Harold is bearing up pretty well, considering he’s ninety, and fell all the way down the stairs a couple of weeks ago.
‘I managed to get him up,’ says his wife, Janice, perched on the arm of his chair. ‘I used three stools – one small, one medium, one large. But I have to say I’m feeling it a bit now.’
They didn’t call the ambulance. Instead, Janice bathed his head, gave him paracetamol, and helped him get about over the next few days. When that grew too much, she called in the GP, who, after deciding Harold’s back pain was probably musculo-skeletal, and ruling out any need for an X-ray, referred Harold on to us.
‘I must say I’m impressed,’ says Harold. ‘I had no idea this kind of thing was out there.’
He smiles in brief flashes, as if his teeth are too big for his mouth, and he’s worried they’ll pop out into his lap.
All the tests I run are fine. Whilst I write up the results, Harold tells me about the time he fell over in the street a year ago.
‘Not quite as spectacular as the stairs,’ he says. ‘This time it was a tree root. You know how they push up through the pavement and make everything humpity-bumpity? Well that’s what did for me. And this is the result…’
He holds his left hand in the air and turns it this way and that. I can’t see anything wrong with it, but I tut all the same.
‘The pain you feel in your back, Harold. If you had to give it a mark out of ten, with ten being the worst and nought being none, what would you give it?’
I hold my fingers horizontally and move my hand up and down like a gauge. ‘Marks out of ten for the pain, Harold.’
‘Nought when I’m sitting still like this, ten when I’m walking about.’
I write it down.
‘And may I say,’ he says, smiling broadly, and then pressing his lips together again. ‘I very much enjoy your concision.’