fruitfulness which we in the western world may take to mean either its original and literal meaning, or merely a sense that things are getting better.
Here in London, I mentioned to a friend yesterday how glad I was that the evenings were lighter - that is was no longer already dark long before 5pm - and that it lifted my spirits to see the day lengthening and the nights giving way to warmer spring and summer months. I need daylight and exercise, and the colours the daylight shows me, to feel the beneficial presence of nature in vitamin form within my body and give a natural boost to the antidepressant medication I'm taking. And also I need exercise, which has long been a known natural shot of endorphin-boosting joy to my system.
Unfortunately I'm seeing less of these than usual, because exactly a week ago today I woke up with unexplained pain on the sole of my right foot. Pain which felt like I'd held my foot in the equivalent of a clawed fist all night long and now needed to stretch it out somehow and release all of that tension. I did release it, if you could call it that. I walked to the train and into work and by the time I got there the pain had subsided into a nagging ache and I shook it off, and went on with the day.
Two days later, after two more days waking like this, I could hardly walk and the pain was going nowhere. Added to this three different doctors looking at my foot (one at the 'walk in' centre, whose name they still need to change, one at my GP surgery and one at A&E (that's the emergency room in case anyone's wondering)).
None of these doctors could agree on what was wrong. I spent six hours in A&E on Monday and had such a bad time that despite my respect for the NHS I wrote a letter of formal complaint about the way that I was treated (or rather not treated) there.
"I've looked at your X-ray with two other doctors and we can't see a fracture," said my doctor. (In fact he said nothing like this because his English was so poor I couldn't understand whether he was asking me a question or diagnosing me, or ordering a pizza, but I think this was the gist).
"Okay," I countered, "So what is wrong with it?"
A look of amazement crossed the doctor's face. Oh shit. She's right. Now I have to tell her something else. Bollocks. What do I do now?
"I will talk to the SHO Orthopaedics" (It could have been. Let's give the bloke the benefit of the doubt.)
Five minutes later: "It might be fractured so we will give you a boot and you come to fracture clinic in one week."
"So it is fractured or it isn't?"
"We don't know, so come back in a week."
There endeth the diagnosis and prognosis. Great. Thanks for that.
And then there's the humiliation that comes alongside this - another injury to add to the catalogue I've racked up in the last year - is that I am vulnerable and lame from these other injuries, and that as I take another taxi to another hospital appointment, I am already on the verge of tears even before I arrive. I wept through most of these appointments with embarrassing fluidity. Also, from anger that I can't just bear these things and get on; that depression comes back (even if fleetingly) to kick me while I'm down.
I can barely make jokes anymore about my condition. Although, hang on, here's a good one: what do you get if you put a woman with a (now mended) broken back and an un-mended broken elbow to bed? A fractured foot, that's what. Or it might be.
As no one at Kingston hospital had a clue, I should be thankful (and I really and truly am) for my private health insurance (they're not going to be that thankful for me, I'm sure!) I have now seen a specialist and am having an MRI this afternoon. All good progress. But how on earth could I have fractured (or stress fractured, if that's what it turns out to be) my foot just by walking and sitting down. Wayne Rooney did it, apparently. The only thing Wayne Rooney and I have in common. Well, apart from the time he and I both slept with women old enough to be our grandmothers. But apart from that time, nothing I can think of. I can't play football. He can't conjugate Latin verbs (Wayne, feel free to correct me if that's wrong) or make banana loaf cake so good it's often eaten in one sitting. Or paint. Etc.
I sat at the hospital weeping over my foot because I was just so pissed off with the whole thing. I was pissed off when the doctor at A&E asked why no one was there with me (because most people work for a living, idiot!) and at the woman sitting in the X-Ray waiting room who asked me "Are you going on holiday?" eyeing my roller suitcase I'd brought just in case I were admitted, despite the fact she was using one of those tartan covered trolleys my Nana used to have TWICE the size of my tiny, sleek, silver roll-aboard. I just said "No," because any other response would have either been exceptionally offensive, or tears again. No win for me either way.
I thought twice about whether to post anything at all about this, so sick I am of all of this. But hey, this is what the week turned out to be. Odd, annoying, bed-ridden. On the plus side I've finished "Travelling to Infinity" by Jane Hawking, and am half way through "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed.
I booked a holiday to Tokyo for April (so, foot, whatever the hell is wrong with you please sort yourself out) and one to Rome for May, evidence that I am sincerely lusting for sunshine, travel, a change of scenery from my still chilly bedroom and the interminable builders outside on the high street. So there is sun ahead. And fruitfulness - in gelato form or whatever. I'm after colour. I'm after society (I haven't left the house with one exception other than to attend 5 medical appointments this week (so far, the week ain't over yet...) and I'm after something other than this incessance of injury).
And I'm sick of myself for feeling fed up with it all, because I know that really I'm lucky for having modern medicine, private health insurance, a comfortable bed and all mod cons available to me. So I'm going to shut up now and get ready for appointment number 6. I am going to think about painting and colour, holidays, the fact that it's Friday and the weekend is so, so nearly here. And hope that I can be a bit less boring and cheerful going into it. I will wear red lipstick in homage to Holi and a colourful scarf to counter the drear of my high-tech grey boot. So happy Holi everyone, and be careful out there in the colourful world, because high jinks can lead to higher accident rates. Even if you're asleep at the time.