Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Finally I'm Back - Just About

Finally, after a long six weeks, I am back at work followed the latest operation to fix my shoulder, which was damaged in a serious traffic incident in March 2010.

This has been an incredibly difficult period of recovery - far worse than I imagined back in February - stuck in a uncomfortable shoulder brace (this one to be precise) that was only removed yesterday. It had prevented me from doing many of the things that make life tolerable: cooking, going outdoors in any comfort, taking any proper exercise or being able to write. I also didn't really sleep for the first three weeks until I discovered the benefit of decent sleeping pills, as I've had to keep the damned brace on 24-hours a day. Moreover, once someone has read all the books they can absorb and watched their DVD collection again, all that's left if they live alone and can't go out is spending hours staring at the walls with far too much time to think.

The biggest revelation for me is how self-deluded I've been in assuming that, after 20 years of constantly stepping forward to help friends and acquaintances through one drama after another, the same support would be reciprocated when it was really needed. Instead, for the first time I had a indication of what it might eventually be like to grow old and frail, something that only struck me in the weeks after my 43rd birthday in February. Since my discharge from hospital and not counting work colleagues, only two or three friends made the time to help out (including one I wouldn't have expected) but most were just too busy to even say hello. And you know what? That really hurt. People have such short memories.

All this has changed some of my attitudes, in three ways: firstly, towards the importance of devoting more time to check on people who live alone, are unwell and may need help, even if it's just to offer a chat (it's what I needed most). Secondly, I no longer have any intention of ever finding out what it's like to grow old and frail - I'd rather take the Dignitas option than end up marooned at home for months and years. And finally, I now have a clear idea of the friends I really need to concentrate on - a list that I suspect is far smaller for all of us than the number of vague, rarely-seen contacts we have on FaceBook.

The best thing about losing the awful shoulder brace is that finally I can type with two hands - and with momentous events over the last few weeks, I'll be very glad to get back to regular blogging. More on the aftermath of the TUC ant-cuts march and on Wanstead Flats over the next few days...


Anonymous said...
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Mike Law said...

Good to have you back... take it easy!

harpymarx said...

It is these situations you do find out who you're friends are. Btw the offer still stands if you need anything give me a text only too happy to help if I can.


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