Friday, 26 August 2011

A Dangerous Game

Over the summer we've been playing in a cut-throat netball league on courts near the Barbican. As I'm sure is immediately obvious to everyone currently in England, winter is on its way. Our last game was to be this week. Yet Tuesday's final showdown was cancelled for a spot of rain. And who is to blame for this meteorological travesty? None other than Kate in the Countryside. Here's why:

Fig. 1: The Fall
A month ago our Netters Crew strode onto court, psyched and dangerous. Small attractively-spaced clouds dotted the skyline, but the morning's rain had long gone. With minutes to go before half time, when we had already all but routed the opposition, I dived aggressively [difficult to imagine, I know] to intercept the ball. Cartoon-like, I found myself sliding on a slimy patch of concrete [see diagram opposite], took off for a moment mid-fall, then my head slammed into the floor. 

Fig. 2: Our Team
I opened my eyes in amongst a sea of hilariously good legs. The whole episode had gone from Tom and Jerry to Bring It On in a matter of moments. The main thing I felt, as I failed to move much, was embarrassment. A nervous-looking Netball Organiser came over to say that she'd called an ambulance. Cringe. Moments later, a biker in black leather arrived. It was then I worried that something really had happened to my brain. But no - he was just there to check I wasn't planning on dying before the ambulance made it. 

Better Legs Than Middleton (BLT-Mids), a star player from our netball team, collected my stuff and offered to come to the hospital with me. 

Ambulance arrived, I was bundled into a stretcher. I remember convincing myself that it was possible that none of the netballers would see me in my luminous stretcher with biker and three-man Ambulance entourage. Disconcertingly, since I couldn't seem to speak very well, I kept being given options: 'Do you want this wheelchair? Can you walk? Can you see me? Do you want to come in the ambulance now? Do you want your friend to come? ' 

My response - I learned later - was to keep trying to divert the Nice Ambulance Man from asking questions about me by telling BLT-Mids to explain about her own maladies:

e.g. 'BLT-Mids tell the guy about how you fell off your bike that time and nearly died. Go on, tell him - great story.' Also: 'BLT-Mids has hurt her eye! Have you told the man Mids? Maybe we can get it checked out when we get there!'

At this the (mildly alarmed) Nice Ambulance Man finally stopped humouring me: 'You do realise it's a hospital not an optician we're going to don't you? Now tell me if this hurts...'

At the hospital, we waited to be seen: me lolling and babbling in the world's most antiquated wheelchair, BLT-Mids trying to charm the doctors into submission. This worked fairly well. We advanced as far as a preliminary cubicle near to some doctors, but unfortunately achieving this holding place seemed to have no working relationship to how soon I'd be seen. It did mean that we had the benefit of witnessing minor surgery in the rooms around us. Squarks of pain and unpleasant clipping noises were nonchalantly ignored by all. 

Four hours later, a doctor arrived. She looked at me, asked me the same six questions that had been asked by each of the seven nurses that had preceded her, poked me in the ear and scalp, then announced me free to go.

'They never looked at your eye!' I said to BLT-Mids, disappointed, as we fled the scene.


  1. lolling and babbling? sounds much like my behaviour last night, with added netball. thanks for the post-dissertation light reading mase. sincerely, mysterious L. xx

  2. also, for reference @petergregson - BLT-Mids refers to *both* Middleton babes and their legs. outstanding achievement.

    well done mysterious L for your diss hand-in. now you will be mysterious L MA. better change your account name....