Sixteen to sixtyish takes less time than you think

When I was sixteen, I had a boyfriend with a motorcycle — a Norton 650SS. It was a fast machine and I used to cling onto the back as Bad Boy Boyfriend accelerated along the straight and cranked it over into the turns.

One day, inevitably, the bike flipped on some loose gravel and I went the other way. I came to on the ground with an oddly bent right leg. A passing nurse splinted it with her umbrella and I was carted off to hospital in an ambulance.

I had broken both bones below the knee and there were several loose fragments. Today, I suspect, I would have had an operation to tidy things up a bit more. But this was a long time ago. The bones were reset twice and then the surgeon decided it was good enough. I spent the next six months in plaster. The first cast was up to the top of my thigh.

Imagine the calendar flipping over and pages blowing away … Years and decades pass.

Now all those years of use, and probably that long-ago damage, have combined to make my right knee a problem. I have minimal or no cartilage, depending on which specialist you listen to. I will have to have a knee replacement soon or maybe not for a while, again depending on the source. I definitely can’t walk downhill much any more.

I attended an arthritis assessment clinic recently. After I had got over the shock of the large-print letter reminding me to bring ALL my prescription medications with me and to wear my “normal comfortable walking shoes” (what?!) and the shock of the clinic’s location (Google Maps told me it was between the Seniors’ Activity Centre and the Lifestyle Retirement Communities), I found it was actually helpful and the staff were not patronizing.

But, oh dear. Where did the years go? Only yesterday I was a motorcycle mama and now I am, if not actually a grandmama, well and truly old enough to be one.

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3 thoughts on “Sixteen to sixtyish takes less time than you think

  1. When I was 14, sweet red-haired boy came on his dad’s scooter and asked to take me for a ride. The glamour of it! As he was negotiating traffic in wobbly indecision he banged into the side of a car. Correction, my knee banged into car, thus preserving his father’s scooter from damage. This was a Good Thing for him as his father had not given him permission to take the scooter. Similarly, I had not sought permission to take off for a jaunt with a Boy on the back of a Machine. This meant I could not go home and complain of bruised and painful knee. No nurse with umbrella for me but several days of surreptitious limping and whimpering but no lasting damage. But I do, I feel your pain. F

  2. Oh, and I thought I was the only one riding without parental permission behind a Bad Bay on a motorcycle and falling off. I tore the skin off both shins and of course wasn’t able to ask for any maternal sympathy or even first-aid advice…

  3. Maybe we need a support group — Women Who Used to Love Bad Boys and Two-Wheeled Vehicles. (I will work on a more pronounceable acronym.)

    Theresa: Finola is now a two-wheeled vehicles addict in her own right, so to speak, in that she rides a scooter. She waxes eloquent about the freedom, being one with the vehicle, and the pleasure of being able to experience the world through all one’s senses. To date, no damage to shins is noticeable.

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