The results are in. The votes have been counted. And Drs Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway have taken to the stage to deliver their diagnosis. My ultrasound scan has revealed a rupture in my right nostril. Wait. Hold your applause and audible gasps, because I’m just hearing that a cataclysmic blunder has resulted in Beatty and Dunaway being given the wrong patient’s notes. In actual fact, it’s my Achilles tendon. This isn’t a joke. I have ruptured my Achilles tendon.
Subsequently, I’m going under the knife tomorrow and if all goes well I’ll be in a comically large recovery boot for 8-12 weeks. Still, it could be worse. I could have to walk a mile in my wife’s shoes. No, this isn’t a gag about the number of high heels she purchases. It’s an acknowledgement that while I’m recovering on the sofa with my social media apps and a few box sets, she’s going to be flapping around trying to keep the house tidy, cook the meals, impress in her job and control a 13-month-old whose newest hobbies are: bundling over the bin and attempting to swallow dive off the side table.
“It’ll be fine, I’ll get loads of help from parents,” she insists. Even though I know this is true, I can’t shake the waves of guilt that are washing over me. Things might be different if I worked for a big corporate behemoth and had a chunky benefits package that included sick pay, private healthcare and so on. But I don’t. I am employed by Stuart Hood Limited, a one-man journalistic band struggling to stay afloat in a world on free content, magazine closures and false news. If I work hard, then I can make a decent living. If I spend two months injured on the sofa, then I cannot. And when you add this financial shortcoming to the physical limitations of my ailment I begin to question what I’m going to be bringing to the family table over the next couple of months.
Stop. Right. There. I didn’t write the above because I want your sympathy or expect you to crowdfund a ‘SAVE FATHER HOOD’S GAMMY LEG’ campaign (although if you fancy starting one…). I wrote it because it is true. I really have spent the last few hours questioning what I am going to be bringing to the family table over the next couple of months and, aside from some TLC, the odd curry and a lorry load of dad jokes, I can’t come up with very much. Which begs the question: what can I learn from this situation to ensure it doesn’t happen again in the future?
And the answer is…
If an Achilles injury is going to happen, it’s going to happen, so there is not much I can do about that. But there is no doubt that I have let my all-round fitness slide over the past six months. Thus, when rehab begins, getting back into peak physical condition (or as near to peak as you can be when you’re 36, Scottish and drink at least one Lucozade a day) is my big priority.
I’ve been messing around on this front for a while – half trying to keep my freelance journalism work ticking over and half trying to use my savings to make this blog a success. I always knew this was indulgent, but until my injury I never truly realised how much impact my indulgence could have on my family. Now, I know the answer is mega mega loads loads and it’s led me to make the following decision.
For the next two months, I am going to go hammer and tongs at this blog in the hope that I can attract as many followers as possible. Then, when I’m fit enough to get back on my feet, in addition to the work I do on the blog I am going to: a) seek longer-term freelance contracts, b) save a chunk of ‘sick pay’ each month and c) sign up for shifts in offices, so I know that I am always earning a certain weekly wage.
And if this masterplan doesn’t work? Then maybe it’s time I… sorry, I can’t bring myself to say it. Just do it, man. Okay, okay. Maybe it’s time I… ah, this is agony. Sorry. Compose. Compose. Breathe. Maybe it’s time I… applied for a few desk jobs. Really? Yes, really. I don’t want to work full-time, but a parent’s got to do what a parent’s got to do. And if a desk job is what it takes to support my family, then take a gander at my C.V. because I am officially ‘on the market’.