Injuries and afflictions come and go through life and if they don’t kill us they hopefully make us stronger.
Whoever said that was obviously uninjured.
A dislocated this, a fractured that, something serious ending in ‘itis’ that pops up out of the blue actually makes us realise what a jungle it is out there – particularly in the loungeroom.
But just as courageously as you fell off that stool or tripped over that carpet, you pick yourself up and face the world again.
Why? Usually because life goes on, in great discomfort.
But we are warriors, not worriers, and a month laid up also gives us a chance to reflect on how good we had it, until we didn’t. Turning negatives into a positives is a key to recovery, and really, what else can you do? That realisation alone is worth the price of hospital admission.
Definitely the price of health insurance.
A stint in emergency also gives us a powerful insight into what a great job the staff at John Hunter do – any hospital really – tending day in, day out to the stream of humanity who fall foul of good fortune. And what luxury a private room can be.
A friend of mine recently had the ‘great privilege’, as we’ll call it, and I’m sure he’ll be better for the run knowing he gave his all for a greater cause. In this case renovating. Old mate was helping out with a ‘‘Block’’-like reno at his relatives when lo and behold, a stairwell bannister that used to be there wasn’t, and in the blink of an eye neither was my mate.
He described his two metre fall from first floor to ground zero as ‘‘interpretive parkour’’. That incredibly gymnastic sport from the slums of Paris where highly fit individuals jump up and down any structure in sight with such artistry that people like Madonna eventually get in touch and shoot a video with them.
My mate’s version differed from that in that he’s not all that fit, Madge hasn’t got in touch yet, and in artistry terms he landed heavier than a Tony Abbott press grab.
But he achieved much in that Greg Louganis moment. The ball and socket in the shoulder cracked. The tendon came off. The arm broke. And he complained a lot about a serious cork in the buttock.
It was a nasty U-turn in what until that moment had been an OK day, highlighting once again, the dangers of reality TV.
According to the surgeon who patched him up, hospital wards are full of broken bodies inspired to destruction after watching a home renovation show involving something deadly, like a stepladder.
(Getting amorous in bathrooms is apparently another real injury hot spot.)
The reality of a nasty slip for real-life humans contrasts heavily with what you see in movies like Mission Impossible III where Tom Cruise, faced with yet another tricky situation, uses a dead body as a mattress to break his fall from a great height. Tom gets up pretty much unscathed and makes Mission Impossible IV.
For my mate, getting up was mission impossible fullstop. And he hadn’t even been shot!! So an ambulance was called.
Apart from the opportunity to reflect on how lucky he was, it was a chance to study the classics. And as they say in the classics, shit happens, deal with it.
And that’s where friends and family come into it when they rally at the hospital, with witty remarks about how this can only improve your golf game. And ‘‘gee, you’ll never be able to do the Hunger Games salute again.’’ So funny.
The reality is we all feel indestructible until destroyed, and it’s often only good luck that separates us from that need to call the rescue chopper. In fact, that sense of indestructibility, or the ability to renovate, is probably why the chopper guys are always so busy. Danger is everywhere.
I myself have been for a chopper ride after heroic endeavour. They called it walking.
My moment happened in the idyllic beachside setting of Glenrock Lagoon.
I hit the slime between Merewether baths and Burwood, came down gloriously, nay, heroically, on my knee, cracking the cap into a couple of pieces, thus transforming family fun day into an exercise in Midazolam.
As Arnie might say, ‘‘Get da choppa,’’
Contrary to the medical assurances at the time, I still remember them straightening out my leg. You could have heard the howling from JHH. I’m not ashamed to say I cried, a lot, mainly with relief when the drugs kicked in.
When I saw my mate the day after his incident, and heard his Endone-slurred tones, I knew from experience what he was in for. Hopefully more of those drugs. And I don’t mean that in a substance abuse kind of way.
I just knew he would be seriously hurting on a lot of levels and that in the short term, the morphine pump was going to be his friend. Why suffer unnecessarily?
Pain management is an incredible thing to contemplate when you haven’t really had much pain in your life.
It makes you realise how tough some people are, and how tough others aren’t.
And what an amazing thing the body is, particularly when it repairs itself.
All things being equal, my mate will soon be back to his parkouring best, going for gold off the half-metre foot stool.
In the meantime, he’s learning how to be left-handed.