Wednesday, 15 April 2009


“Yes, I’m better. Thanks for asking”, I said to Hubby, peeved that he hadn’t even noticed that I’d washed my hair, applied a smattering of make-up and looked vaguely human once again.
Not to be outdone, he has medical issues of his own and for the hundredth time that day, pored over a letter from his consultant which informed him that the MRI showed ‘a complex and degenerative tear in the medial meniscus with multiple intrasseous cyst like lesions’.
“What do you think Alice? What can be made of that?”, he asked rubbing his chin, pondering.
“Well, I don’t think he’s advising you to run the Plymouth half marathon do you?” It was only an attempt at levity, but given Hubby’s reaction, most ill-timed.
“Don’t you take anything seriously Alice? Good God, I’ll have to have surgery and be out of work for a week or two and, well, who knows what?”
“What do you mean who knows what? Who knows what ‘what’?” At that point we were both a little bewildered, so I left him to Google knee ops and went into the kitchen to make some tea.
By the time the kettle had boiled and I’d placed some mollifying malted milks on a side plate for him, he joined me in the kitchen.
“It looks as though surgery can be done by key-hole; perhaps it’s not as invasive as we first thought”. Speak for yourself, I almost said; instead I stirred three teaspoons of sugar into his tea. “For the shock”, I said somewhat facetiously but he didn’t pick up on it, instead he took the mug at face value and with a very grave expression on his face.
“My knee is exceptionally painful you know Alice and no wonder eh?”
No wonder love, no wonder I said silently and I patted his arm.
“So how will you cope?”, he asked. At this point I almost choked on a dried apricot. No tea and biscuits for this girl.
“Cope with what love?”, I said almost speechlessly, distracted by thumping my chest to dislodge the offending article.
“My incapacity”. He looked so genuinely earnest that it would have been churlish to reply, “I doubt I’ll notice. The bathroom tap is still not doing what it should i.e emit water when turned on, our son is not having anywhere near enough father/son talks regarding well, just about everything, so it is left to me not just to nag about tidying his bedroom and study for his GCSEs but also take great lengths to discuss the birds and the bees, wherein, and to continue the animal metaphor , the horse has bolted and as far as I can see, the aforementioned winged beasts have fled the nest and are more than happy making honey.”
I cleared my throat instead and said equally solemnly, “We’ll manage somehow. It’ll be tough but we’ll get through it”.
Soothed by my response, he downed his tea and went next door to discuss his diagnoses with dad. If there is truth in the rumour that women can discuss gynaecological issues at length then the same can be said for men and their knees, especially sailors past and present, who in moments of sporting prowess have done some sort of running for the Navy and who now find their impairment worth much analysis.
Breathing a sigh of relief that I had half an hour’s respite from men and their meniscus’s I picked up the newspaper ready to enjoy at least three paragraphs without interruption. Just as I brought the mug to my lips however and had perched my glasses on the end of my nose to read ‘The Temptations of Russell Brand’, Pia emerged from the basement.
“Hiya love, help yourself to pastries”, I said looking up.
“Thank you”, she said stuffing two croissants into her dressing gown pocket, “But I need to discuss something with you”. Reluctantly I put Russell Brand down. Taking off my glasses I asked, “So what’s up?”
“I must ask you to come to parents evening”. Too simple, there must be a catch.
“Of course sweetie, when is it?”
“On Tuesday. At four thirty. You must be prompt”. I so wanted to add, I’ll give you prompt my girl but for the second time that morning I exhibited great self control and replied,
“Well Pia, it will be a bit tricky to be there at four thirty on the dot because as one girl finishes ballet the other starts tap. But I’ll do my best”.
“Please do. It is imperative”, and taking a tumbler of orange juice, she descended once more into her den.
At 4.35 on Tuesday we sat at the desk of the chemistry teacher who sang her praises.
“Were that all the students had her self-discipline, her zeal and commitment to study. It is such a shame she has to return to Norway. There must be a way she can stay to finish her ‘A’ levels. There must be funding somewhere”.
Pia looked sheepishly at her hands. Her fingers I noticed were crossed. I looked across to the adjacent table. Biology. Her boyfriend sat there with his mother, pretending to listen to his teacher but he, I discerned bleakly, also had his fingers tightly crossed. This was the catch and I’d been truly hoodwinked, duped, tricked, call it what you will. It was all down to me as to whether or not I’d have her for another year and thus facilitate the passing of ‘A’ levels, the continuing ruination of my basement and a Norse love affair whose intensity is only matched by Thor or Odin.
“Of course”, I heard myself saying, “Of course she can stay”. On the bright side, Hubby is so incandescent with rage at my inability to say “no” with any convincing vehemence that there has been no further mention of meniscus of any kind.


DL said...

Guess I'll be first, then!

As another with a recently duff knee, I'm afraid I'm going to have to come down on hubby's side of the fence with this one. You're clearly not taking this seriously enough!

My knee was a result of forgetting that I'm a somewhat-too-heavy-46-year-old, and cavorting around like a young thing in a kickboxing class.

Best wishes,

Sally said...

On the other hand DL - you can still walk!

Tell Hubby that the surgery - keyhole - is fine - just make sure that they get the anaesthetic dose right and that they don't leave him to nearly die on the operating table of low blood pressure....

As for Pia.....Is it a real nuisance that she is staying?

And have you decided what you are doing yet? (Re careers etc)

Alice Band said...

Hey Sal, they almost killed me with the old anaesthetic dose and low blood pressure thing back in January. My hand is still bad after the venflon thing in my hand were he severed my nerve!