I didn’t “mind the gap” and have the bruises to prove it

I could have shown you a picture of my swollen ankle but thought this one of St Paul's Cathedral fro

I could have shown you a picture of my swollen ankle but thought this one of St Paul's Cathedral from outside Tate Modern was nicer. Picture: LJM - Credit: Archant

Lynne is at home nursing a Christmas shopping injury

“Mind the gap”

It is not a question, as in, do you mind the gap? It is a caution uttered by Transport for London (TfL) when there is a gap between the underground platform and the train.

Whether it was mentioned at Bond Street when I attempted to skip on to a Jubilee line train, I don’t know. I mean, strictly speaking, there wasn’t a gap, there was a step up... and I missed it.

With a shopping bag full of Christmas gifts, I missed the step, hit the front of my ankle on the lip of the train and went sprawling into the carriage.

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As always in such situations (long-time readers will recall when I slammed my head into the wall of a sports centre when playing walking football), pride overcomes pain.

“I’m fine; I’m fine,” I announced as a gentleman fellow traveller gathered up the contents of my bag and returned them to me. My husband, who had been a couple of yard behind me as I sprinted for the train, helped me to my feet and then to the seat for passengers who might need it due to limited mobility etc. I definitely qualified.

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Already I could feel the front of my ankle swelling.

My husband had the concerned look he reserves for occasions when his wife injures herself.

“I can wiggle my toes,” I said, deciding nothing was broken and concentrated on an in-train ad featuring Nicole Scherzinger who says Perfectil is her “go-to vitamin” for hair and nails. Perfectil? It’s not actually a stand-alone vitamin, is it? Or is it?

Back at our hotel near the Tate Modern and the adjacent big new apartment building which probably has a name but, on account of its bulge, we called The Food Baby, I inspected my foot.

It was swollen and starting to turn purple but it wasn’t painful. These few days amounted to our annual holiday and we had plans to visit Kew Gardens, Westminster Abbey, and the National Portrait Gallery and also had tickets to see Don Quixote, at the Garrick Theatre. I wasn’t going to give up on any of it just for a bit of swelling and bruising.

One side benefit was that I didn’t once have to stand up on the tube. My hobble proved very persuasive, even in rush hour.

Before we went to the theatre we had supper at a nearby restaurant where my “homemade lemonade” was served in half a glass of ice. I had a bright idea. I wrapped a few residual ice cubes in a napkin and stuffed it down my sock. “That will help the swelling.”

My husband was dubious. “It will make your sock wet and you might develop trench foot,” he warned. On the balance of probabilities I decided this was unlikely and walked on with an unsightly bulge in my lower trouser leg... it got smaller though (the bulge, not the trouser leg).

As I write, my foot is still colourful. There is a lesson here. I have to remember I am not 33, I am 63 with a replacement knee and varifocals. What might have been a simple jog, hop and skip on to an underground train 30 years ago now has to be subject to a full risk assessment, taking account of vertical (x) and/or horizontal (y) inches between platform and train. After that, a detailed plan of action must be drawn up.

1. Approach train at a steady pace.

2. Lift leading leg to x+4; y+4

3. Negotiate gap and bringing trailing leg on to train, observing the same safety ratios.

4. Gratefully accept the offer of the special seat.

It did cross my mind that coming off HRT might have been a factor in my accident. (If TfL has it on CCTV, I would be grateful if they don’t post it on YouTube).

After bragging that I have noticed little change after stopping the hormone replacement tablets, I have now become one of the warmest women on the planet. Going into shops after being outside prompts immediate radiance. I pull off my scarf, undo my coat and feel the heat pulsate in my face. Meanwhile, my hands stay cold.

My friend Dorinda told me this could happen.

“Oh Lynne, don’t crow too soon! It takes a while for all those hormones to leave your system and then, who knows? My symptoms all came flooding back, although fortunately much less than the original ones and without the mood swings and night sweats.”

Dorinda goes on to describe, however, the terrible time a friend is having after coming off HRT: “She is having a terrible time. She has been hit with the full withdrawal of flushes, sweats, sleeplessness, and depression.”

“It is all very unfair and I wish we could pass on something of the experience to our menfolk so they could know how it feels. Can you imagine what it would be like having a menopausal man in the office?”

Oh yes, I think I can.

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