So there I was, waiting, waiting, waiting on the border between Togo and Ghana, some trifling piece of paperwork was not quite right and we were waiting in our vehicles in the 42°C heat. No joke I tell you when the tempers are a bit short anyway. So I decide to get out and have a bit of diary time under a tree, a bit down off the road and away from the confines of the car. This involved hopping down from the road, a drop of about a metre onto a slight incline. Down I went, landed a little awkwardly because the landing surface was a little inclined, but no problems. No pain. Sat under my tree and curmudgeoned away while the sun beat down and petty officials finnicked* over a scrap of officialdom.
Time passed and it was time to get back in the vehicle to be sent to some other distant office to stamp some unstamped scrap of paper and to dish out backsheesh to one of the local constabulary. Grease the cogs as it were. Off we went, feeling a slight irritation of the foot but nothing much. Visited the distant office, got stamped, greased the locals, back in the car. My foot was beginning to thrum at this stage, but not in the rhythmic sense. More than an irritation, less than a pain. Eventually crossed the border into Ghana and by now the foot was beyond the pain/thrum threshold, it was full on sore.
We reached our destination in Ghana by and by, whereupon we were to get out of the car. At this stage the foot had transcended the sore and entered into the realm of throbbing and was a lot swollen too. I hadn’t associated the discomfort with my ungraceful landing onto the incline. Sudden onset gout I ask myself? (A bit like Henry VIII my sister was quick to point out, too much of the good life or too many wives!) But no it couldn’t be gout, I only have the one wife and I don’t drink that much. Well … not really. Anyway, the foot, I couldn’t put the blighter to the floor, really I couldn’t. Too sore to step. Feck!
Luckily for me I was travelling in the company of Dorothy Smith, who I’ve known forever, who also happens to be an ardent homeopathist. She was packing a full kit, as it were and she plied me with non-lethal doses of homeopathic stuff to help with the stress and soreness. She’s great Dorothy is. The foot wasn’t quite ballooning at this stage but was righteously swollen. I suppose all sorts of scenarios were going through my heat-addled mind at this stage – had I not noticed a snake-bite? Had some foul parasite entered into me and laid millions of eggs?
It was only later that it occurred that it might have been the ungraceful (disgraceful?) landing in Togo. Laid up the following day in the hotel, unable to move too far or too quickly, so I read a biography of Maradona to get myself in the mood for the World Cup. A few days after that and I travelled back to Dublin and went straight to the medics for x-ray and diagnosis. I was told by one Dr that there was a slight chip in the first metatarsal and by the Radiologist that there wasn’t.
I believed the Radiologist.
My foot is much on the mend after two weeks and I’m walking mostly without a limp. I still have just the one wife and life is pretty good, but not in the sense of the good life (Henry VIII) if you know what I mean. No?
*I worked with someone whose name was an anagram of finicky freak. Honestly I did. She was.