Reluctant as I am to put anyone off trying sensible remedies for minor ailments, I admit this can result in doing more harm than good.
Very recently when, due to a frantic flurry of tidying, chucking out and cleaning, I sustained the classic Bad Back. It’s always a crass idea to attempt in one fell swoop a complex task that should ideally be attempted interspersed with cycle rides, over several weekends.
I have two remedies for the dodgy back – the floor-based embryonic curl and some gentle Yoga exercises. I was going well with the downward-facing dog when I paws’d for thought and segued smoothly into a sunrise salutation. I was mid-salutation when something went ‘tweak’ in my right thigh which then caused more decrepitness than the Bad Back. Sigh.
It’s nearly gone now and it hasn’t been half as embarrassing as the aftermath of crashing on my bike in the Forest of Dean. The degree of pain was unexpectedly crippling but I knew roughly what to do with an injury … RICE! Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Ibuprofen first then a good long rest on the sofa with leg up and something theraputically cold around the knee. What, I thought, could possibly be better than the champagne bottle wrap which sits in the freezer ready for champagne emergencies?
I lay for some time with my pain, my iced knee and some old Tour de France footage on the TV. But when I unwrapped the knee to take a look, it had gone a bit funny. A 4 x 2″ patch of skin had gone out of commission. It was completely numb yellow, as though a block of beeswax had been transplanted into the top of my knee.
At that point, I thought maybe I should limp into A&E and tell them I was in agony because somehow, I’d overcooked the RICE and got a touch of frost-bite. Several x-rays and an examination later, they let me lurch away with my sprained ligaments and a box full of really good painkillers.
The crash was caused by a dangerous combo of speed, a bend and the Wrong Sort of Acorns. Doing things in a rush is never recommended. Like the time I was dashing off out somewhere and thought I should have a Vitamin C tablet (they definitely prevent colds taking hold, I don’t care what anyone says) before going.
I got a new pack out, chucked a tablet down with some water and, just like a cartoon, went GULP. I tried another GULP but the tablet wasn’t going anywhere. It was completely blocking my oesophagus, being a round type of Vit C tablet which was precisely the size of my oesophagus. It was supposed to fizz in water so it was only fizzing very very slowly in my gullet. Drinking water was no good – there was nowhere for it to go. Forget the frog in the throat – I felt like a python with a small goat down there.
Being alone and unable to speak, I thought i might have to give myself the Heimlich manoeuver. The theory is – and I haven’t practised this yet but I probably ought to in view of my history – that you run up to a dining chair and throw yourself over the back of it. It is alleged that this will dislodge the unwanted foreign body.
But actually would you rush at it and throw yourself over? Or would you rush at it rather like the long-jump at school, and then suddenly think ‘That is an unfeasibly long way to the sand pit” and simultaneously “Oooh no, this might hurt” and instead of launching yourself into the air, merely stop dead.
The brain does very effectively stop you from embarking on foolhardy things and I suspect the same might happen if I attempted a DIY Heimlich. I’d probably stop slightly short of the throwing bit with my subconscious screaming “Mind your spleen!” and spoil the whole effect.
Come to think of it, this kind of massive cock-up with homely remedies is probably familial.
Dad would tell you the story of the time he had a boil on his neck and mater decided to administer a homely remedy – a hot bread poultice. Bread is so wonderfully versatile – food, fishing bait, an eraser AND a medication!
Actually she was a bit too free with the heat and created a first degree burn. He couldn’t wear a collared shirt for a month and carried the scar for the rest of his life so that just shows all this ineptitude is probably in my genes. Thanks folks.
So I suppose the lesson is just actually just be sensible about homely remedies and always read the instructions before taking anything or applying to your body something that isn’t normally applied to your body.
Don’t do anything in a rush. If your Vitamin C tablet looks weirdly big, it probably isn’t meant to be swallowed whole. You’re welcome.