Some of you are probably aware by now of the delightful arthritis which took up residence in my left foot several years ago. This has been the reason why my bank manager no longer looks me in the eye if I happen to go into my local branch, as much money has been spent on various treatments, shoes, orthotics, gadgets, physio...the list is endless... over the last three years in particular. Last year, I headed off to hospital for the day while they stuck a few injections of cortisone into my foot. This was done under general anesthetic, because my consultant told me in no uncertain terms that 'it would bloody hurt'.
So I had 52 glorious days of pain free trotting about before it came back. Finally getting back to see my consultant, he suggested that I have it done again, but this time under ultrasound guidance. He said, and I quote, 'The pain is about the same as when you give blood'. Well, that would be ok. As a blood donor, I know that it can be a little uncomfortable, but it's never bad enough to stop me going back for more blood letting a few months later.
So it was with this very positive approach that the husband and I headed off to the hospital on Sunday. (Yes, on a Sunday - very impressive). We stopped for a big old fry up on the way and drove into a deserted carpark. Any of you who know the John Radcliffe hospitals in Oxford will understand why this fact needs mentioning. I have celebrated birthdays and watched seasons change looking for a parking space on occasions.
So walking into the waiting room, there were two other couples waiting. One couple had walked in ahead of us, and I had commented to the husband about how much pain the poor man must be in. But it was the wife of the other couple who started up the conversation.
'You 'ere for an injection love?'
'Yes', I replied, 'into my foot. I'm a little nervous'.
'Yeah, you should be. It's bloody 'orrible. I've 'ad three and none of 'em 'ave worked. Bloody waste of time if you ask me'.
Well I hadn't, but as I'm not one to antagonise, I said, 'My consultant said that the level of pain is similar to when you give blood'.
She cackled like a witch with a 50 a day smoking habit. 'You carry on thinking that love, if it 'elps'.
Oh great. My confidence took a nose dive off the highest cliff in the world and my mouth dried up, making speech almost impossible. The husband started talking to the other couple who had come in with us, and they had a much more sensible conversation about electric bikes and swimming, and just as they started talking about cycling shorts, my name was called.
I almost expected the Harbinger of Doom to start shouting 'Dead Man Walking', as I followed the nurse down the corridor, and as she ushered me into the side ward, I was blabbering like a fool about how I was terrified of what was about to happen. Before I knew it, she'd whipped my sock off and had me laid out on the bed with a couple of comfy pillows chatting away about stuff and nonsense.
And then the man with the stethoscope came in. I repeated to him about the story of how much it would hurt, and asked whether this was a true reflection of the pain. 'I couldn't possibly say', he said. 'Some feel no pain, while there are others I have to scrape off the ceiling'. This was said with a rather false laugh, and I got the impression that this comment was repeated on a daily basis.
So I waited for the pain, and do you know what, apart from a nano-second of 'ouch' it was exactly how my consultant had predicted.
'It would appear that you have a lot more courage than you thought', the doctor said, patting me on the ankle. 'We're all done'.
As I walked back to the waiting room, Mrs Pessimistic was still going on about how dreadful it all was, and the cycling/swimming chap's face had paled significantly. So I said to him, as the husband got his act together (he'd expected me to be longer so had decided to spring clean his wallet) that it hadn't hurt, and he really wasn't to worry at all about the injection he was about to have.
The look that woman gave me said it all.
'Never let the truth ruin a good story'...