I will be the first to admit, having never broken a bone before, that when I see footballers howl in agony and take eight weeks off when someone stands on their foot, my first thought tends to be something like: bloody great overpaid sissy prancing fairy-boys.
Well, if Beckham or Rooney were ever upset by this (and I suspect it may have put them slightly off-balance), I apologise. I apologise because I can attest that it flaming well hurts.
I have mentioned from time to time that I play a regular game of five-a-side with some buddies from the pub. We’ve been doing this for a year and a half, and although most of us are now pretty fit, we’re still crappy footballers. This can be rather dangerous.
I’ve certainly had my fair share of bruised shins and bloody noses resulting from wayward feet and high-speed collisions, but never anything that could invalid me out of the next game. Now, however, I can claim rightful brotherhood with the pantheon of footballing heroes by boasting that I have had broken the legendary 5th metatarsal of my right foot.
There I was, end of the first half, right on the edge of the penalty area, only the keeper to beat, ready to shoot, unable to miss when FUCK AH FUCK SHIT GOD DAMN DAMN SHIT AH I’m okay, I’m okay, play on, I’ll just go and run it under the tap for a bit.
Which I did, and then I came back and played the rest of the game, because I’m a testosterone charged, pain loving macho strong man freak, who worried that if he limped off, everyone would think him a bloody great sissy prancing fairy-boy.
Lunatic! Fool! Poltroon! That night I couldn’t sleep I was in so much pain; so first thing Monday morning, I put on three pair of socks, tied my laces really tight and hobbled all the way to the first aid unit at the hospital. Who sent me to my GP. At the other end of town. Who sent me back to the hospital, for an X-Ray. Which finally confirmed, after two hours limping around town, with the cold-sweats and ready to puke, that I had a broken foot and needed to go to the nearest A&E.
Thirteen miles away.
That poor radiologist. I could see she hated giving me the news, the entire weight of the PCT’s inadequacies weighing upon her. I felt sorry for her, but I killed her anyway. I mean, what would you have done?
She lies in peace now, entombed in her lead lined lab. I found myself a lift to Banbury, got myself checked out and cast by some very pretty young girls, and now have nothing to do but splay on the sofa with my foot on a pillow, trawling Facebook for old school friends and fielding calls from panicked and over-harried workmates.
And I can’t wait until I can play again.