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.