I was wandering back from getting some tea this morning in the Neuro wing when I spotted an elderly gentleman looking a bit lost. I asked him where he was looking for and he said the M&S restaurant so he could get some proper food. It’s quite a long walk around the University to the restaurant and not easy to find so I said follow me and I’ll take him to it. He was dressed in that cycling outfit that seems popular now, sleek and skin tight and he was wearing the expensive shoes and carrying a helmet so I started chatting away with him. He was 76 and been cycling all his life, this morning he had cycled down from Rose Hill, about five miles away and I joked that that was easy as it’s basically all downhill, the problem would be going back up. He laughed and said that won’t be a problem on his bike with twenty gears. So I asked him why was he in the Neuro Wing and mentioned that his gait was not fluid, he was limping. He said he’d been hit recently by a car when on his bike and damaged some nerves and thus in the Neuro wing. I asked him just how many times he had been hit and it took him about five minutes to list all the injuries he had suffered, arms broken, shoulders smashed, jaw, head, teeth and now this leg neuro injury.
So, I said to him that when I first came to London 25 years ago I cycled a lot (couldn’t afford a car!) but I kept getting hit and had actually been chased by one driver after I berated him for almost crushing me under his wheels. After that I gave up cycling and took up swimming, it seemed safer and less chance of ending up like jam on the side of the road. He smiled and said he understood, especially if you have children but he was addicted to cycling and despite all the injuries wouldn’t give it up for something less hazardous. However, I find it ironic that he does this cycling to keep fit but because of it he’s got a long long list of injuries and hobbles everywhere.. I have another friend who has a metal plate in her forearm because of being knocked off her bike.. It sets off alarms when she goes through metal detectors.. And a colleague at work plays football twice a week and is constantly hobbling, in pain and complaining of some injury and he’s young and does footie to keep fit.
I don’t play a sport regularly, I will watch it occasionally, especially rugby and the world cup every four years and my regular exercise involves going for long walks but I stand up straight, I don’t hobble or limp, and unlike most (ex)nurses I don’t have back problems and I don’t set off alarms when I go through airport security detectors.
However, as I left my friend off at the restaurant I said to him that all that gear must be expensive and he said yes, very, but over the years he had received over £100,000 in compensation for all his accidents. He thanked me and went limping off and I thought about it, £100,000 isn’t nearly enough compensation for limping for the rest of your life, no amount of money is, I’m going to stick to long walks…or invest in lots of bubblewrap.