• Dan Cardwell

Patience: Zero/The Bone Corrector

Updated: Feb 12, 2020

Have you ever seen The Bone Collector? Denzel Washington is a cop on the trail of a serial killer when disaster strikes, and he ends up paralysed. Years later, naive rookie Angelina Jolie stumbles onto the case and thinks the killer is back, so enlists old layabout Denzel, who spends all day in bed, to help. So, he gets this big desk that goes across his bed and has all these whizz-bang computers that help him help her catch the baddie.

Since I got home I've been similarly bed bound, so I asked the wife to pop out and get me one of those desks. So, now I’m hoping to become just like Denzel. I mean, so far, instead of catching serial killers, I’m trying to write scripts no-one is interested in. And, my computer is on credit. And Denzel probably didn’t get his desk from the middle aisle of Aldi.

But a desk is a desk, right? I think it would be wrong that being on a budget stops you rising through the ranks of the police force.

Even if that's not possible, you would think, as a writer who rarely finds time to write, this would be the perfect opportunity for me to crack on and get things done . I mean, currently, I have a book to finish, a live show to write and a film script to complete. And, as all I can do at the moment is lay about, you’d think I would use the time productively. But, the problem with being productive (what with the having to sit up on the bed and type on the still-paying-it-off-for-years mac that rests on my Denzel desk) is that it really gets in the way of my laying around.

If I’m honest, I think it’s the pain that’s making it hard for me to concentrate on one thing for too long. I mean, I have the same problem when I’m not in pain, but if there’s an excuse going, I’ll take it.

As it happens, I think lying around doing nothing is one of the few things in the world I'm genuinely great at. But I think when you are stuck in one or two positions all day, in the same bed, without option for change, it does start getting to you. I don’t feel like I have an appetite for much food but feel in constant need of eating sugary snackeries, so my stomach is really bulging to the point of bursting. I can’t really be bothered to shave so for the first time in my life I’m close to full beard. And, as it’s hard for me to get any clothes on, the best I can do is lay around in baggy t’s and even baggier trackie bottoms, like some middle-aged American schlub. I’m basically turning into Ben Affleck, in between films and in the midsts of a difficult 2nd divorce. But without the advantage of starting off looking like Ben Affleck.

One day I’ll look back on this and realise that I shouldn’t have wasted all this time and should have got things written, projects underway, content complete. But at the moment I’m firmly stuck in the mire of my own self-pity. Not helped when I got to finally see the fracture consultant this week.

After the 30 mins either side it took to get in and out of the car, the appointment with the doc turned out to be very informative. When I left the ward, I was told I had to keep doing my exercises, partially weight bare on the affected leg, move about as much as possible and really drive through the pain barrier to keep my recovery on track. And I have to tell you, there has been a lot of pain to drive through. I'm not greatly enthusiastic about exercise at the best of times, so when you add pain from a bonafide injury that any exercise exacerbates for hours after, you can imagine how delighted I am at the idea. When I asked to the consultant how much pain I should exactly be driving through, as currently traffic was at a standstill with all the pain on the road, he said, and I’m quoting here – “What the hell are you talking about?”

I explained to him my instructions from the physio and he said “NO! NO WAY! With an injury as bad as yours you need almost complete rest for weeks before you start that. And absolutely no weight on it at all!” You always hope that the people in charge of correcting your bones will be on top of these sorts of details, but I guess you can’t blame them for not really paying attention. They were only talking about me walking again.

I don’t blame the physios too much. Those NHS staff (Gawd Bless ‘em) are under a lot of strain these days (not sarcasm) and conjecture tells me they looked at the top of my chart or file or whatever, saw it was a slip, saw the injury and cracked on.

Whilst a femur break is always a serious-ish injury, a slip normally means a clean break, insert a metal rod, connect it up to the old bone, and off we crack on getting you moving again. Except, it turns out, I’m like some kid from the 40s with Ricketts or something. There was a break, but my bone also shattered to boot (too many fractures to count was how the doc described it), so, whilst they did insert a metal rod and connect it to a bone, that bone is more like a shard or a slither. A glimpse of goods rather than the full monty. In a turn of events that for me I would describe as entirely typical, I had a little slip and got injured like I’d been in a car accident.

So, I have to pretty much stay in bed for at least 2 weeks, resting, whilst the body regenerates around my new implants. I’m a cyborg. The Six Million Dollar man. Or, at least, I will claim to be, once that’s the cost of the op following a post-Brexit trade deal.

Anyway, if anyone is actually reading this, both you and I have probably got better things to do, so I’ll leave it there. You’ve got places to walk and I’ve got words to not write. Plus, I’m still holding out for a call from Angelina Jolie. I may not have the detective skills, but I’ve got the desk.


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