Yesterday I spent a painful morning in my local surgery, waiting to see my GP; it’s a narrow corridor lined with chairs; I already inhabited two, the second for my heavily bandaged foot. Ten days ago I was up a ladder, stupid idea as I’m newly on anti-epileptic drugs, [they give you about two months to stabilize]. I was trimming Old Man Banksia tree, on a 12 foot ladder, when the pole I was using to trim the branches fell solidly & heavily onto the middle of my foot, where the stigmata was supposed to be [since we’re doing Holy Friday]. Two days later I was completely immobilised & my foot was a sullen swollen mass. I was treating it with ice packs and betadene; at one point I stupidly thought white Tiger Balm would help increase the blood flow, instead it created two enormous blood blisters.
My local hospital became involved when I decided I needed antibiotic intervention; by then I needed crutches to get around. In the surgery I was being insuffieiently treated for the pain: whenever the injured foot got to ground level gravity would send blood to it, which had nowhere to go. Howls of pain ensued; as an artist I practise paraeidola, or seeing irrational shapes in things; during the pain, my closed eyes would project auras of intense colours.
So, there we were, waiting for the doctor to get round to seeing us; unfortunately, she was having major problems moving client files from an old system to a new one. A young pregnant woman brought in her young [three? year old] boy, who ran up and down the corridor with a new toy every two minutes; my horror scenario was that he would lurch suddenly against my swollen and insanely painful foot. Was it the intensity of my concern? But he started paying visits to my foot, briefly stopping to examine my bandages before visiting the receptionist or going back to mummy, who would pile him into the playpen.
I thought later that the underlying logic of his behaviour was that his mum must have told him this was a place you went to when you were sick, yet in that whole parade of waiting folk I was the only one presenting any symptom of illness. He stopped again in front of my foot, which I was protecting with both hands, from any sudden lurching gesture. At one point, I said emphatically: “BIG HURT”, and his eyes widened. From the other end of the room his mum sought to assure me his intentions were benign, I agreed but told her I couldn’t afford someone’s innocent blunder. The receptionist’s contribution was the expression “sticks out like a sore thumb”. Thank you. I said to the mum “he’s a total sweetie” which was a mistake because too gay; suddenly I could be stereotyped as a grooming poofter pedophile.
Today I realised that there’s a moment in the growing up process of little boys when, sadly, they realise that they’re different from their wonderful doting young mums, and they have to seek a role model elsewhere. Sad for their mums to be rejected like that, but so many young women are raising children on their own, what is the solution. A lot of us have divorced ourselves from the option of raising children, so good luck to all concerned.