Are you a clumsy person? The Americans have a delightfully expressive onomatopoeic term for it “clutz”. Do you find you collect bruises like others collect coupons? Do inanimate objects in your home suddenly take on a life and will of their own and attack you? And wasn’t there a story in the last 2 weeks about some poor woman who, following a brain operation, discovered that the left side of her body was no longer under her control and had taken to undressing her or slapping her at the most inopportune moments? I can’t offer up anything quite as dramatic as that although I was once attacked by a soap. (If you must know, I’d walked into the communal shower room in my dormitory at University, with my basket containing soap, shampoo, conditioner etc…, I slipped on a wet patch and fell on the hard floor right on my tail bone (ouch) and then to add insult to injury, my soap flew out, up into the air, and fell back down to earth and hit me smack in the eye (I was looking up to see where the soap was going). Double ouch. Don’t laugh. Soap in the eye ranks high in terms of pain. It’s up there with absentmindedly rubbing your eye whilst chopping chillies.
Anyway, the fact is: I get clumsy. And sometimes I hurt myself. Last Autumn (or Fall for our American readers) I picked a late night when he was away on business to walk smack into the closed bedroom door That door is never ever closed. I can’t remember why I’d closed it. But I had. And I’d forgotten all about it. Until my eyebrow connected with the hardwood solid door. It took me a split second to process the information: “Did something just hit me? What was that? Oh it’s the door. Oh how stupid! Ow… How much damage have I done?”. But in the end, after a rather sleepless night involving loads of Arnica cream and squinting into a mirror, I woke up with a rather fetching and contained black eye and a very swollen eyelid courtesy of the excessive amount of cream I'd applied to it.
Since then, things had been pretty quiet on the random act of self-inflicted violence and injury front. I’ve got a mysterious razor like cut on my index finger that is taking a while to heal but up until last night, I was doing pretty well.
Well, that is, until I was ambushed by the lotus. That’s right. You heard me. Ambushed. By The LOTUS. As in “the lotus position” from yoga. I was nearing the end of my yoga practice at home (missed the class because my key got stuck in the lock as I was leaving the house but that’s an entirely different story) when I rather recklessly (hind sight is a marvellous if rather futile ability) decided to enter into a tighter form of the lotus position – with the knees closer in rather than sticking out to the side. It’s advanced but I can fold myself into a pretzel so I thought “why not?” Well I’ll tell you why not. Because as I lifted my left leg into position, something inside my knee (my knee cap as it turns out) went “clac”. Just like that. Not snap, not crackle, not pop, but a clear unmistakable “clac” that reverberated throughout the flat, and scared the hell out of me. There I was, I had broken myself, finally it had happened. After years of closet sniggering at all those poor souls who cannot wrap their ankle behind their ear, I had fallen victim to the "my body won't bend in this way" syndrome.
I thought “s**t”. And I said it out loud too, sort of under my breath, in rapid succession. “S***t. S***t. S***t,” Then I jumped up – forget about the 5 minute relaxation required at the end of an Ashtanga Yoga practice – to rebalance the blood pressure – gobbled two 12 hour long lasting ibuprofen (can’t recommend it enough) and vaulted into the bath. He came home at that point and in that inimmitable Australian resourceful and unflappable manner offered me an ice pack. So I lay in the bath, icing my knee, reading Emily L by Marguerite Duras (she’s good) for the better part of an hour. Then I got into my pyjamas, he even lent me his bathrobe and his Tibetan bobble hat for added comfort and we arranged me on the couch with an accoutrement of blankets and arnica creams and so forth. I thought, well that’s done it, I’ve b******d up my knee for ever, no more yoga, no more zumba, no more running, I will probably never walk again.
Then I went to bed. Having dutifully finished Emily L.
In the night, I woke up with an awful feeling of dread hanging over me. What would my knee look like? I got up gingerly, hobbled to the bathroom and turned the light on. Couldn’t see any bruising. Put my glasses on, still no bruising.Or swelling. (If anything, the ice pack had made it thinner than the other one... I have the chubby knees of an infant.) So I hobbled back to bed and to sleep.
This morning, I made an appointment with the physio. (Ironically, Marcus, my favourite physio/osteopath in the world has moved to New Zealand – my new favourite physio is Liz who is from New Zealand but has the presence of mind to work in London a stone's throw away from my flat. They’re called Six Physio, they’re on London Wall, and they are wonderful people. Especially Liz.
I limped over to her offices, and after a bit of prodding and some questions she announced that I was fine. No major damage. All the right instincts too what with the ice pack and the ibuprofen… except the bit about not moving my knee at all overnight which she said would only lead to it seizing up. Even better, she announced that the slight discomfort would ease over the next few days and that I could go back to exercising whenever I felt like it. She was so lovely. She even has the perfect recipe for lamingtons. And offices in Harley Street. In my next life, I want to come back as Liz. But all in good time. For now, I will try to keep the random acts of self-inflicted violence to a minimum.