It really hurt as I hit the ground, landed on twisted leg and snapped my kneecap out of place. I was just 5 miles into a ride for Sport Relief yesterday when I misjudged a diagonal kerb. Split seconds later I was flying, spinning, crashing down, rolling around in pain. I struggled to pull my leg back into place and grasped for my phone. A car stopped and called for an ambulance. Blue lights arrived, flashing, took me to A&E. 5 hours later, home with splinted leg and crutches.
And now, suddenly, even the easiest tasks have become difficult. How to navigate a step. How to reach down to pick something up. How to get dressed and undressed. How to get up the stairs. How to make and carry a mug of tea. How to get on and off the sofa. How to get in and out of the car? How to get to work? Tasks I hadn’t even noticed before are now, unexpectedly, the focus of my attention, the challenge, the source of frustration, the source of relief - if I can achieve it.
I’m suddenly, unusually, uncomfortably dependent on others. The compassionate car driver. The humorous ambulance crew. The professional doctor, nurses, radiographer and admin staff. The wife-nurse who raced to the scene, took my broken bike home, sat with me in A&E and is taking care of me now. The teenage daughters who laughed first then helped after playing excitedly with the crutches. The many friends who offered emotional and practical support - and laughter.
The sunshine is out again today. I’m still annoyed I made such an obvious mistake on the bike. Disappointed to have failed on the charity ride. Frustrated to be off the bike when I was so close to reaching my by-Easter goals. Worried about permanent damage to the knee. Concerned about getting to work. Not enjoying my vulnerability at all! Yet, at the same time, a heartfelt Thank you to all those family, friends, strangers and professionals - and the gift of God I see in you all.
Nick is a psychological coach, OD consultant and trainer, specialising in developing critical reflective practice.