I accidentally extended my own lockdown by fracturing my ankle so now moving off the couch to go anywhere is a hassle slightly reminiscent of recovering from cancer surgery. It hurts less than it did a week ago, though.

Hi! It’s been ages, hasn’t it, but at the same time it’s hard to tell because the world is on fire.

I’m going to be on my local radio station on Friday night, around 7.40pm on BBC Northampton, reading part of a lyric essay and talking about writing and my piece, which of course is about my usual subject.

I’ve had an exciting acceptance recently – one of my poems is appearing in Mancunian Ways anthology due for publication in October from Fly On The Wall Press. There will hopefully be a book launch in person and I’ve been invited to read my poem there, so that’s all super exciting.

Twitter is very difficult, isn’t it? It’s full of doom at the moment but I still look at it because I live there and I hope to see something nice, or at least interesting.

So yeah, I fell down a step on my driveway two and a half weeks ago. Hurt my ankle and foot real bad, to the point that I couldn’t walk on it at all and was hopping around the house. Thought it was a sprain so did self-care for a week, putting it up and icing it as per the NHS website. But it didn’t really get better, it sort of got worse. So a week after I did it, I called 111 and they asked me some questions and said a clinician would call me back. This was at about 1pm on a Sunday. The clinician called back at 11.30pm right after my head hit my pillow. She wanted to know why I didn’t call sooner or go to A&E. Like, to the point of being rude and feeling like she was having a go at me for it. Like, well actually I didn’t call 111 or go to A&E because:

  • I thought it was just a sprain
  • It only hurt when it wasn’t elevated
  • We were following the advice on the NHS website for self-care
  • I’ve had a lot of experience with hospitals, a lot of it traumatic, so no, I didn’t really want to go to a hospital
  • I’ve had a lot of experience with pain so maybe I have a high tolerance for just putting up with feeling shitty
  • We’re in a goddamn pandemic and nobody wants to go to the hospital with a sprained ankle and come out with covid

So I wasn’t very happy with that. The clinician said to go to A&E immediately, so we did. Got there just after midnight to find out the minor injuries clinic shuts at twelve. Went back in the morning and saw a lovely woman in minor injuries who sent me for an x-ray and then told me it was a stable fracture and sent me off with a walking boot and crutches. Absolutely fantastic staff in minor injuries, A&E and the x-ray department. Could not fault. Super friendly and empathetic and efficient, and the place was really quiet. Kudos to Northampton General.

I’m playing my favourite Spotify playlist and it’s so comforting, I love it.

So yeah, things haven’t been totally groovy. Been working from home since mid-March and work isn’t rushing us back into the office, which is great, and I’m happy to work from home. Except I can’t work from my office right now because of my ankle, so I’m on the couch all the time, which is sometimes nice but I’d like to be using my office for its designated purpose. And it means I’m alone all day, nearly every day, which can get a bit tedious.

My PhD is going well. I’ve started working on my report for my annual review so I can progress to my second year. My creative work has taken a turn from what I had originally intended – I may be moving from poetry to prose, or something in between. That’s the exciting ground, the bit in between.

On 31st July I’m going for an MRI for new annual brain tumour screening – precautionary due to Lynch syndrome. All my other screening is currently delayed so waiting on appointments.

Feeling slightly trapped because of my ankle, and feeling like I spend so much time in recovery, physically or emotionally, from cancer or screening or surgery or whatever else, that I feel less like myself. You know, constantly being in fight or flight mode. Or, not physically being able to get to a mirror easily so just not bothering to look into one, so feeling less of a sense of self. I’ve decided to really try to do things as normally as possible, to try to get back to normal right now. Because I feel like I can do that now, because it’s a physical limitation stopping me and right now I don’t feel like it’s stopping me too much, it’s just that I haven’t been trying hard to do things if they aren’t completely necessary. When it’s a mental or emotional thing stopping me from having the energy to do things, “just doing it anyway” is unlikely to be an option.

No idea if I articulated any of that last bit coherently. But hey, here’s a blog post, which I haven’t done for ages. Not breaking my silence, fracturing my silence. Yeaaaah.