Not just any old suffering – this is full-blown ‘I’ve broken my right arm – I’m a builder, a builder! – and I’m wallowing‘ kind of suffering.
Add in a lot of cursing and sighing and you get the picture.
We met for coffee before work this morning, as usual; a kind of mini-debrief to go over what I’ve missed as I ‘only’ work part-time.
In the shuffling coffee queue, when I was debating whether or not to have a chocolate twist, I asked him how his arm was. Mistake.
‘Gah. Ah. Ouch. Am in sooooooo much pain.’ He holds his grubby cast up so I could see it. Eww.
‘Have you taken anything?’
‘Taken everything. Nothing touches it. Could you pop two sugars in my coffee and stir it, ta?’
‘How are you feeling, you know, in yourself?’
‘Horrible. Lousy. D’pressed. Can’t do nothing. Have to shower with my arm in a plastic bag. Dropped my fried eggs on the floor last night. Can’t type. Can’t … do nothing. And the nerve pain. Gah. The pain. You wouldn’t understand.’
I let that one go.
‘What did you do with the eggs?’
‘Huh? Oh, I just somehow scooped them back on to the plate, painfully, dusted them off and ate them.’
Later on, in work, we were having our early-afternoon coffee and carrot cake, chatting through the project when he suddenly laughed and said, ‘that’s really weird, it’s like we’re one person’.
Hmm. The boss is a good friend of mine, but I wouldn’t go that far.
‘Yeah, it’s like, I’m invalidated, invalided, whatever it is and so are you, so we’re like half a person each. Half and half is, like, one person, innit? We’re down one whole person. S’funny.’
Well. I waited for him to stop laughing, then stopped myself from replying.
I’ve always said laughter is the best remedy when it comes to coping with life-changing events. I have a laugh in work and I know I’m fortunate enough have a flexible, fun, inspiring job, working with my best friend. He was only responding in the same way I do, joshing at himself. Ok, and me, but you know what I mean.
The owners came over shortly afterwards to have a look around and made the mistake of asking how he was.
He held up his grubby cast. I put my earphones in and got on with work.