Monday, February 02, 2009

My toe, mad Mad Tony and the Veterans Football Club

Today my toe went into rehab. I was rather surprised by this as I had never imagined, in my wildest dreams, that the first part of my body that medical science would deem in need of rehabilitation would be my toe... but there you have it. The medical world has ignored my vices, by-passed my main organs and headed straight to my foot. Of course some of my vices have been contributory factors but I'm glad it's my toe in the spotlight.

As regular readers will know, I broke my toe (or it got broken) back in January when I was pissing about on The Rapids at Atlantis Casino. Ignoring advice from my then medical advisor (Benjo) I did not immediately go to hospital in Nassau and get it sorted. Instead I carried on working, getting drunk, dancing and generally ignoring it (aside from exaggerated limping every time I saw the toe-breaker). The toe got better for a while but then, after an ill-advised dancing spree in Deauville (the pain dulled with oysters, red wine and mojitos), it got worse again. It is now enormous, grossly swollen, like a fat carrot lying in a bed of pale but perfectly-formed asparagus.

Once back in the land of terribly small people, I went to the medical clinic. My doctor did an X-ray and we stared at the results. She professed herself non-plussed and referred me to a Traumatologist.

I was ecstatic. Trauma!!!! Great!!!!! What a fabulous development. The traumatologist said I had incurred a "fractura grande" but, because I had done absolutely nothing about it , my toe was now in massive trouble. Rehab, he said, was the only hope of saving it.

The rehab clinic was round the corner (everything is round the corner in Lilliput) so I hopped round and booked myself in for an appointment. Then mad Mad Tony came in and everything went a bit David Lynch.

I have known Mad Tony since I first moved to Sitges. His brother Ricky runs the eponymous town disco, a total dive that you only go to if you are horribly, horribly drunk. Ricky's has not been re-decorated, or in fact cleaned, since the mid-1970s but for some reason Ricky considers this such a marketing plus that even his flyers say "Untouched since 1973". The only saving grace of Ricky's is that if you do bump into someone you know, which you will, absolutely none of you will remember it the next day.

Mad Tony is the antithesis to Ricky but not in a good way. Mad Tony is a fitness fanatic who also runs Sitges Veterans Football Club. Mad Tony is about 45 but his modus viviendi is running and he runs everywhere, all the time. For a while, Tony was trying to woo my former flatmate - a courtship which took the form of running into our flat with a giant pizza, jogging on the spot while eating it, then running out again. It was my idea that my mate Ben - who likes a game of footer at the weekends - sign up for Tony's Veterans Football Club. Both Ben and I assumed veteran meant something between old and past-it but in his first and only match, Ben found himself marking an athlete who had just left Real Madrid and flanked by two Brazilians trying out for Barcelona. Six years later, Ben is only just recovering from the ordeal.


So I'm standing in the rehab place when in runs Tony. Tony had told me he was a physiotherapist but I had always assumed his credentials were utterly bogus. "Hi", he said, gripping my arm so hard I incurred two further fractures, "what you done?" "I broke my toe", I said. "Ha ha, playing football?", he asked, and then laughed hysterically at his own joke for four minutes.

Tony disappeared behind a screen and I waited while reception filled out my paperwork. "How did you break your toe?" said the receptionist. "Playing football", I said. She led me to a small cell, right past Tony's treatment room. Tony was on a running machine and talking to a patient.

The physio came in and inspected my toe. She was so incredibly beautiful that I knew if I told my friends, they would all happily break their toes and most of their fingers just to get her attention. She looked like Julianna Margulies from ER.

With my fat carrot cooking under a sun-ray lamp, I lay on my back staring at the florescent lighting. Tony was still with his patient but now seemed to have set his running machine to "uphill" and was having to shout to make himself heard. He and his patient were discussing a rather complicated recipe for calcots. "YOU HAVE TO MAKE SURE THE GRILL IS REALLY HOT", he yelled. A small dwarf came in and spoke to me backwards. I could see light at the end of a long tunnel.

Then Julianna Margulies returned and switched off the sunray lamp. Life slowly subsided back to normal. Tony was standing in reception in his running shorts. See you tomorrow, he said.