OPINION: A series of unfortunate accidents

Cooking dinner was too obvious, so I did a more careful check and discovered that I had failed to turn off the gas burner. Picture: MYVEGA.CA

I know there may be mixed reactions to the recent easing of restrictions on Viti Levu, but I can’t deny that spirits have been lighter down in Darkest Flagstaff. They were positively beaming at me over the video chats these days, and they’ve even started changing out of their pyjamas sometimes.

It seems that just the idea that you can hit the road makes the homeschooling life that much more bearable. Here in Sydney, where I am currently, there are wild rumours abroad about the imminent lifting of some lockdown restrictions, plus harsher restrictions being considered for places where I am thankfully not.

I’ve been so long under what is almost house arrest. I’ve grown to dislike the idea of going outside at all, really. I’m not in good shape to be seen anyway, all the hairdressers and barbers having compulsorily shut up shop months ago. I still don’t have a lot of hair. It’s just that the pathetic thatch that exists has become longer. No longer content with just hanging somewhat neatly around my head, it pokes out in all directions. I have all the appearance of an advanced case of repetitive haystack sleeping.

Putting it mildly, it is probably better if I just stay inside. Then I can’t frighten small dogs and little children. Old people don’t worry much, they know how such things develop with age and strange illnesses. Some of the things people are diagnosed with now make me wonder if the doc pops out and rings some specialist medical centre while the patient sits in the surgery.

She then pops back to give you a condition that appears to be unpronounceable and certainly unspellable. You then get a prescription for magic medicine that is either unavailable or unaffordable.

I’m speaking in general out of lockdown grumpiness. Most doctors, both here and in Fiji are good people and try to do their best in the most trying circumstances the world has faced since the Black Plague. Older persons are generally more susceptible to weird complaints and conditions, as well as unfortunate accidents.

I have had a trying week or so which I feel would be a relief to share. Fairly early in the piece, I took a tumble in the kitchen. Wasn’t climbing up on anything or reaching for a heavy object on a top shelf or something like that. No, I was properly stamping firmly on a used plastic container of the sort that they tell you should be flattened and placed in the recycle rubbish bin. Behaving myself, doing nothing untoward. Suddenly, my foot shot out from under me, skidding on the plastic container.

Nothing to hold on to anywhere near, I just hurtled over backwards and landed four square my full length on the very hard tiles. Worse, my head didn’t quite fit on the floor, so it bashed against the cupboard under the sink. My current staunch carer, my younger daughter known as Cuddles the Thug, rushed in and said: “You’ve fallen over.”

This was not news to me. She made motions like she was going to help me stand up, but having experienced that sort of assistance from her previously, I sternly told her to stand off until I was ready to be helped. She helped herself to a cup of tea, stepping carefully around me. I’ll give her that. Finally, I was up and she was able to examine the alarmingly large lump on my head. Mostly by poking at it, which is probably not recommended by the Red Cross or World Health Organisation.

However, I survived and ultimately got another bump in almost exactly the same spot when I fell out of bed. Not exactly out of bed. Cuddles was apparently attempting to get me into bed under the impression I had partaken of wine. Quite a lot of it, apparently. I deny everything. Or at any rate, I deny that there was enough wine at play to cause a fall. What actually happened was that I was attempting to take off my Ugg boots (it’s still horridly cold and wintery in Sydney).

I ended up on the floor jammed between my bed and bookcase, with a small nightstand in the mix somewhere. Don’t know where my boots ended up. There was a lot of screaming for help and a visitor kindly averted his eyes as they hauled on my arms, apparently while Cuddles sat on my leg. All I can tell you is that I look like a definite case of elder abuse, with nasty purple bruising up both arms. One of the most recent mishaps involved cooking.

The kitchen is known as a dangerous place to hang about in and I have scars and missing bits on my hands to prove the hazards of using knives. Fire is always an ever-present danger, but I had finished with the pot roast and done with boiling the kumala before I needed to make a quick visit to the bathroom.

I left the kumala draining in the white plastic strainer, balanced on the open top of the saucepan. When I came back a mere millisecond later I found an alarmed Cuddles flapping her arms wildly and positively screaming: “What do you think you are doing?” Cooking dinner was too obvious, so I did a more careful check and discovered that I had failed to turn off the gas burner beneath the saucepan into which the plastic strainer was now rapidly melting.

The kumala had fallen through the disintegrated bottom of the strainer and was now just a lot of black stuff flavoured with gooey white plastic.

Needless to say, Cuddles is now going out to dinner at the home of a ‘bubble’ friend (a person who lives alone who is allowed to see one other person for reasons of mental health). I’ve been warned not to touch the stove or the toaster or any other electric appliance in her absence. So it looks like a peanut butter sandwiches again for me.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s and not necessarily of this newspaper

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