Monday 3 December 2007

Pride comes before...lumbar injury

Our TV broke this week. It had been playing up for a few days: switching itself off mysteriously, winking out a bizarre error code on the LEDs on the front, making the whole picture look like it was covered in oil - generally irritating random behavior that suggested poltergeist activity rather than electronic error - but on the Thursday night it finally refused to switch on at all. Nini made some phone calls and found a local repair centre who thought they could sort it out in a few days, so I staggered out to the car with it and drove it over to them. This left a gap in the living room that felt akin to a missing tooth: your eyes were drawn to the stark silhouette it had left in on the TV table where its shadow had stopped the wood from darkening.
"I could bring my TV down from the office...", I offered, in a tone of voice carefully designed to suggest that this would be about as welcome as a letter from the Inland Revenue demanding back taxes. "But, you know, that means bringing it down the ladder - and it's very heavy." (My office is in the loft - hence its nickname of ' The Loffice', a weak pun that loses all traces of humour by the second repetition - and thus can only be accessed by a pull down ladder).
"No, don't do that", said Nini. "You'll hurt your back"
"Hmm, good point", I readily agreed, thinking not so much about my safety but more that the continued presence of the spare TV in the loft meant that I could continue to spend happy hours playing Super Mario Galaxy on the Nintendo every night...
The repair centre called later that day. The main TV would be ready the next day. I could pick it up in the morning.
"Will you need help bringing it back up the garden steps?" asked Nini.
"I'll be fine - I took it down them, didn't I?"
"Just be careful. It's heavy. Don't hurt your back."
I pick the TV up from the repair centre. I carry it, inch by careful inch, up the front steps, which are slippery with rain. I balance it on a knee while I get the front door open. I have to adjust the weight and heft it sideways into the living room, which proves incredibly awkward. I pause for breath and rest it on the sofa.
"Mind your back! Do you want any help?" asks Nini.
I snort contemptuously and shoo her away: "I've done all the difficult stuff now. You'll just be in the way"
I hoist the TV up again and make my way to the corner of the room. I gently lower it the last two inches onto the table - and then continue to lower myself further, all the way down onto the floor, where I writhe in agony, howling. Nini comes running back
"What on earth's the matter?" she asks
"Back. Back! Back!" I foam incoherently, thumbing vaguely behind me at my lumbar region.
"Oh no, I warned you..." says Nini, in voice that simultaneously expresses immediate concern and a righteous 'told you so' indignation at my previous refusal of assistance.
"Back! Back! AGONY!" I riposte wittily from the floor.
And that was the weekend ruined: I spent both days lying prone on various flat surfaces with a bag of frozen peas wedged into the small of my back. The girls had to be forbidden from climbing on me while I lay there (which must have been confusing: normally I'd actively welcome having them jump on my back on the basis that it prevents accidental damage to my 'tender unmentionables' around the front) and I spend all weekend tensing involuntarily whenever they approached - though in fact both were very sweet: they understood that I was unable to move and so brought me a series of things they thought would help. Sadly, they lack even the most basic of Osteopath training and as a result neither really have any idea what is needed in such situations:
Amelie: "I have brought you my bedcovers so that you get better Daddy"
Paul: "Thankyou, sweetheart, that's very kind."
A: "And here is my bedside water bottle."
P: "Ah, thanks."
A: "And here is a teddy bear I don't want. And a star from my star chart."
P: "Um, OK..."
A: "Nevey has brought you some things too. Here is a plastic fish and an empty shampoo bottle."
P: "Er...right.."
A: "I will put them on the bed, where you can reach them"
Soon a small mound of random objects piled up next to me, including Ninis cardigan, one of Neves spare dummies, half a box of raisins, and a remote controlled tank. None of them really helped with the pain...

Of course, I'm back on my feet now. Now the weekends been wasted and it's time for work...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

At last, a use for frozen peas worthy of the name.