Yesterday I said goodbye to the Robot Sling.
The surgeon who operated on my Problem Shoulder (she said it wasn’t easy,
but I had warned her she was trying to put right fifty years of Shoulder Related Issues) thought we should conduct a short Throwing the Sling in the Bin ceremony - which we proceeded to do, right there in her consulting room. She pointed out that there appeared
to be traces of several meals visible on the sling; I felt somewhat ashamed at my obvious slovenliness until I reminded myself that eating meals one-handed with one’s dominant arm in a sling is not the easiest of activities.
There aren’t many positives to wearing a sling for six weeks - I can think of only two. Firstly the Robot Sling has been a very visible reminder to Mr B that I am (i) not allowed and (ii) not
able to respond to many of his requests. Fortunately I have been allowed to carry a mug of coffee in my right hand which has been a source of succour to us both in these challenging days.
Even more importantly, bus travel is quite a revelation when wearing a Robot Sling. I have only attempted it twice, to be fair - once to the local shops and once to the pantomime (oh, yes, I did!) - but it was quite an experience.
To start with, on each occasion the bus driver waited until I was safely seated before starting up his engine again. This does sometimes happen when we passengers are fortunate enough to have a driver who is particularly friendly and - most importantly - on
time, rather than running late. Even better, on standing up to alight from the bus, fellow passengers all seemed to have my welfare at heart: “You need to move so that this lady can get off!” they all loudly castigated the poor young mums trying
to make room for me to wriggle past their baby-laden buggies.
Yesterday I was waiting at the bus stop for the Pulse bus to the hospital when my friend Ian drew
up in his car and asked where I was going. In no time at all I was ensconced in the front passenger seat and on my way. This is another positive about wearing a Robot Sling - it’s like a silent plea for assistance. He didn’t need to wait for me,
I reassured my kind friend, as I might (like Captan Oates) be some time - but he said what else did he have to do? This was a question I was unable to answer but it was, I admit, good to have some company while waiting, first for X-rays, then for the consultant.
There was a TV in the waiting room but it was playing kids’ cartoons with the sound off. Have you noticed just how many animated films there have been on TV this Christmas? I never thought I would be quite so pleased to see a return of Homes Under the
Hammer and Escape to the Country.
As regular readers know, I am an inveterate People Pleaser. I often wish I had been born a rebel (Cockney or otherwise) because
then I wouldn’t have cared so much if I let people down. Yesterday was a case in point - I was so very sure that Ms Tigger (as I call my consultant because she is so very, well, bouncy) would be pleased with my progress over the past six weeks. Haven’t
my offspring all been assuring me that I have been making amazing strides in my recovery? Haven’t I believed them implicitly, not least because I, too, was pleased with myself? Unfortunately She Who Knows Better was not at all pleased with me - she would
be contacting my physiotherapist, she assured me, to order him to push me much harder. I did try to jump to his defence - he had assured me that it was “very early days” I explained - but Ms Tigger was having none of it. I am, officially, on the
Today I have put this disappointing verdict into perspective. I have a new exercise to perform which will, I am sure, put me back on track.
What’s more, in all the photos from Christmas 2018, I am sporting the Robot Sling, in all its meal-spattered messiness. Now, as we enter 2019, I am rid of it.
As Someone Far Greater than I once memorably pronounced, I am Free At Last...