I was hurrying towards the taxi to take us to the hospital for the 2nd dose of our Covid-19 vaccine when I caught my foot in one of those large triangular signs that indicate where pedestrians should walk outside some scaffolding and I went flying.
Having osteoporosis, I usually break a long bone when I fall. The last time I tripped was on the steps leaving our flats to go to the cinema, and I broke my left ankle. Previously I tripped over a broken paving stone while looking across the road to see where my piano teacher’s flat was. On that occasion, I broke my left wrist, managed to play my concert piece with him using just my right hand, and then drove home in heavy traffic through Trafalgar Square and St James’s Park using only my right hand. My worst fracture was of my right hip in Spain where I had gone to help Louise, who was having her second baby. We were on the way to the obstetrician for her to have a check-up when I tripped over my thick-soled Doc Marten’s lookalikes. This was during the severe ‘flu epidemic of 2000. The NHS Hospital, the Residencia, was full so I had my hip replacement surgery in a delightful private hospital up on the hillside above San Sebastian, but still covered by my NHS card. I’ve a couple of crush fractures of my vertebrae due to my osteoporosis. No idea when they occurred.
So, with Josh’s help, I picked myself, dusted myself down, got into the taxi, had my jab, and came home. I had fallen hard on my left side and by now it had started to ache badly. Over the rest of the day and the following day the pain got worse. Three ribs on my left side were tender. I couldn’t sleep lying down. Coughing, hiccupping, and burping were all agony. It’s not until you do any of these normal things and it hurts, that you realise how often you carry them out. I’ve tried strapping, hot packs and ice packs, but I think the cure has to be just time. Now, a week later, though those ribs are tender to the touch, they only hurt when I lean back in my chair or I forget and try to lie down on that side.
In normal times I would have asked my GP to book an X-ray at the local Health Centre just to check – I always have at the back of my mind that any fracture could be through a bone weakened by a deposit of my breast cancer, even all these years later. But in these Covid times, a not strictly necessary X-ray clearly isn’t on. It wasn’t until I had a full bone scan in 2002 to see whether my breast cancer had spread to my bones – it hadn’t – that I had a previous rib fracture confirmed. I’ll no doubt find out next time I need a chest Xray for some other reason. Healed fractures leave a scar on the bones.
It’s been a horrid few days but worth it to feel we now have antibodies against Covid-19 and can at least start to get our own shopping at the supermarket – being careful to mask and keep to social distancing.
Many thanks to all those who wrote to say they were enjoying my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’ and my new book ‘Abby’s Tales of Then and Now’.