For me this was rather literal.
It started with a patch of ice. It's Scotland in winter, I should have seen it coming. Alas I didn't.
As I shot sideways and downwards, like a drunken Bambi, I calmly logged what was hitting the ground: Hip, oww, head, oww, bounce, oh damn my glasses broke, head, oww again.
The thoughts flowed quickly: Did anyone see? No. Phew. Hmm head hit ground, sit up slowly, fainting would be really embarrassing. *puts hand to head* Right, get up before anyone finds you here. *lowers hand to floor to get up, discovers it covered in blood* Ohhhh bugger, bleeding head injury *notes that smashed glases frame has stabbed me* The smart woman wouldn't sneak home alone with that. Better wait for help *sits on frozen pavement for a minute looking vaguely around for passers by, none come* Okay. Seek help. Newsagents? Nope, they are really grumpy in there and I have no idea if they follow a religion which may find a bleeding woman offensive. Greggs? No. I saw a programme where they had to throw away all the stock because a pigeon flew in. I don't want to contaminate the pasties! SCOTMID! Yes. My saviours.
So I staggered off to Scotmid. I politely requested use of their first aid kit and tried not to drip blood on the counter. The startled girl handed me handfuls of big industrial blue tissue, panicked a bit about the blood covering one side of my face and watched me try to turn off my running app as it chirped at me with distances and speeds. In a moment of under estimation she asked her colleague for a plaster, then tried to look at the wound without scaring me and pointed out the doctors surgery had just opened one street away.
Yep. In a minor medical emergency I thought of Scotmid over the Doctors! Both my parents work in a hospital and my sister is a GP, so I should be aware that medical institutions exist! But, you know, shop assistants are really the ones to go to for first aid! It seems that when you add a wee bit of adrenaline my logic functioning fails!
So there I was, mortified at having had to ask for help, plodding off to the Dr's with my tail between my legs. The desire for control and sense of responsibility kicked back in as the cold air hit my face. In the short walk to the surgery I called my boss and the colleague I was meeting that morning to apologise for my potential tardiness. Looking back I probably could have waited to wash the blood off my hands before I made those calls, but in the moment I wanted to be terribly efficient!
It turned out I didn't have concussion but did need to be stuck or stitched back together. The Dr was concerned that I'd worry about a scar on my face. I was more relieved that I was allowed to drive myself to the hospital.
You see, with the lone living lifestyle, comes the problem of who to call in an emergency, and what level of emergency warrants calling anyone at all. My preferred next of kin is a good 350 miles away and thus not good for everyday mini traumas.
Thus, having declared myself barely injured, when my dear boss suggested I take the day off to recover, I argued myself back to work. Yes. Looking back this was sillier than the Scotmid decision. I am not a brain surgeon or international peace keeper, the world won't stop if Im away from work for a day.
But as I said. Independence is a fragile thing and I was clinging to mine.
And I had to accept help left, right and centre.
My colleagues covered for me at work, both my absences and reduced performance. Avoiding heat, cold, lifting and laughing significantly reduced my productivity, although I did provide amusement by clutching my chest and squealing every time I coughed.
When I couldn't keep pace my running club my clubmate stayed back with me and chatted cheerfully to keep me going.
Having prearranged a weekend in Yorkshire, running with friends, I stubbornly stuck to the schedule and went anyway. After making demands for carbohydrates I was given warm cake on arrival late in the evening. After the run on Saturday an increasing variety of ailments led me back into my pyjamas. They gave me prescription strength painkillers and I fell asleep on their sofa clutching a hot water bottle. Then I took a bath. After more demands they took me out for chips later.
I don't know if Debretts ettiquette covers this but I'm pretty sure that's not good guest behaviour. Staying concious is guest rule 1. Not bathing mid day must be in the top 10.
However, having friends who you can be that crap in front of, without complete embarrassment, is something of an achievement in my eyes.
And trying to train for a marathon, which is tiring.
And fundraise for a marathon, which, it turns out, is more tiring.
And moaning about it.
A lot as it turns out.
Bla, bla, me, me, me. That's the short, interesting version of my recent correspondance.
I guess I'd got used to people being kind. I guess I'd started to take it for granted. I know I'm a pretty selfish person.
So I whined endlessly. Until a good friend called me on it.
I had, what can only be described as a tantrum, when my car battery went flat twice in a week.
Because I'd left my lights on.
In a week.
Which I now see was very much my fault. (added to Scotmid and insisting on working, my rationality should probably be questioned) But at the time led me to yet another round of what I'll call "Woe is Zo". Where I moan but am too grumpy to accept the advice and help given.
And so a bit of straight talking was directed my way. And the suggestion made that when I want to vent I should write it down and throw it away.
Obviously I'm far too independent to take that advice completely. I am a smug, self centred wee soul you'll remember. But blogging my woes, and admitting how pathetically tiny they are is a step in the right direction.
So thanks if you've been brilliant.
Or if you've told me to stop being a dick.
And if you want a long and happy life I'd suggest a big dollop of independence with a healthly swirl of people who will pick you up when you're down or point out that you're not down at all
x x x x x