But taking a step down on a stationary ship in port to test the strength of my surgically-intervened left Achilles tendon and feeling a sudden pain and weakness across my right knee as it twists to bear the weight… well what can you say about that except, “stupid”.
I am consoled only by the knowledge, dear readers, that we’ve all been there or somewhere like there, and we all can be stupid. Sometimes very stupid.
So, after returning to the cabin briefly and unsuccessfully to try to walk out the injury, I stagger to the bowels of the ship and the medical centre – staffed by a Turkish physician Dr Sami Yüksel (pictured above; his appearance reminds me of my neurosurgeon back in Sydney) and an efficient Filipino nurse.
There is no CT scan on board to look inside the knee, so the diagnosis proceeds by external examination and my own description of what’s occurring – pain, weakness and frustration.
The assessment is either ligament strain, tendon sprain or a meniscus tear – the latter more serious and trip-threatening.
I am asked if I want to go ashore to an Egyptian hospital, but with just 90 minutes until the ship departs and uncertainty about the seriousness of the damage, I say ‘no, let’s give it a few days; if it’s shown no sign of recovery by Haifa, Israel, we’ll get some pictures there’.
The doc says fine, so we’ll hit you with some drugs. A temporary cannula is poked into my right forearm and cortisone and painkiller injected, flushed down by a saline solution with an anti-coagulant for afters to keep the vein open for the next round of the same in about 12 hours.
(The nurse calls me ‘Sir Keith’, which has a pleasant resonance. She must have been reading the Macquarie Office Manual which cites that holders of the PNG Independence Medal are entitled to bear the honorific ‘Sir’, an error I have never bothered to ask them to correct in subsequent editions because I rather like the sound of it.)
Twelve hours later there’s no sign of improvement and I’m getting worried that this is not a trivial injury. I return for the second bout of drugs and lie down to an uncomfortable night’s rest.
But in the wee small hours I detect a diminution of the pain and by morning the knee has strengthened enough to allow me to hobble along without assistance.
I am now well and truly on the mend. It has been a minor strain. Now to do something about my elevated blood pressure.
Sorry the story didn’t live up to the title. By way of recompense, feel free to email me about your own medical conditions.