Elbow Grease!

Holidays can be more trouble than they are bloody worth I say. I’ve come back from mine suffering from the Benidorm bark, a persistent cough, normally suffered by ageing revellers and saga louts, whiplash and what’s commonly known as ‘Tennis Elbow’ – or maybe that should be renamed ‘Ryan Air Elbow,’ caused by trying to lift heavy hand baggage into the overhead lockers.

The holiday, if that’s what you could call it, was fraught with danger from start to finish and included being attacked by and fending off highly infectious foreign bugs; hurricane like winds accompanied by torrential rain and terrifying electrical storms and ending with a car accident on the way to the airport.

In in all fairness, aside from the treacherous road conditions, this was probably caused by the purchase of some new boots from cheap boot shop en route and my friend’s foot slipping on the clutch – and we were laughing (your honour) fit to bust at the time. That’s when the old Spanish woman ploughed straight into the back of us with a shattering of headlights and the crumpling of her bonnet – as in front and not the one she was wearing at the time.

“Lie to the police,” my friend begged as we waited at the roadside with slow moving traffic giving us dirty looks and hurling abuse (as only the Spanish can) out of their windows for holding them up.

“Don’t need to lie, was obviously silly old bat’s fault for being less than two chevrons,” I told her.

“Chevrons?” questioned my friend, who took her driving test many moons ago and in all likelihood was still a bit drunk from the night before. Think she thought a chevron was something similar to a cognac. “You talk to silly old bat, your Spanish better than mine,” she pushed me in direction of silly old bat in question, who was furiously jabbering in Spanish into her mobile.

“Yo calling policia,” she waved mobile at me.

“Can’t me and ‘yo’ just exchange phone numbers and number plates,” I wheedled, “am on way to airport and will miss plane,” at least that’s what I think I said, but with my Spanish you never know.

Stood at the side of rain swept road waiting for policia to come, umbrella blown inside out like some sort of bedraggled Mary Poppins. Anyone who has had dealings with the Spanish Policia will know that they are not known for rushing or being sympathetic, especially to blonde Hingleesh women driving four wheeled drives.

“Por favor hofficer, am on way to aeropuerto and will miss avion,” I smile sweetly. But did hofficer care? Not a jot.

Would have missed plane as predicted, but pesky French at it again, not letting anyone fly over their airspace, so fortunately plane delayed. By the time flight was called for boarding the weather had deteriorated to point where we were all nearly blown off steps, clothes soaked, hair plastered to heads – Ryan Hair! Horrible dog like smell of people drying out as we sat crammed in plane waiting for French to give us a slot. Filthy tempered Ryan Hair hostess, from who knows where, telling us if we didn’t shut up and listen to safety instructions, in the unlikely event of plane landing on water (or even taking off in water on flooded airfield) captain would not take off, passengers would be thrown off, baggage unloaded etc.

Someone at the back end of plane tittered.

“I have varned you already,” she hissed through slit of painted lips, “zat if you don’t shut up ziz plane vill not take hoff.”

Didn’t think there was much chance of that anyway to be frank, considering extreme weather conditions – but somehow it did.

Safely back home, but now suffering from after effects of bug, whiplash and Ryan/tennis elbow. Well, am presuming its tennis (or Ryan) elbow. Elbow very painful, cannot lift arm, drink cup of tea, unfasten bra etc. What else could it be? Please not arthritis setting in, or bone problems caused by HIV meds – know am short of vitamin D like many people on medication.

Looked up symptoms on internet, symptoms same as tennis elbow (have never played tennis in entire life) but could also be RSI repetitive strain injury. Now what do I do that is repetitive, apart from possibly repeating myself as befits a lady of my advanced years? Paint, although haven’t been doing much of that lately. Drink lots of cups of tea of course, too many probably, which involves the lifting of heavy goods i.e. beakers. Tap tap tapping on computer and much mouse clicking. Resting heavy head in hand in despair supported by ageing elbow thinking how to clear credit card debts, and – oh no, sad but true, smoking. How many times a day do I raise disgusting fag to lips to inhale calming camel or click cigarette lighter? Even that needs muscles and the flexing of tendons.

That’s what I’ve got – smoking elbow. Sounds like a seamy club, “The Smokin’ Elbow,” or country and western group.

Change habits suggests internet. Oh dear, all my favourite habits in one fell swoop and can last for months say other people who have suffered from same complaint. Will have to drink tea out of delicate china ‘I’m a lady’ cup with raised little finger, but at the moment impossible as that would be finger gymnastics beyond my reduced capabilities.

As if all that wasn’t enough, arrived home to be confronted by yet more water problems, am really starting to become totally averse to water and all its associated components. The head dropped off my sprinkler tap in the kitchen. Tried to fix it with masking tape and wonder putty, but heavy head (bit like mine) too heavy and dropped off again. Now water spurts over side of sink, so get soaked every time I wash up or try to fill kettle. Looked up price of new taps on th‘internet. Why stupid taps so expensive? No way can afford them so will have to live with broken tap for now, along with smoking elbow.

What can I do that doesn’t involve an arm, an elbow or water?

As person living with HIV I am used to being given the elbow, but not living without one.

Suggestions anyone?


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