Lockdown With My Family in Southsea: Day 51, Accidents Happen

Local parent, researcher and writer, Maddie Wallace, continues her daily diary describing the experience first, of self-isolating, and now of being in lockdown with her children in Southsea. We’re at Day 51, and the one thing that Maddie was worried about the most has happened.

The lockdown day my friends have been nervously awaiting finally arrived: I injured myself.

I’m really accident prone. And drama prone. Not that I’m massively dramatic, just that I seem able to have accidents surrounded by drama. So, it’s been a worry, all this being locked in the house with the kids, that I might injure myself and end up having to go to A&E. Not that anyone’s worried about me getting Coronavirus, they’re just worried about what I’ll do to myself next when my mum and friends can’t intervene to look after me and the kids for the 594th time.

It turned out to be just a small cut on the side of my thumb, but it ran blood rivers for a while. I messaged people in my neighbourhood to see if anyone had any Steri-Strips while holding my arm in the air like I’ve seen them do on the telly. Cuts aren’t my usual injury: I’m bones and surgery and surprise breast cancer. I can’t even remember how many bones I’ve broken now, but they include my left big toe, right shoulder blade, right little toe several times, skull and cheekbone fractures (turns out handstands are a no-no after a broken shoulder), and an ankle (twice, two months apart).

I’ve had surgery for the shoulder, the cancer, a hysterectomy as part of cancer treatment, carpal tunnel in both wrists thanks to the cancer medication, and I’m waiting for surgery on that dodgy ankle, which currently has scar tissue in the joint and bone fragments sitting on a nerve. Throw in a long running back problem and a gammy right knee and there are a lot of ways things can go wrong for me during lockdown just by walking around my house. The fear of my latest disaster has often been greater than the fear of the virus. Especially with S and Z away at their dad’s. I could end up being eaten by a feral five year old and a kitten.

Having managed a one-handed field dressing on my thumb without alerting the five year old to the copious amounts of blood in the kitchen, I then took the casserole dish out of the oven and removed the lid with my bare hand. Not the one with the cut thumb, the other one, because there’s no point in being half arsed about these things. Then I almost dropped the massive knife I’d cut my thumb with point down into my foot. Finally, I turned and tripped over A’s footstool and almost stacked it. The last time I stacked it they thought I might have broken my hip. Stacking it is a big fear. Thanks to the cancer I now have borderline osteoporosis and take a tablet which makes me choke on small food particles, which is just more fun for the friends and family. I’m sure my brother and sister in law loved that morning of me not being able to breathe on holiday last year.

I’m not much of a spiritualist, but I’m also not averse to the consideration that universal energy can sometimes be trying to tell you something. What I took from the series of near disasters in the kitchen was to get the hell out of there. Leave the washing up, at least until the thumb isn’t soaking plasters with blood, and sit the eff down in a safe place. My house isn’t hazardous, but I am.

While I was sitting down ignoring the washing up, A appeared with glorious treasure she’d found with my make-up, which she assured me she was just looking at, despite the obvious eye shadow stripes on her cheekbones.

‘Look what I found! It’s a measurer!’

‘Ahh, yes, my favourite tape measure. Tell you what, you can keep that if you measure everything in the house.’

It bought me an hour of sitting down safely before bath time, and I used that time to work out a whole week’s worth of maths home schooling activities she can do with a tape measure. Just discussing the difference between centimetres and inches took us most of that hour. She measured the dog, who is 42 inches or 106cm from nose to bum, when curled on the back of the chair. I can’t vouch for the accuracy. She measured anything and everything; table, toys, plants, her leg. She even measured nothing, like the space between two items of furniture.

When she gets bored of this, I think we can incorporate some fine motor skills into our maths work, so I’ll teach her how to write centimetres and inches and then give her a notepad and a pen. We can hit handwriting too, if I make her write down the name of each thing she’s measuring.

It’s only taken me seven weeks, but I seem to have accidentally worked out how to get her to do more maths.


Maddie is sharing her lockdown experiences every day on S&C – you can find each day’s diary and all of Maddie’s previous articles for S&C here.

Image by Shutterbug75 from Pixabay.

S&C is managed and operated by a small team who work on a voluntary and freelance basis to run our website, social media and engage with local residents and communities. Like all independent news providers in the UK, we’ve been hit hard by the pandemic and are currently seeking funding to survive.

If you want to find out more about the challenges facing local independent news: visit the #SaveIndependentNews campaign website, get involved with S&C, donate, and help us spread the word on Facebook and Twitter. And if you want to know more about us, click here.