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A mid-afternoon incident

Here’s the latest in my occasional reports from the front line of recovering from a hip replacement operation.

Yesterday I had nothing more planned than a ‘slow’ day at home – this after 48 hours of ‘not doing so well’ that involved a work-related outing requiring a couple of hours being ‘on parade’ that I always knew would be quite tiring.

I’m not going to lie – I took things pretty easy.

Apart from making myself some breakfast, lunch and an evening meal, and taking my meds at four-hourly intervals, I read the newspapers, trawled around the internet, read my book, watched television and had two snoozes on my bed when the mood took me.

I hadn’t even bothered to shave or shower. There was really no point, I hadn’t any plans to see anybody.

It was all going pretty well until about 3.20pm.

Earlier I’d seen an item on the television about how scientists had just discovered that, to avoid disease and keep themselves healthy and fit, office workers who spent their days in front of a computer should take exercise of some kind (even if only a walk) for an hour every day.

If I’d been doing anything, I’d been sitting in front of a computer when not slouched on my backside on the sofa.

For some reason – then with 40 minutes to go to my next bout of med-taking – I decided it would be a great idea to go out into the street for a half-hour walk along the tow-path beside the river. You know, fifteen minutes out … and then fifteen minutes back … the meds … and then perhaps back into my book with a cup of tea. Fresh air, some exercise and to a degree some stretching and moving. It would certainly be an antidote to the slothful day I’d been having.

Plus, it would mean I’d ‘done some exercising’ of my hip-leg. What’s not to like?

First I went down to my bedroom to put on some comfortable shoes in place of the flip-flops I’d been wearing since I had first got out of bed.

Second, having noticed that light rain was beginning to fall outside, I put on my waterproof top.

Thirdly, although I had not long before spoken on the telephone to ‘my other half’ – currently staying on the other side of London – I decided to take my mobile with me, in case she should call back for any reason and/or (worst case) I got myself into trouble, e.g. by falling over or something, whilst I was out on my expedition.

Thus prepared and armed, I slipped out of my apartment and into the corridor, closing the door behind me as I did so.

It was about three seconds later, quietly using my non-walking-stick hand to make a confirmatory pat of the trouser pocket containing them … that I realised for the first time that I had gone out without taking my house keys with me.

I was effectively now locked out of my apartment. With a bad hip, rain falling outside … and no immediate means of getting back inside!

walk2People who know me regard me as someone possessed of a pretty short fuse – one who gets irritated when things don’t work, or aren’t as they should be, not least when I am the cause of my own misfortune – as was the case here.

However, I continue to regard myself as a bit of a pussy-cat. Faced with a situation I can do nothing about, it’s only about a 50:50 call as to whether I’m going to blow my top and begin ranting against the petty iniquities of life … or just sigh, take a deep breath … and simply ‘get on with it’.

On this occasion it was definitely a case of the latter.

There is a Lithuanian guy who runs a general electrical etc. store down the road who in the past on three occasions – two of them on successive days in one instance – had ‘broken into’ my own apartment for me when I’ve walked out without taking my keys. At a cost, of course. But at least he’s friendly and accommodating. I go and see him. He shuts up his shop leaving a sign on the door saying “Back in 20 minutes”, comes down to my gaff, lets me in … and then walks back to his shop again with a wad of cash in his hand and a smile upon his face.

I therefore toddled along to his shop, consoling myself that this trek … and its return version … together would make a decent ‘exercise’ outing for me anyway.

That’s when I encountered my next problem.

The bugger had left a note on his shop door saying “Sorry – closed – back at 4.20pm”. How inconvenient was that?

I shuffled back along the road, bought a Top Gear magazine from a newsagent’s shop and then sat in a coffee shop sipping a pot of tea for half an hour. That took me up to 4.05pm.

There was still fifteen minutes until he said he’d be back at his shop. It would take me maybe seven or eight of those to reach his shop. I may as well go along to his shop now anyway, in the hope he might have got back early.

He had. He was actually standing outside his shop smoking a cigarette before going in.

He greeted me like an old friend. I said “I’ll give you two guesses as to why I’ve come to see you …”

He thought for a moment and said “You want to go for a drink down the pub?”

I soon disabused him of that one, explaining that I’d locked myself out of my apartment again.

It was no problem, he said – he’d be along in ten minutes. He was. He did his thing, let me in, relieved me of £60 in cash … and I was back home, just about 30 minutes late for my 4.00pm meds.

It’s a man’s life, this world of hip replacement post-operative recovery …

About Gerald Ingolby

Formerly a consumer journalist on radio and television, in 2002 Gerald published a thriller novel featuring a campaigning editor who was wrongly accused and jailed for fraud. He now runs a website devoted to consumer news. More Posts