Sunday, 28 April 2019

Crappy Ankle, The Boot, The Zombie State, And Bards -- Enid Richemont

And so (as every newsreader/interviewer begins) this is what I've been dealing with during the last two and a half months - a Total Ankle Replacement for a really crappy ankle.The original injury happened over five years ago, during which I was determinedly walking through it, but last year I found that I was increasingly unable to walk at all except for very short distances. Even the brief walk to my local supermarket was becoming too much, and I began pacing myself according to which tree I could walk to and clutch for support. In other words, I became a serious and committed tree-hugger.

Something clearly had to be done, and with a stark choice between surgery with its very long recovery period, and a wheelchair for life, I reluctantly chose the former.

The very worst part of the recovery period was the fortnight when I had to wear an extremely heavy cast, and during which I was almost totally dependent. This was followed by four weeks in a much lighter cast in a fetching shade of purple, and when that was removed, it was THE BOOT which I'm currently wearing.

The one and only joy of THE BOOT is that of being able to take it off, so finally I'm able to go to bed bare leg-and-footed. On the downside is the necessity to put it back on when I get out of bed, so no longer can I pad downstairs in bare feet and a nightie. THE BOOT is physically heavy, and comes in two parts, the second needing to be attached by three Velcro straps which, as Velcro always does, tangle and stick to each other.

"Of course, you'll be able to work," people said, and I believed that, too, until I tried. There's something about enforced immobility that deadens the brain. Temporary writer's block can no longer be relieved by going for a walk or pottering in the garden. Walking upstairs becomes a major exercise, and not a pleasurable one. I read somewhere that one of the Welsh kings used to lock up his bard indefinitely until a poem/saga/what-have-you was produced. That wouldn't have worked on me. I would have gone quietly insane. I did have a brief from my publisher, which finally dragged me out of the zombie zone, but it was somewhat hampered by the ed pub's obsession with adverbs - what is it with adverbs? Will somebody tell me? Oh well (sighs).

I did read, though - voraciously. "Beauty Sleep", the latest Y/A novel by a friend and colleague Kathryn Evans (seriously good and very disturbing), Fintan O'Toole's  depressing treatise on Brexit (yes, that!) and, currently, the late Bernice Rubens's novel "Kingdom Come", which I'm re-visiting after many years and which is as absolutely fascinating as it was the first time round, appropriate Easter reading, too, dealing with the Jewish fantasy of a Messiah (no, not that one) and set in the Seventeenth Century Turkey.

Having got this far without mentioning "The Film", I can now tell you that it was the lead short movie at the RiverRun Film Festival in North Carolina. Whether this will lead to Mega-Bucks, Hollywood etc etc remains to be seen (the book it's based on is "THE TIME TREE", first published back in the Dark Ages by Walker Books UK.

6 comments:

Cecilia Peartree said...

Well done Enid for getting through it without losing your grip (or sense of humour).I had always thought getting a hip replaced was a more major operation but when I saw people recovering from knee replacements I realised knees were more complicated and it sounds as if ankles are even more so.
I think it's maybe the general tiredness after an operation that keeps you from being able to write, or maybe partly the disruption to routine.
Good luck with getting rid of the Boot altogether, anyway!

Ann Turnbull said...

So glad to hear you are nearly through this ordeal at last, Enid, and with your good humour intact. I hope you'll be back to normal soon. And great news about The Time Tree! (I remember those Dark Ages - and remember that The Time Tree was the first book of yours I ever read; found it in my local library, which is still there, though hanging by a thread...)

Griselda Heppel said...

It is a major operation with a hefty recovery time (as well as hefty boot) and you are doing brilliantly to get through it. My husband had it done a couple of years ago and spent a long time on the sofa re-watching all the LOTR films plus extra bits on the DVDs. I know. Contrary to all expectation he also lost a lot of weight - enforced immobility (which you'd think would lead to weight gain) was easily cancelled out by the fact that if you're on crutches you can open a fridge but you do not have a spare hand to take anything out of it. Chortle.

Oh, and the adverbs - I too get fed up with this blanket ban. I mean, I understand that the dialogue should do it on its own, e.g. 'Get out of here!' he yelled angrily' - no need for angrily there. But sometimes you DO NEED adverbs.

Enid Richemont said...

Thanks everyone, for your comments. It was the first post I'd written for two months, and I tried not to bore you with ankle stuff, but that's where I was, and still am, so couldn't not mention it. Ann Turnbull - lovely to see you here. Get in touch one day, emailwise?

Re- the adverbs debate. Discouraged for 'real' writers, but heavily, and unnecessarily, promoted by the educationalists. Fronted adverbials, anyone? Clumsy,unnecessary evils, but better, I suppose, than the cane. If we want our kids to be literate, give them stories and libraries, and then let them get on with it.

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Sandra Horn said...

Great post - glad you're mostly through the grotty bit. Please don't wear strappy stilettos when you sashay down the red carpet, though. x