On Wednesday, while cycling to work on wet paths, I took a 90° turn which ended with my bike going one way and me smashing my knees and hands on the ground. People stopped and helped me up. My bike was fine. I was less than fine. Luckily I’d been wearing full gloves so only had a minor graze on one palm, and had been wearing long pants so my knees were barely cut up. All the damage was on the inside.
Not wanting to cause a fuss and not able to see there might be another way of doing things at that moment, I hobbled back to Elizabeth Quay and caught the ferry across to South Perth. The skipper and a transport officer helped me out with a bit of first aid, and then when I got to the other side, I eventually got to walk. I then sat down and had a pack of frozen blueberries placed on my knee. I’d be fine, I thought. Up in no time. It’s just a bruise.
I called Glen who was working at the right hospital and he suggested I come in for an x-ray. This is a big deal for him as last time I thought I broke my finger (and had) he was less than enthusiastic. Lisa drove me to the hospital and then I was wheeled into emergency. X-rays later revealed no fractures to my hand (and I’m hoping that’s still the case considering how purple they now are) but three fractures in my right patella. With a flight to Canada booked for that Saturday, I was less than pleased with this diagnosis. Management? Keep it in a Richard Splint for 3-6 weeks, i.e. keep it straight.
Glen took me home, plonked me on the couch and went back to work. I then went to work cancelling portions of our upcoming trip. We were going to go to Arizona to see Antelope and Grand Canyons and go walking in Sedona. I cancelled the hotels and the car and the tours. We thought that, considering we were flying business class most of the way, that I’d be able to make this 45-hour journey, perhaps not in comfort but in some way that wouldn’t result in extra damage to my knee or me going insane. People have travelled with worse, I’m sure.
I spent three days on the couch, the pain gradually going down while maintaining the discomfort of keeping my leg straight. Each day I re-evaluated the trip. Could we actually do this? Was it even worth it? Glen looked positively stricken when, on Thursday evening, I said I’d cancel the trip. He was not a happy chappy, but, not wanting to ruin his holiday too, I said we’d see what it was like on Friday and Saturday.
Which reminded me of when I had my wisdom teeth out. Twenty-four hours after having them removed, Glen begged me to go to his radiology dinner. You’d think have gaping holes in your jaw would be enough to get you out of going to something like this. Still, I went, dosed up to the eyeballs on painkillers and sitting there squishing fish against the roof of my mouth because I couldn’t chew without wanting to punch myself. I made it through dessert before finally succumbing to the need to go home.
This trip is Wisdom Teeth 2.0.
Three days of sitting on the couch watching TV (when I should be writing and doing all sorts of other stuff) was actually recuperative. Not enough to have a fully healed leg but enough to be not all that unpleasant. Still, the impending 45-hour journey filled me with dread. Still, I agreed and so on Saturday we packed, prepared the house and then Dad drove us to the airport.
The Drunken Rockstar Treatment
When we arrived at the airport, Glen wheeled the luggage inside and went over to the counter to start checking us in. I slowly made my way over on crutches but must have looked awkward enough that a woman from Qatar came to my aid with a wheelchair. I sat on one of the crutches to form a leg support so it sticks out.
At the counter, staff began to gather, asking for a doctor’s note etc and then reorganising seats so Glen and I could sit together. We were separated at first but they said they’d ask the person who had the seat next to me if they’d mind moving. Very glad they did.
Glen then wheeled me up through to departures, with me holding onto our rolling carry-on and it trailing along behind us. We got through border control and then checked off at security screen. I got patted down, despite me telling them I could go through the metal detector. I’m glad they said no as it would have been a pain.
This whole not trying to make a fuss thing ends up making more fuss than not. I should just accept their help as they’ve done this a lot more than I have and we could all get through it a lot quicker without the discussion. Hard lesson to learn though.
We then went to the lounge and spent an hour there before someone came to collect me for boarding. We got taken straight through before everyone else and I settled into my seat in the first row. I then adjusted the seat to make sure I could actually be comfortable.
Even though we’re flying business, it’s not as comfortable in my situation as I would have hoped for. The footrest is a little too far forward so without extending the seat, I wasn’t able to elevate it easily and sit back in my chair. I rested my foot on the floor and then, following take off, adjusted everything to some level of comfort. There was a sweet spot eventually.
We had supper while I watched Pride and Prejudice and Zombies then went to sleep for a few hours, waking up to breakfast. Now that I’m less mobile, and will be for a while, I’m concerned I’m going to start stacking on the weight. I have little will power so it’s going to be tough.
When we landed there was a wheelchair waiting for me. We had a 17-hour delay (the airline had changed our flights a few weeks ago much to our horror) so there was a bit of a delay about what we were going to do for 17 hours. Originally we’d wanted to go look around Hong Kong but that was out. Glen suggested Disneyland, which was close, but we were both tired and we’d (finally) realised that I wasn’t as mobile as we’d hoped. Instead, we said we’d go to the Regal Airport Hotel and try to get a room.
Despite saying I could use my crutches, the guy pushing my wheelchair took us all the way through Immigration and then over the carpark to the hotel. I was so grateful as it was a hell of a long way. Unfortunately the hotel was fully booked until 12. I think I may have wanted to cry at that stage. We decided to sit at the lounge in the hotel for a little while. Glen looked for a nearby hotel, while I lurched to the loo.
When I came back I missed my crutch and had to catch myself on my bad knee, the shock and the fear that I’d done further damage to my knee, making me even less certain about what the hell we were doing. While it’s not too late to turn back, the hassle of doing so and the expense seemed even bigger than the unpleasantness of the travel ahead. People have done worse, I can survive this…but did we actually want to?
Hong Kong Layover
The nearest hotel, the Marriott, was also booked out. Instead, Glen went back to reception and put his name down for a room. We then sat in the lounge for a few hours. I asked Glen to check at 11 whether the room was available, and praise the Lord, one was. After limping across to reception, one of the staff noticed me and went to get a wheelchair then wheeled me up to our room and into it. Another lesson: ask for wheelchairs at every opportunity. I should know that most places will have one available.
We then showered and settled into bed. Room service came. The thought of going down to the food court below the hotel was too much. We then went to sleep and got about five hours shut-eye. If we hadn’t got a room, I’m not sure what we would have done. We’ve still got another four and a half hours to go before the flight and even that seems long. But, on the bright side, we’ve had a bit of a rest in comfort and we’re a little more fortified for the rest of the journey. I’m just trying to not think of how many hours we have left.
We checked out at about 8pm and Glen wheeled me back over to the airport. He’s really been very helpful and even if we weren’t on this trip, I don’t know what I’d do without him. Showering seems to be the most difficult, but he’s also been my sherpa and carried me up and down the stairs at home. (Next house will have no stairs.)
We went up to the service counter, dropped me off, Glen returned the wheelchair and then another staff member pushed me all around the airport to get to the lounge. We went through security and border control down the air crew line so there was no waiting. If we hadn’t told them about me, this would have been so much harder.
Now we’re in the lounge. Glen’s brought my food. He’s had a shower. And we’re waiting for our driver to take me to the gate for our 14 hour flight to LA. And then to Chicago. And then finally to Toronto. Trying to keep my eye on the prize.