Crutching At Straws.

May 12 0

In the last few days I have suddenly discovered what it feels like to be ‘disabled ‘ and, to tell the truth, it is not that pleasant!

Crutching At Straws

I play tennis on a regular basis and, a few weeks ago my tennis partners and I switched to playing on clay as we were due to compete in an upcoming tournament on that particular surface.

Our normal Thursday practice time arrived and, being the true ‘professionals’ that we are, duly inspected the court, as the previous evening it had been subjected to a torrential downpour.


Now, here’s when I say “ NOTE TO SELF’!!

1) If your instincts tell you that the surface looks a little slippery. Trust your instincts.

2) If your tennis partners express concern and suggest calling off the session, listen to them

3) Refrain in future from referring to said tennis partners as ‘wimps.’

4) Reign in your competitive nature and try not to win EVERY point.

5) If you fall, learn how to tumble gracefully.

6) Do not try and convince yourself that after a fall, you have simply sprained your ankle.

My tumble was not particularly graceful but my take on the subject is, if you are going to fall, at least make it spectacular. However if one is going for the spectacular version of a fall do try not to break one’s ankle!

Naturally, I hobbled around for the rest of the day watching with fascination as the limb in question took to obesity with gusto, swelling to twice its normal size I of course was convinced  that it was simply a ‘minor sprain’

Management arrived home at her normal hour, took one look at the fat foot, mumbled something along the lines of,” Why is it that my life has been reduced to living with an errant child,” and promptly took control of the situation by taking me to the local hospital.


Animated and earnest discussions in the doctor’s rooms ensued with seemed to involve much nodding of heads and piles of paperwork being signed.

I was made to sit in a corner and not invited to participate in the serious matters concerning my left foot.

Fast forward five or six hours and I awake in a hospital bed feeling simply fabulous, (Pethadine apparently has that effect on ones demeanor)

Shortly after, a smiling orthopedic surgeon enters to proudly display the results of his recent handiwork, by way of holding up an X ray showing numerous pins and plates that had been skillfully implanted in some poor individual’s Fibula.

Given that the drugs were still doing their splendid work, I felt like cheering loudly as I was under the impression that he was presenting his portfolio of past surgical triumphs demonstrating his dexterous skills at inserting titanium plates and pins into human bone.

It took management to inform me,  conversing in ’child speak,’ that what I was witnessing was actually my fibula, which I thought rather wonderful before falling back into a drug- induced sleep.

Reality kicked in the next day when I was told that I could go home with the addition of a cumbersome cast that had somehow attached itself to my lower left leg. A kindly nurse then handed me a pair of rather racy looking crutches and pointed me in the direction of the exit.


Now, to those of you fortunate enough to have never had to ‘hobble’ about on a pair of sticks that have to be supported by one’s armpits, I would strongly suggest that you avoid this experience at all costs, especially if you live in places like Bali.

I never noticed before that this entire island actually seems to be made up of a series of steps, constructed to be as steep as possible, which makes the task of getting from point A to B, while incapacitated, a trifle difficult.

Catering for the wheelchair bound, or those (like I) using  two flimsy sticks, were never considered when buildings were designed, so I now presume that those who are incapable of walking were simply tossed nonchalantly into the ocean or left somewhere obscure so as not to offend the active inhabitants.

I gaze fondly at my favourite restaurant, knowing full well that I shall not be visiting it in my current condition for quite a while, located as it is at least twenty feet above ground level via a twisting set of stairs.

I could of course toss my dignity aside and place my rump on each step and proceed to haul my body upwards towards my desired location. However I have to ask myself whether this ungainly procedure is worth the reward of a plate of lobster bisque (even though it is some of the best that the island has to offer)

So, for the next month or so I shall be confined to the downstairs section of the house, and I suspect that the TLC I have been receiving from management will soon wear off when the prospect of managing a ‘cripple’ for an extended period of time finally sinks in.

I shall spend my time writing letters on behalf of the disabled to city planners, architects and builders alike as I feel, we the incapacitated have been seriously disadvantaged.

Please be informed that due to the seriousness of my injury I shall not be playing Wimbledon this year.

Paul v Walters is the best selling author of several novels and when not cocooned in sloth and procrastination scribbles for several leading travel and vox pop journals around the world. His latest offering, Asset, will be available late 2017.