Putting the tin hat on things...

Well it was a long long lockdown and things were beginning to open up and get back to some sort of normality when things went horribly wrong. I had the paper ready for editioning a new print and was looking forward to being productive in the studio. On the garden front, Marcus and I were halfway through creating a new patio “room”. On Wednesday Marcus had gone to Kinsale to do some work and I thought I’d tidy up and plant a few things around the patio as a surprise for him when he returned.


As I removed a broken lantern, I tripped, putting my left hand out to save myself. I landed on a paving stone and knew that I’d done damage to my wrist as the pain was so intense. But nothing looked out of place.

At this stage I had to make a big decision, go to A & E, possibly staying for many hours and miss a planned trip to meet Marcus for our long-awaited date night in Kinsale; or, wait and see if pain subsided and go with the original plan. Of course I would consult Dr Google before making any rash decisions. Apparently it’s quite difficult sometimes to tell the difference between a sprain and a broken wrist. Well that was the only thing I needed to hear...

As I looked a complete mess, no matter what decision I plumped for, I’d need to clean myself up. I soaked in a bath complete with Epsom salts and bubble stuff. After this, I lashed on lots and lots of a new moisturiser I’d bought before lockdown. After a glass of white wine everything was much clearer, I was going with Dr G’s sprained wrist diagnosis and with our Kinsale plan. No need to tell Marcus anything.

I’d quite a good night’s sleep and next morning my wrist didn’t look much different, so I was glad I hadn’t pressed the nuclear option and gone to hospital. I fed the cats and made my way to Heuston Station. It was only when I got my seat that I spotted that my arms looked very peculiar.

The skin had a swirly sort of pattern on it. Jesus, what on earth was wrong with me? Looking southwards I could see my legs seemed to be suffering the same affliction. It wasn’t itchy, but it was most pronounced on my ankles. And then I realised as I looked at my hands....that new moisturiser that I’d slathered all over after my bath was in fact.....FAKE TAN! The palms of my hands looked like something from the H Block Dirty Protests. Absolutely vile! Why, oh why hadn’t I put on my glasses in the shop when I bought it???

Well, I can only say that Marcus just knew there was something wrong when he met me at the station. He said that I looked in pain, and I was. But it was not with my wrist. It was from the embarrassment of people staring quizzically at me / avoiding me like I’d the plague for the 3 hour trip of shame I’d just endured.

So occupied I’d been with the trip of mortification, I hadn’t noticed that my fingers and wrist were beginning to swell up and now I had to confess my other “trip”. But as the pain wasn’t bad, Marcus “no sympathy” Casey concurred with Dr G that it was probably a bad sprain.

Saturday morning brought the realisation that maybe things were a little more serious, as my apparently poo-smeared fingers now resembled Cumberland sausages and my wrist was the same width as my arm.

We drove back to Dublin and headed for the Swiftcare Clinic after I’d phoned them and told them my sorry tale. The moment the doctor saw my hand she knew it was a break. I put my tuppence worth in asking could it be just a sprain, but she said no. As I looked at my absolutely revoltingly stained hands I couldn’t begin to tell her what all that was about. The X-ray confirmed it, I’d broken my radius.

Forty minutes later I emerged with my arm in plaster, mercifully hiding the offending brown palm. In the days since my skin has returned to normal with the help of some scrubbing. But I am dreading meeting with the orthopaedic specialist in two weeks time when that hand will be revealed again in all its tanned glory.

As for my work, this, after the lockdown, has certainly put the tin hat on things!