Benedict Ambrose's life was saved by a big pain in the neck: the big pain in his neck. He read how AAGill, a restaurant critic who had died from "the full English of cancers," had complained of a pain in the neck, so it was his neck pain even more than the ache behind his eye that sent B.A. to his GP.
As history relates, the GP sent him to Specsavers. Specsavers sent him to the Eye Pavilion. The Eye Pavilion sent him to the Royal Infirmary. The Royal Infirmary sent him to Western General, and he stopped at the FSSP house for Last Rites on the way. A surgeon at the Western General drilled a hole in his head the next day, saving his life and his eye.
However, B.A. still has a big pain in his neck--and means that I have a big pain in his neck. We're at the "in sickness" part of the wedding vows. The easy part is that when I make suggestions, he embraces them without arguing, which suggests how bad the pain is, poor chap.
That said, we still quarrel over the painkiller dose. For some reason, doctors like to write him prescriptions for highly addictive tranquilizers. B.A. is supposed to take these in tiny doses, 3 times a day, but he doesn't. He takes just two or one or half a tiny dose after asking me if he thinks he ought to take any dose at all.
This makes me wild. Whereas the names of the drugs alarm me, I am not a doctor. I don't have society's religious faith in doctors, but I am sure they know more about drugs than B.A. and I do.
But then there is the massage therapist. I went to a massage therapist when stress had left my shoulders in aching knots, and she was brilliant. So I brought B.A. to the therapist to work and sat through the introductory conversation, which was a good idea as Dundee-born B.A. might have otherwise run away. However, the massage was so helpful, B.A. would like one every day. Unfortunately, our brilliant massage therapist doesn't give massages every day. So guess who does it?
"But necks are delicate," I wail. "I don't know what I'm doing! I might do damage!"
"Right there," says B.A. "Ouch! Don't use your fingernails!"
The Pilates class is great, and shopping for gym kit for B.A. was fun. When I saw how much men's yoga pants (or whatever the British call them) cost at Lulu Lemon, I rushed straight to TK Maxx, but at least I had an excuse to go into Lulu Lemon. £80 for men's sweatpants--I ask you! A snazzy name brand was £15 at TK Maxx. As sweatpants are a class indicator--often paired with a dangerous dog--B.A. wears them with affectionate irony and his best shoes.
Pilates class is meant to improve B.A.'s posture because the brilliant massage therapist suggested that this is the cause of the pain, banishing the frightening spectre of arthritis conjured up by our GP. I told the GP about the Pilates, and he said B.A.'s head must never hang down, so the Pilates instructor gives B.A. special modifications for various Pilates moves.
Possibly because he is the least sporty man alive, Pilates class gives B.A. runner's high, and then we have a euphoric dinner out in the New Town. During our most recent Pilates class, however, we were introduced to the spiky massage ball. Having played with the spiky massage ball, we had to have one. I ran all over town yesterday morning looking for the exact model before finding it in a dance supply shop.
Then there is the wedge-pillow. The massage therapist recommended we visit a custom-cut foam shop to get a triangular wedge for B.A. to use as a neck-supporting pillow. I hiked down there after the spiky massage ball search and encountered a father & son team of foam salesmen, who charged me £20 while saying it ought to be £27. Twenty quid for a piece of foam sounded depressingly high, but not as high as the price of a Tempur ergonomic pillow, so I coughed up the money and lugged the object home. When I got there, I spiky-massaged my feet.
Meanwhile, B.A, stuffed the foam wedge into a pillow case with a feather pillow and lay down with it on the sitting-room floor. He lay very, very still. He looked beatific. He was out of his pain.
"We should take this to Italy," he murmured--for, oh yes! The best part of B.A.'s rehab is to come: we are going to Tuscany for the first week of June, and I can hardly wait. I will sit in the sun sniffing bougainvillea, anticipating lunch and listening to our hostess fuss maternally over B.A. His rehabilitation features a growing number of women fussing over him, and the more the better, say I.