Home is where the hurt is

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INJURIES we suffer are invariably caused by stupidity, negligence or sheer bad luck.

And dozens of reports published by accident and emergency departments across the globe indicate that people are more likely to be hurt in their homes than in any other location.

Kitchens and bathrooms are particularly dangerous. Think slippery wet floors, sharp knives, boiling pots and lots of pointy things.

I’ve never been able to decide whether it was stupidity, negligence, bad luck or a combination of all three that resulted in an English vicar getting a potato jammed up his rear.

Reports at the time – this was back in 2008 – revealed he was admitted to a Sheffield A&E department.

The man, in his 50’s, explained to incredulous staff that, while naked, he was hanging curtains in his kitchen when he toppled backwards and landed on the vegetable.

I certainly know that bad luck caused the bumps and bruises I sustained last week when I had my legs knocked out from under me by an unopened six-litre bottle of water.

I was doing some washing up in the kitchen when I heard an almighty bang, and was sent sprawling.

It took me a few seconds to realise that a ferocious gust of wind had blown open the utility room door.

This in turn propelled the bottle into the back of my knees, and I came crashing down onto the tiled floor.

I could well have become another A&E statistic, but luckily I got away with just a lump on the forehead and two aching legs.

Sadly, at 71, I don’t bounce as easily as I once did as a youth. I’m fortunate enough to have required A&E attention only twice.

The first was when I sat on a scalpel I was using to cut out some images from a magazine for an arts project.

I laid it down on my sofa, got up to make a cuppa, then – on my return – parked my rear on the thing.

I simply could not believe how much blood came out of my gashed left buttock. Clearly it needed stitches.

When I arrived at the hospital with a towel duct-taped to my derriere, a West Indian nurse asked me what the problem was. “Promise you won’t laugh if I tell you,” I said.

“No mon, I doesn’t laugh at hurt people,” she assured me. So I told her, and she laughed so hard she had to sit down.

Four hours and eight stitches later I was good to go. This, clearly, was a case of stupidity.

The second incident was definitely down to bad luck. I was securing a bag of groceries to the back of my motorcycle when a car reversed into the bike, and it toppled over.

The full weight of it came down on my left ankle, snapping it like a twig. Despite the excruciating pain, I managed to ride my 750cc Honda to the nearest A&E, a distance of around 11 miles, and spent five months in a plaster cast.

Around the same period I was sharing my house in Wembley with a young American doctor who worked at a hospital in central London – so he didn’t have far to go to be treated when he was injured in a fall sustained as he was trying to flee from what he believed was a lynch mob.

The incident occurred when the medic was asked by a nurse to notify a West Indian family that a relative – an elderly woman – had died.

He duly called the woman’s son, who arrived around 4am with a large contingent of heartbroken relatives.

There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Just then, a grumpy old woman shuffled into the melee, demanding to know what all the noise was about.

She was the ‘dead’ patient. One relative shrieked “ghost!” and fainted.

The doc had accidentally been handed the wrong paperwork. Furious family members then advanced on him bellowing threats and waving fists, and in his rush to avoid being beaten to a pulp, he fell down a flight of stairs. Stupidity? Negligence? Bad luck? I’ll leave it to you to decide.

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