Injury Woes, Incandescent Toes and Insulting One’s Nose

It’s been some time since I wrote a blog entry about something other than football. Those long summer days of Jo-hannussing seem so far behind me now as the days get ever so slightly shorter. Of course it remains light outside until an indecent hour, but no longer can the hours of darkness be counted on the fingers of a double hand amputee.

They were happier days. I was still walking using my feet instead of these infernal poles to which I am constantly attached these days. I was not required to sit on the floor in the shower, cowering under the warm water with my foot wrapped in a plastic carrier bag. I looked relatively normal in the nude, my image untainted by the cumbersome plaster cast that could make a naked man in his socks look like an Adonis. I apologise for the image now in your mind.

For the past week or so that has been my existence. It takes two or three times longer for me to get anywhere and all the old ladies who are now zooming past me on their zimmer frames have frankly become quite demoralising. My hands are now bruised and battered thanks to my crutches and my toes have become a vulgar rainbow of contusions. See for yourselves…

It is difficult to do the vulgarity justice through a photograph but you get the idea.

I’m not the kind to moan about injuries and such as they are all part and parcel of what I do. In the words of Edgar Albert Guest “Your life ain’t sadder than your neighbor’s, nor any harder are your labors”. As deeply as it saddens me that a British born poet would litter his writing with American spellings, he has a great point and you can read the rest of the poem here. I would just like to add, mainly for the benefit of Stephen Stokes, that Guest moved to the US when he was ten years old so his misspellings are your lot’s fault.

As I am sure you can sense, there is a ‘but’ coming. I’m afraid that I just can’t help myself.

Last week, the Helsinki Metro service was out of operation due to scheduled work on the line. The transport company therefore ran a replacement bus service. I am quite sure that this is the root of my complaint. It is highly improbable that there has ever existed a replacement bus service that has not caused an outburst of rage from at least one British citizen. The words have become as irritatingly disappointing as ‘last orders’ or ‘the pasties aren’t warm, is that ok?’.

Needing to get into town shortly after my injury, I boarded one of the aforementioned buses and spent some time fumbling with my crutches in order to retrieve my bus pass from my wallet. Having succeeded in doing so, I turned down the aisle to find myself a seat. Of course there were none available. The bus was packed.

In the UK, there is an unwritten rule. It’s know as courtesy. We don’t tend to teach it in schools, hoping that people will have either have some inherent predisposition to it or discover it all by themselves. It’s an extension of politeness. Generally adults will adhere to this rule by holding doors open for people or giving up their seat for the elderly or infirm. I think you can see where this one is going.

As I made my way down the aisle on the bus I made every effort to look people in the eye, foolishly assuming that one of them would be kind enough to give up their seat to me. No one budged. I try not to assume preferential treatment at any time, but standing one legged on the bus may just be my limit. For twenty minutes, I hopped on the spot glaring at various passengers, disbelieving of their stubborn determination to hold on to their seat. This included the lady and her child who were sat right next to where I was stood. For the majority of the journey, the child was on her mother’s lap, occupying her own seat sporadically for no more than thirty seconds at a time. Unfortunately, the mother was too occupied with checking her bag constantly to ensure that I hadn’t stolen from her to realise that I was really struggling to stand up.

At one point, a passenger actually disembarked from the bus. Unfortunately I was too slow to get to her seat before one of my fellow standing passengers darted in and occupied it. I stopped short of actually saying anything to anyone, perhaps as a result of some inherent British stoicism, but I fear that it would have had no effect anyway. Helsinki’s public transport system is fantastic. It’s the people who use it that are idiots.

Things are improving this week. I had an appointment with my doctor on Wednesday morning to discuss my injury. To my absolute delight, he removed my cast and replaced it with a boot that I am able to remove in order to shower and go to bed. The stench underneath my cast was quite horrific, prompting the doctor to immediately supply me with eighty per cent alcohol to clean it with. He then retired to his sink where he washed his hands three times and still seemed dissatisfied with the results.

My new kicks…. Reebok’s Optimus Prime Pump collection.

Some random bruising. I hate to think what it looked like last week under the cast.

I am going to be on the crutches for at least another six weeks while the fractures and ligaments heal. Only then would he be able to operate on my other ankle, although it would not be a highly invasive procedure. That is something we need to discuss at a later date.

I am trying to keep my spirits up. All energies are going in to coaching now. Coach Seppa has been kind enough to give me some time off to visit the UK in a couple of weeks so I will be able to be in London for the Olympics. It is small consolation for the volunteering job that I rejected in order to play for the Wolverines.

Oh yeah, and Batman happened…. That’s outside the cinema in Helsinki.

I hope everyone is well.