Someone I really miss in my life is an ICE contact.
We’re encouraged by emergency services and phone companies to enter a contact number into our mobile phone under the acronym ICE (In Case of Emergency).
Today I was running for the tram wearing wide black trousers with a 3cm cuff, and black suede shoes with a 3cm heel. Heel and cuff tangled, bringing me to my knees. I picked myself up and dusted myself off and jumped onto the next tram. No Emergency. All was well until about six hours later , after walking about 2km out to lunch and back. My foot started throbbing, I slipped one shoe off. The pain ran up my calf and down again. I hurt, and put the shoe on again concerned I might not be able to put it back on if my foot swelled more.
I thought I could sit out the afternoon, but the pain was building. Solid relentless pain. I decided to make a run for it and hobble home. I changed into my running shoes, the heels were impossible, and I went as fast as I could caper, a halting hobble. I’m Hans Christian Anderson’s mermaid who feels the pain of a thousand daggers every time she takes a step. I sink into the pain breathing heavily, holding back tears heading home one step at a time and wondering why I don’t have an ICE contact for times like this. Right now I can’t think of anyone who could drop everything and tear into the city to scoop me into a rescue carriage.
On the tram there are no seats, but an elderly man stands for me. I am so relieved ,hot tears of pain are so close, I can’t quite speak. When words of thanks and appreciation do tumble out but he’s not listening. I am not keeping it together, I have to get home.
From the tram stop to my house is two blocks, I take one agonising step at a time, like a faltering bridal aisle walk. At home I struggle to take my shoe off the good foot because it means putting weight on the bad foot, which has morphed into a screaming bad leg. Excruciating and can’t help thinking that if I were tortured with physical pain I would fold, I’d admit everything, sign anything. It’s close to unbearable.
This is where my ICE person would reassure me, tell me how brave I am, ply me with chocolate and concern. On my own and shaking I turn up the heater and fall into bed clasping an ice (from the freezer ice) pack. Thankfully I sleep and on waking two hours later there’s no pain until I stand. It’s bearably better.
I need to strap up the foot, tomorrow I’ll try to buy a pressure bandage. I’m attending a three day workshop interstate. I can get there packing, the airport, the carpark, the plane. Not today, I can do it tomorrow. I’m strong, no stronger than I need to be.
I could use a piece of chocolate.