Wednesday, 9 September 2009

If it's already bad now, what am I going to be like when I’m old?

I’ve always been a jump-up-and-down sort of girl: running, swimming, cycling, dancing, that sort of thing. And I’ve had twinges in the past, but they’ve usually been utterly explainable (hip and knee damage from running, for example, and if that isn’t a reason not to run I don’t know what is).

So when I woke up last Monday (that’s 10 days ago) unable to get out of bed, and established that I wasn’t handcuffed to the bedposts and hadn’t had my limbs sawn off in the night by a crazy person, I was a bit worried.

It was Johann’s fault, obviously. Johann, on a Sunday-night drinking spree (these things happen in these parts), thought it immensely entertaining to leave not one, not two, not even three… okay, EIGHT SMS messages on my Telkom landline.

What happens when you leave a cellphone text message on a Telkom landline is this. It goes into a computer. In the computer sits a Ken-doll-type man with his brain removed and a synthesizer clamped to his voicebox, which blurts out a bizarre American accent. And when he gets your message, he dials your landline number and repeats it, twangily verbatim.

But the thing is, he does dial your number. And your landline does ring.

I very, very seldom answer my landline (as Rosie and Ronaldo, the only two people left on the planet who still call it, should know by now). But that doesn’t stop it ringing.

When it rings, I know this: It’s either Ronaldo (in which case I’ll talk to him annoyedly or phone back at a more convenient hour on my cellphone) or Rosie (and then it’s for my daughter, and in order not to kill both of them I do a brisk few laps of my bedroom walls); or someone trying to sell me something I can promise you beyond a shadow of a doubt that I don’t want (not even if it comes with a ‘free’ blow-up mattress or apparently all-expenses-paid holiday for two to Mauritius provided you attend a time-share seminar).

So I obviously enormously didn’t appreciate Johann’s eight Ken-doll Telkom-voicemail phonecalls last Sunday night, and every time the phone rang I tensed up in bed and thought, ‘If I knew who that f*cker was I’d tear them limb from limb.’ And I’m pretty sure that’s where the back problem started.

(Johann wasn’t at all fazed. ‘Don’t you love having such interesting friends?’ he SMSd me the next morning, when I texted him to tell him that he’d done irreparable damage to the muscles that enable me to stand upright.)

Ag, but you know life goes on, and by last Wednesday I’d been bitten by about a gazillion bastard midges and even if I couldn’t bend down or stretch around to scratch the suppurating welts because my back was too sore, the suppurating welts took my mind off the fact that I couldn’t stand upright.

But now, genuinely, I can’t stand upright. I finally caved and phoned the local physio and begged her for an appointment. She was shamefully unsympathetic and told me she couldn’t see me until Friday. (Friday!) So I got in my car and drove 25km to the next town (the nearest place with a chemist) and told the pharmacist on duty what my problem was.

‘And have you tried a heat pad?’ she said.

I clutched the counter. My eyes might have bugged a bit and it’s possible I foamed slightly at the mouth. ‘I’m begging you,’ I said, ‘and it would be on bended knee if I only bloody could. Give. Me. Some. Scheduled. Drugs.’

She did. (She told me not to tell anyone. So I’m only telling you. Don’t you tell anyone.)

Unfortunately I did also tell her that I needed to ‘think’ (why?) so she hasn’t given me anything even vaguely hallucinogenic. But the relief of not having to drag my ailing body around like Quasimodo simply can’t be described.

I’m really worried about what I’m going to do when my body breaks down for good. Thank god Johann is going to be there to look after me.

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