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Thursday, 30 March 2017

Man up, man down.

On paternity leave and when your wife is recovering from a C-section it's important to be present and care for her at all times!

So today, as I clutched a Hot Wheels stunt builder kit and made my way down the stairs with its 'frustration free' Amazon packaging in my other hand I instantly became my own stunt dad, sliding down the stairs with a cacophony of bumps and an almighty smash of my arm on the bannister.

Yes. As my arse bounced down those steps I truly knew what it must be like to be a Beyoncé impersonator at a traveller wedding. It felt like I was getting grabbed and shaken roughly by an intoxicated man with a penchant for bare knuckle fist fights, and his intentions towards me were to give me a night I wouldn't forget.

"Harry? Are you OK? Can you hear me?" The voice of the person recovering from an invasive abdominal operation said.

I groaned loudly.

"Harry? I'm coming up."

She arrived, with adorable baby Leo in one arm. "Deep breaths. I'll get you some water. Deep breaths."

Leo this morning. I'm glad I wasn't carrying him at the time.

I showed her my arm. "Look, it's got a massive bump on it. That doesn't look right, does it."

In my mind, I started to picture a glorious gladiatorial fracture, with bone jutting out, pushing at the skin. Perhaps blood would spurt out in a fine mist, if this were directed by Ridley Scott.

"Deep breaths."

I followed her downstairs and lay on the sofa. 

"How much does it hurt?"

"I don't know, I'm feeling a lot of adrenaline at the moment. I should get it checked out."

She agreed it looked bad, and I called the local surgery. The news was that I'd probably need an X-ray but the nearest hospital was 25 minutes away.

"You'll have to get a taxi won't you?" She said.

"I don't want to pay for a taxi, we've got all these people who've offered you help so can't we ask them?"

I began frantically reeling off a shortlist of "women who might be morally obliged to give a lift to their friend's idiot husband who fell down the stairs and is supposed to be looking after his wife."

She agreed on my top two names, hand selected by me based on their current employment status. This was easy. I have many years of experience in recruitment, and was confident in my shortlist of candidates. The first person we rang answered the phone and immediately accepted the taxi job. Hashtag: nailed it.

In the car we made pleasant small talk. Ability to make non awkward small talk was one of the other ranking criteria in my taxi driver shortlist. As she drove, I made enquiries about her new relationship that I have heard about through my wife. I was even able to recount the detail about how he hadn't made a move on their second date, despite it being at her house. This helped the conversation to flow easily.

She dropped me off at the hospital and I was seen quickly by a grumpy triage nurse in the A&E department.

"Hello, I fell down the stairs." I thought I would keep my introduction cheerful and to the point.

"On a scale of 1-10, how much does it hurt?"

At this point I began to panic. This was definitely a three on the scale, paracetamol was helping me through the hard times.

"Five," I lied.

She scribbled something along the lines of "If his arm is broken, I'll dance naked on top of a harpsichord" on her piece of paper and told me to go to the next room.

I then spoke to a GP who played with my arm a bit and said I'd need an X-ray. 

The Radiologist twisted my arm on the table and at this point it was hurting a lot. He did his work and ominously told me they would discuss my results back in A&E.

The GP who I'd seen earlier ushered me into his room. His face was grave.

"It's all OK. No break. You've got yourself a baton injury."

He then explained what this was, and mimed being a rioter defending himself against a policeman hitting him with a truncheon.

"We get these a lot," He added.

"I'll put a plaster on it."

"Oh that's OK, no plaster necessary!" I responded awkwardly:

"No no, it's what we do, to avoid you getting dust in it."

Feeling quite silly, I let him patch me up with a hospital issue plaster.

"Can I see my X-ray?" I asked.


He then took me to a computer and I looked at my arm from several angles in its unbroken glory.

"Can I take a picture?"

"Erm... I'd rather you didn't."
With the last shred of my dignity, I ordered a large latte from Costa on my way out of the hospital and waited for my taxi. (Thanks! You know who you are!)