58: head, shoulders, knees and toes

I came home from work on Wednesday and as the evening progressed, my foot began to hurt. I mean, it really hurt. So much so that I couldn’t put any weight on it – some of the time. And then sometimes it was fine. I hadn’t done anything to it that I knew of – no mis-steps, or ankle turns, or falling off or into anything. It just hurt. Scientific exploration (oh ok, poking at it till I discovered where it hurt most) revealed an area just between the top of my foot and the ankle bone where it was tender but not swollen but didn’t tell me why. I’d been on my feet all day – except when I’d been crawling on the floor cutting up plastazote for boxing the handling collection. I’d been wearing Converse (of course) rather than anything impractical – I wouldn’t walk a marathon in them but they’re pretty practical the rest of the time.

So, knowing I had an ankle support somewhere I went on a hunt for it. The ankle support dates from when I twisted my ankle at an Aerosmith gig. Don’t ask. Anyway.

Twenty five years ago I possessed a wrist support. That was it. I worked, mostly. This week, in the course of the hunt for the ankle bandage I discovered I now have:

  • the ankle support (phew)
  • multiple random lengths of tubigrip bandage for ankles and wrists (I assume)
  • two elbow supports
  • no less than eight knee supports ranging from pressure straps through to neoprene ones with carefully placed kneecap holes. Eight!
  • a selection of KT tape in interesting colours and patterns.

How does this even happen? I have never had a major injury other than a broken arm at the age of four. I am mostly kind to my body: I take it on walks, I feed it nice food, I submerge it in a lake a couple of times a week. There could probably be a lot less of it (it’s on the to-do list) but on the whole it’s pretty healthy so why do I possess enough stretchy bandaging to go to a party as a patchwork sports mummy? The pairing of the words ‘Kirsty’ and ‘sports injury’ would cause Miss Brooker and Miss Jones from the Comp PE department to collapse in hysteria, but here I am at 47 with enough joint supports to cause a physiotherapist to weep.

And let’s not even start on my back, neck and shoulders or the three pairs of glasses for very small, far away and middle distance. It turns out that people, unlike wine, do not improve with age.

Ice cream in the park

It’s been a pretty rough week, all in all, quite apart from the mystery ankle injury. On Monday we discovered that our little museum team was being restructured yet again (that’s three times in two years, for context). If it goes ahead, we stand to lose the person who has been the absolute heart of the team for the past two years: making sure we stayed connected through furlough and lockdown, establishing the birthday habit we now have, fighting for us and the project at high levels. When she joined the museum after the first, bruising restructure she made sure she met every single person for a one to one to find out our hopes and ambition for the new museum and for our roles within it: from the cleaning, catering and security teams to the heads of teams and those people from the other sites with responsibility for the project. When we were restructured again the following year she worked to find alternative roles within the museum for as many of those affected as she could. The grief and anger within the team has been palpable this week, though she was at pains to reassure us that we would be OK. We are a tight team who work cross-departmentally, who are generous with time and knowledge and who share a passion for the project we’re working on. We are also tired and demoralised, and fed up with being restructured. There’s only so many times you can rebuild something before the component parts become unstable: hence the saying ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.

I really felt I’d earned the sunset/full moon swim on Monday night, and pottered round the lake getting my head back on the right way round. The atmosphere was lovely, with candles and a fire pit, and the moon rising behind the trees as we were getting changed. This week’s cover photo is by me, as I finally managed to sort out my waterproof phone case!

By Friday we had earned a picnic in Victoria Park watching the puppy obedience class followed by an ice cream from ‘The Conefather’. Just getting off site as a team and being able to rant and let off steam was a relief – we are still mainly working remotely, so very much ships passing in the night (or the corridor), and online chats just aren’t the same.

This friendly bee came to join our picnic

There has been much therapeutic crafting going on: a gift I still can’t share but will be able to next week after it’s gone to its new home, the ongoing lacy socks and another cross stitch underway.

This week is a three day week for me, as it’s Bank Holiday and I’ve booked Friday off as a mental health day (and the dentist) as well. I’m off swimming shortly so I’d better go and get myself sorted!

Enjoy the long weekend!

Kirsty x

What I’ve been reading

Library of the Dead – T.L. Huchu

The Stranger Times – C.K McDonnell

Juniper Wiles – Charles de Lint

Chocolat – Joanne Harris (Audible)

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