20 March 2017 by victoriaknowe
Every cloud has a silver lining…
So the expression goes. It’s a funny thing when you think about it literally. A cloud lined with silver ought to be very heavy and presumably wouldn’t be able to float. And then there’s the corrosive effect of the water vapour on the silver… But then, as with many quirks of speech, it probably isn’t meant to be taken literally. I usually imagine a white cloud with an inner layer of aluminium foil. I suspect that we’re supposed to perceive the silver lining as some sort of inner light – as if even the dullest of rainclouds had a heavenly core.
My current situation is happily free of actual rainclouds. The weather in Graz today had a gloomy start but then developed into baking sun and I duly sat on the balcony in my short shorts. Of course I could only sunbathe with one and a half legs. And therein lies my personal, metaphorical raincloud in the form of this plaster cast on my lower right leg.
Actually it is not made of real plaster but rather some sort of plastic gauze which was mouldable when the plaster man dipped it in water but has dried into comforting, solid shell, holding my foot steady until the ligaments in my ankle are once again ready to bear weight. It is a wonder of modern medicine, being much lighter than actual plaster, and it doesn’t leave a trail of white plaster crumbs like the last one. I can even open it to wash my foot (gasp – what madness is this) as it is split into two halves with velcro straps to secure them together. Despite my luck in being the proud owner of such an advanced piece of healing equipment, I still can’t help feeling that it would have been nicer not to need it in the first place.
Wishing is a wonderful thing, but it doesn’t change anything. One can only look to the future and promise oneself to do better. Paying more attention to one’s cycling would be a good start. Learning your lesson is the first positive thing about any bad situation. But my silver lining analysis goes deeper than that.
In some ways, you could say that I have been handed a unique chance to experience life from the perspective of a disabled person. Knee dislocations aside, I’ve never been so severely injured, never had to use crutches before, never been so dependent on other people for such simple things as opening a door or helping me downstairs. Those who know me will know that I’m a rather independent soul and dislike asking for help. Perhaps then this is a good, character-building experience for me. (gnashes teeth!)
Many people have commented how amazing it is – the way you don’t notice how much you rely on a certain body part until you lose the use of it. That’s certainly true. That’s not to say that i didn’t appreciate having two feet because of course I understand how walking works. But it’s amazing how many short journeys I used to make (to my desk to get a pen, to the kitchen to fetch a snack) that now seem to be too much effort. Also, as a healthy person you don’t realise that when you have a crutch in either hand, you’ve suddenly lost your hands as well. Suddenly, you have to stand next to the kettle to drink your cup of tea because you can’t carry it anywhere. You start asking yourself why you keep those spare sheets on such a high shelf, now that you can’t easily fetch a chair to reach them. Why is the bin so far away from my bed? Why is the window so hard to open with one hand? (other hand is of course holding a crutch for balance)
Of course, many of these difficulties arise partly from the temporary nature of my injury. If this was a permanent situation then of course my surroundings would be more adapted to my needs. I wouldn’t live on the the 3rd floor in a building without a lift for example. There is also a silver lining in this sedentary lifestyle. Having to give up some of my teaching and other activities was a blow, but it did result in more time to spend on other things. Idle legs are being partially compensated by a brain and fingers running overtime. And that’s something that you and I both gain from.
Until next time, dear readers!