Saturday, 8 May 2010
OUT ON A LIMB - Short Story by Margaret Wilde
She was in hospital after having had a little operation and was unable as yet to perform little personal tasks like cutting toe-nails. It was unfortunate that the nurse cut off her foot by accident.
As the nurse said: "It was a particularly tough nail. It could have happened to anyone."
They got distinctly cross with her for making a fuss about it. If her feet were so important to her she should have waited till she was home again and able to cut her own toe-nails. Anyway it was done now. No use crying over spilt milk. She must look forward, not back.
Her friends were very kind and helpful. "Never mind," they said. "You’ve got another one. It was only your left one after all. You’ll soon get used to it. Footloose and fancy free, eh?"
She found it difficult to keep her balance. Her many falls damaged her arms, her other foot and the left leg itself, which had to be amputated.
Again she was assured she would soon get used to it. "You’ll soon be hopping around like a two year old."
They were a long time in providing a false leg. She tried to hurry them up, pointing out that if she hadn’t previously had to wait so long for the artificial foot, perhaps she’d have had fewer falls and not have had to have her leg amputated.
"You cripples are all the same! – You just think we’re here for your convenience. You had quite a nice solid artificial foot – a bit heavy perhaps – and you’ve had hardly any wear out of it. – Scandalous waste! – And now you chivvy us for an artificial leg. Wait your turn. You’ll probably only go and fall and break it anyway. I don’t know why you can’t be more careful, so’s you don’t fall. You’d think we’d nothing better to do than to make false limbs for clumsy folk like you."
"But it’s not my fault. It was the Health Service robbed me of my foot and that’s why I lost my leg."
"Back to that again! You’ve got a persecution complex. You ought to see a psychiatrist: always looking for someone to blame. – Well you can’t see one. You’re getting more than your fair share of attention as it is."
"Stir your stumps; and for goodness’ sake learn to stand on your own two feet!"
Margaret Wilde © 1985