Pain and relief of dancefloor tumble

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A minute of madness at the office Christmas party, that’s all it was. And am I living to regret it.

Before you imagine mistletoe fumbles on the fax machine, remember I’m nearly 52.

I am not in the 31 per cent of workers who have slept with a co-worker at the company do.

My indiscretion? Minor. I slipped on a beer-soaked dancefloor and crashed on to my middle-aged elbow.

It hurt hellishly, but all I felt was relief. By some Christmas miracle, none of my younger colleagues had seen me do the Mumsy Dancefloor Dive.(Gangnam Style it wasn’t).

It hurt hellishly the next day, and the next. But it was Christmas; there was too much to do. So I did what tough Rotherham multi-tasking women do: I necked painkillers around the clock and drank extra wine.

Only when the festive season was truly over did I decide it was still too painful to ignore, and rang NHS Direct.

What a waste of time that was. Having explained I’d whacked my elbow two weeks ago I was asked: Had I been bleeding profusely in the last 10 minutes? Did I feel I was fighting for every breath? The pain in my arm – had I got a history of heart problems?

I had to wait for the duty doctor to call me before I could ask MY question: Should I go to casualty, or my GP? His answer? “Either. You choose.”

So, exactly two weeks after my tumble, I went to A&E. I took Bloke. I should have taken my mother; she loves Holby City.

There was a woman with a checked tea-cloth pressed over her hand, cheerfully making mobile calls with the other. Another was being pushed around in a hospital wheelchair. The only sign anything was wrong with her? A shoe on her right foot, a slipper on the other. Early Alzheimer’s or a sprained ankle?

Apart from a poorly-looking baby, everyone seemed in rude health. But then, that’s probably what they were thinking about me as I pored over that waiting room treat, a two-week-old Woman’s Own.

I did feel like a time-waster. Surely a nurse would say: you fell, it’s bruised, keep popping the pills and stop whining.

Only, when they took an X-ray I couldn’t make my hand point in the right direction – a fact which had totally escaped my attention for two weeks. And can you believe it, a bone in my elbow was broken.

I had soldiered on through: three hours of last-minute present-shopping, the pre-Christmas supermarket shop, a dinner dance, three hours of present-wrapping, Christmas dinner for 10, Boxing Day brunch for four, three days in the office, a five-day walking holiday in The Lake District and a New Year’s Eve party.

The A&E nurse, nodding knowingly, said: “We get little old ladies in here, carrying bags of shopping with a broken arm and saying ‘I don’t like to trouble anyone...’”

I could see the analogy. It was almost flattering. But did she have to use the word old?