My Bridget Jones Day

Yes, another Monday has almost ventured into the night .  The mop bucket stands askew in Clairetrude’s Corner, brimming with soapy water.

While the mop itself is being searched for, I shall tell my tale.  After a weekend divided between clutching my stomach and lying on the sofa (UTI strikes again!) I woke up this morning and realised that I was not actually going to die.  So I put away my “IN THE EVENT OF MY DEATH” box, and took down all the arrows I’d stuck on the wall pointing to Trudy’s food supply.  Being embarrassed is not a good start to the week, so I busily spruced up the lounge to get rid of any lingering “sick room” atmosphere.  Lemongrass oil with a dash of peppermint quickly freshened it up.

The date in my diary did not bode well.  An afternoon appointment with the physiotherapist at my GP Surgery.  It did not help that I could not quite remember why this appointment had been booked.  It was made months ago, when I was experiencing general post-cancer malaise and struggling with my aching body.  I suppose I still ache, but who in the other-side-of-40 group doesn’t?

Fearing the scary receptionist who guards the Surgery, I did not dare to cancel this sought-after appointment.  That’s why just after 1.30pm I was sitting in the waiting room stroking Trudy.  I have an unfortunate habit of stroking Trudy’s head repeatedly when I’m nervous – it’s almost like someone tapping a table with the tip of a biro.  Trudy takes it like a stoical Labrador.  But at the point where I hear the tune of “The Antiques Roadshow” drumming out of my fingers, then I know I have to leave poor Trudy alone and clasp my hands together like a Victorian governess.

Here begins my Bridget Jones experience.  I was expecting the usual – being told to lie on a bed or couch while the physiotherapist prodded my back etc.  Oh if it were that simple!    I had to stand there – upright – dressed only in my vest and knickers.  Yes, you did read that correctly.  There I was, with no blanket or curtain to give me a sense of modesty, just rooted to the spot wondering “Why?”  Even the unsmiling Metal Mama who has featured previously in my Blog, had the sensitivity to screen me from the vastness of the examination room.  I cursed the cheese and onion pastie I’d eaten last Wednesday, and I cursed my brain for being conscious as I wondered which knickers I was actually wearing.  I just stood there and prayed they weren’t the green ones which I’d found in Trudy’s bed last week.   

Even imagining I was a Bridget Jones or Miranda Hart did not help.  I was me, alone with my intense cringing thoughts.  Aware of my bodily imperfections, mindful of my potholes and dimples and just wishing to God that I could get the hell out of that room!  There was no audience to laugh with me or at me, just me and a slightly bemused Trudy standing before a physiotherapist.  I could not see a funny side.  Trudy could, for she was wagging her tail delightedly, dancing round me like a little elf.  No sense of occasion that one.

It did cross my mind to assume a Bridget Jones stance or try Miranda’s ungainly mannerisms.  But I realised how unaccomplished I was.  I could not utilise my asymmetrical, unsightly self  for comedy – not while I was standing there in my vest and knickers.  I could not even muster the right sounds to speak, let alone laugh.  If I was confident I would have refused to obey the orders of the physiotherapist.  Somehow it made it worse that she too was a woman, for she ought to have managed a glimmer of sensitivity.

But here I am sitting cradling my laptop.  The ordeal is over – until my next appointment (if I decide to attend).  Despite the raw embarrassment which makes me groan as I write, I am almost able to  laugh at the  experience (through somewhat gritted teeth).  I never expected to reinvent the baneful PE lessons of my youth (remember the navy blue knickers and gym shirts?) in a physiotherapist’s room in 2012!

Once again I find myself marvelling at Trudy and her total lack of inhibitions.  That really is true freedom, having no sense of bodily shame or embarrassment.  (Just to reassure those who know Trudy’s habits, I’m not about to lie sprawled out on the floor with my legs akimbo – that’s a Labrador’s prerogative!).

The mop has now been located, the bucket has been fetched, and Clairetrude’s Corner is closed for the night while cleaning is in progress.