Wednesday 23 September 2020

An Uneven Keel

Hello, dear readers!

There’s a lot to be said for the uninteresting life.

That may sound a little strange coming from someone who’s been relatively vocal regarding these days of self isolation and the scarcity of things to blog about. I mean, surely, you might say, it is life’s ups and downs that lend it colour, contrast (and possibly other knobs you can twiddle on your telly). Surely it’s that variety which makes life worth living. It’s a sentiment I would have been more than happy to agree with, even in these more challenging times.

Right up until the day one of the wheels fell off my wheelchair.

A Sticky Subject
This was Saturday. A mere four days ago. I’d risen early, breakfasted well, dropped Tina, my ever-wonderful wife, off at work, walked the dog, and was settling in for a day of football, gaming, reading, football, writing, and perhaps a little football. Then the front castor of said wheelchair started to stick. 

It still rolled forward and even backward in its usual way, but turning to my right proved difficult, bordering on impossible. It meant popping a wheely or turning 270 degrees when 90 would have been my usual choice. In a word, it meant faffing (I love that word. I’m not sure if it’s a Yorkshire dialect word, but it’s my all-time favourite way of saying messing around).

Who Ya Gonna Call?
Now, I’m occasionally plagued by the notion I’m some kind of handyman. It’s an idea far removed from reality, but every now and then I get it into my head I have the knowledge and skill to fix things. This was one of those times.

I tilted the ‘chair onto its back wheels and inspected the reluctant castor. Finding the not unexpected collection of animal hair (we have one dog and three cats, The ark arrives next week), I rescued a pen-knife and set about cleaning it out. At this point, the bracket connecting the wheel to the ‘chair took matters into its own hands and imploded, leaving me staring at a fallen wheel and the metallic stump it had just vacated.

It’s probably telling my first instinct was to text Tina. Not that there was anything she could do to rectify the situation, but I guess that’s what married life is all about. When bad things happen you call your other half for support and advice. It was she that told me to ring the people I should probably have rung first… namely, Wheelchair Services.

Part Time
For those with no need to know, this is a council/government run service who both supplied me with my wheelchair and look after its maintenance. I duly rung them and got through to their answering service (it’s a little-known fact, but wheelchairs don’t break on a weekend). Luckily there was an emergency number which put me through to an engineer who told me he had no parts and no loan ‘chairs so I would need to wait until Monday when he would have someone come round, take my chair away, and supply me with a temporary replacement. This did not go well.

The man came. That wasn’t the problem. No, the problem was that he didn’t have a loan chair to give me (they’re apparently as rare as rocking horse droppings in the current climate). He also didn’t have the parts to fix or replace the fallen wheel. I would, in fact, have to sit tight (pun intended) until Friday when the soon to be ordered parts would appear and I would be back on four wheels. To the best of my recollection, I didn’t swear. In fact, if I recall correctly, Tina came a little closer than I did.

Unsteady As You go
All of which is a long-winded explanation of my current unsteady status. Luckily, because of the world-wide pandemic (and who thought they’d ever read that combination of words), I’m self isolating. This means I’ve nowhere to go apart from room to room, a short but still perilous journey. Add in a cup of tea or eggs on toast and it becomes a cross between It’s a Knock Out and that bit of Casualty where you see the accident coming. To date, I’m pleased to announce, I have escaped unscathed. One egg was less lucky and could not, I’m sad to say, be put back together again.

If I err on the ridiculously laid-back ‘everything will be alright eventually’ attitude that annoys those closest to me the most then this is only a small blip in an increasingly unbalanced world. In fact, it’s possibly apt that as life becomes increasingly askew for so many (Work from home. Go To work. Stay in. Eat out. Whatever comes next), I am left in a similar, if purely physical, position. If you add in the fact, the car told me it needs some air in the rear right tyre on Monday, the comparison gets spooky.

I guess all any of us can do is sit tight and wait it out until stability can be reclaimed. Just watch the eggs on toast until they do.

Until next time..

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