June 2006

It’s amazing how a few scrapes (albeit large-ish ones) can cause so much bloody bother.

The infection in them all is still well-established and showing no sign of clearing up yet; the antibiotics are making me feel constantly queasy and my arm and leg are still very, very sore.

Whilst I was in getting my all-new, combined tetanus/hep/polio shot this morning, I asked the nurse to have a look and tell me if things should still look as bad after almost three days of antibiotic use; you could see her pale a little when she saw just my elbow. After consulting with another more senior nurse, I had the wound washed, swabbed clean of the antiseptic cream I’d put on this morning and had some weird jelly-soaked bandage laid on it (looking for all the world like a tiny, slimy string vest) and covered with a forearm-length adhesive dressing and topped off with an elasticated tubular bandage. This lot has to be kept dry for two days and then cleaned / changed again by the nurse. She also gave me a kit to do the same for my knee and leg at home, as there was no time to do them during my slot (which was just supposed to be for my jab).

So…. I’m going to be unable to shower or bath for two days; I’ll be humming to high heaven by then !!

That’s the lastest news. Officially feeling totally kack, still leaking custard from my scrape sites and still feeling very sore and tender. Who said cycling was good for you ?

Dear Tesco,

The whole point of you putting an extra little enquiry desk in your store at Hardengreeen in Dalkeith was so that customers could ask for help. You do know understand the concept of ‘help’, don’t you ? You should, given that you continually use the slogan ‘Every Little Helps’ in your press & TV advertising.

Perhaps you could tell the sour-faced old trout and her blonde companion on the desk by the pet food aisle at around 10.40am today, Saturday 24th June 2006, that blatantly ignoring the tall guy with the bandaged elbow for five minutes so you could talk to each other was rude, ignorant and bloody annoying. (I originally typed something far more foul and in keeping with my feelings on the matter, but I’m a damn sight more polite than your staff so I left it out.)

Giving him a foul glare as he gave up and walked off wasn’t perhaps the best example of customer care either.

Perhaps you could restaff your store with some young Polish workers. We have lots of them at work and it’s a delight to get a welcoming cheery smile, unerringly polite service and a bit of friendly chatter every day. They could certainly teach the sour old Scots you employ at the moment a thing or two about customer service.

In the meantime, perhaps you could change your current slogan to “Tesco – ignorance with a scowl”. It’s certainly been my experience today.



Today the scrapes were oozing custard when I was changing the dressings, so I had to hot-foot it to the doctor to have them checked out.

“Oh – they’re VERY bad”, said the doc. “Were you involved in an accident ?”

He didn’t need to see more than my elbow and the side of my calf, thankfully. I really didn’t want to have to take off more of the medical coverings than I had to; the dressings and bandages have been sticking (and scabbing) into the areas and separating skin and Melolin pad / crepe bandage has been traumatic, shall we say. The cat now goes into hiding when she sees me starting to unwind the bandages…

The result is that I’m on a five-day course of antibiotics and I’m booked in for a tetanus shot from the surgery nurse on Monday.

I was going to put up some fresh pics of the now suppurating wounds, but I’ve decided not to. I don’t want anyone suing me for post-traumatic stress in a week / month / year’s time.

And by the way, never believe the instructions on the new ‘Spray-on Plaster‘ spray from Elastoplast. ‘A stinging sensation may occur briefly upon application‘, it says on the tin. There’s no ‘may occur’ about it; the shrieking I was doing after a quick scoosh was shattering glass on the other side of the Atlantic. In addition, for ‘briefly’, read ‘five unbelievably agonising minutes’. You have been warned !

Well, it had to happen sooner or later and tonight was sooner or later. First blood to the bike. Within sight of the flat, on the final stretch of the Water Of Leith cyclepath at around 20mph, I was taking a very slight corner which was sloping away slightly downwards. I felt the rear wheel just slide away from under me and down I went, cracking my knee of the tarmac and then sliding along jauntily on my left side for a bit before the bike hit the barrier and stopped me taking a bath too.

Damaged knee 1

Damaged knee 2

Damaged arm 1

Damaged arm 2

A woman watching as she walked her dog said bugger all, and then shouted after the dog which had run off the other way.

I got up, looked at the injuries and thought, “they be stinging like buggery very soon”, put the chain back on the front chainwheel and pedalled off, trying to look nonchalant and tough – all the while bleeding in steady trickles down my leg and showing some bright red flesh where the skin had been sandpapered off.

It nipped like billy-oh when I got in the shower to wash the dirt and grit off / out (you may have heard me squealing like a little girl from where you are) and even more when I slathered on the antiseptic cream. Then I realised that no plasters were going to cover the scrapes and cuts to stop them bleeding through all of my clothes, so I had to ring my parents and ask if they had any bandages or sterile pads so I could dress for work tomorrow without looking like I’d been stabbed down one side.

Mum’s on her way out now (bless her) so I’ll have something soon to allow me to put a stop to the weeping that the injuries are now doing. I keep having to wipe it off as it’s running down my leg, over my foot and onto the floor. (I hope you’re not eating as you’re reading this, sorry).

It feels like being a child again and having tripped and scraped my knee, then run off crying for my Mum. At 38. Good god, what am I like ?

When I hit Tesco this weekend I’m going to stock up on the bandages and dressings and set up a proper first aid box (not like the one I have just now which consists of no more than pills and lotions). Never again will I have to face the embarrassment of calling my parents out when I fall off my bike.

That’s the first fall; I’m sure there are more to come. Let’s hope they’re as minor as this one was and all it takes to get better is a cup of tea, some chocolate, Tesco antiseptic cream, plasters, dressings and a classic British comedy series on DVD to make me piss myself and forget the parts of me that are stinging and throbbing.

Yesterday – a lovely day for once in Leith – J decided we should go to Victoria Park as she would like to run around and play on the climbing frames and slides.

All was a wonderful blur of sunshine, heat and children’s shrieks. After some time in the sun, I went and sat in the shade of a tree whilst still keeping an eye on her.

About 10 minutes later, she beckoned me over to a modern version of monkey-bars. These have two hand-grips that are fitted around the two overhead poles, requiring the user to slide them along alternately to cross the distance. J wanted me to lift her onto the grips so she could have a go. I barely registered that someone had scrawled one word of graffiti on each of the handgrips before the little voice by my right ear said, in a very loud voice that can be heard by all and sundry around us, “It says ‘FUCK‘ on both of these.”

With a face glowing redder than the sunburn I’d eventually go home with, I realised with horror that yes, at that age some kids can read only too well, but they have no idea of what some of the words they’re reading actually mean. But they can’t exactly go teaching them that one in the classroom, can they ? Mustering up my best, steady and authoritarian voice I explained to her that she shouldn’t ever say that word again, as it’s one of the rudest bad words ever.

“OK !” she smiled, running off and leaving me to avoid the glares from the other parents. It’s a well-worn cliche, but I really could have curled up and died right there and then.

Kids. They should carry a government health warning.