Belfast Telegraph

Home Life Weekend

Kerry McLean: The shoes that most definitely weren’t made for walking... but thank goodness (again) for A&E

By Kerry McLean

My pleasures in life are pretty tame. I don't smoke, I don't drink (unless you count my biannual nights out when two gin and tonics send me off to sleep), I don't have an expensive love of jewellery or the latest fashions, but what I do have is a great big soft spot for shoes.

My heart beats a little bit faster when I find a pretty pair, especially a pretty pair in the sale. So I was ecstatic a few weeks ago, when I stumbled upon the most stunning sandals in a 'final reductions' bucket.

They were sky-high wedges, made of petrol blue leather and covered in tiny, teardrop-shaped, silver studs. Reduced down from over £70 to £17, I couldn't believe my luck or understand how they had been left to languish in the store as the plainer pumps and boring boots around them had been snapped up.

It was only when I got them home and tried walking in them that I realised the truth. These shoes are for admiring, not for wearing.

Since purchasing these beauties, I have stepped out in them three times and, on each occasion, I have come a cropper, tumbling over in public and smashing onto the street, damaging hands, knees and shins as I made my descent.

It's nothing to do with the height of the heel - at 5ft 2in tall I've been pouring my trotters into towering heels to bring me up to average height for years. I have decided that these shoes have a will of their own and they do not want to be worn.

It's a conclusion I came to while sitting in the waiting room of our local hospital this week, when my most recent nose-dive resulted in a visit to A&E, to swing my kneecap back into place.

It was a very odd sensation, sitting there, waiting for my turn to get checked out. Odd because, while I'm no newbie to the A&E, I'm normally there with a child in tow. As a mother-of-three, I've made many a dash down the road and into the hospital, to check out lumps, bumps, rashes and red hot temperatures (the latter always in the wee small hours of the morning. Why do children always get fevers at 4am?!).

My son, in particular, was a frequent visitor. They sewed Dan up when he fell off his bike and cut his arm, glued a gaping gash back together on his head when a shelf collapsed on him at his friend's house and put my mind at rest repeatedly when he would suffer from febrile convulsions as a baby and pass out. There was a time when I wondered if I should be sponsoring our own family row of chairs in the waiting room, so often did we find ourselves perched on those hard, plastic seats.

This time, being there on my own, gave me time to look around the room and take in the other people waiting. There were those with obvious illnesses and complaints; one young man in a football kit, his wrist sitting at a strange angle in a makeshift sling, a young woman clutching some kitchen paper to a painful looking cut on her arm and a much older lady whose ankle had swollen to twice its size and turned purple.

But there were many other people there whose ailments were less apparent; lots of worried, ashen faces dealing with who-knows-what?

We all sat there, waiting for our name to be called by the nurses who moved about like bees in a hive, always on the move, always working, collecting patients from the waiting room and depositing them in a treatment bay.

It really struck me how they had a smile for everyone, no matter how serious or otherwise their malady and their mix of sympathy and professionalism washed like a soothing salve over us all before any medical care was even administered.

They had me patched up in a flash, grateful to be living in a country that has such a superb National Health Service but gutted to have been told that I have to wear flats for the next six weeks.

Bad news for anyone as vertically challenged as I am.

If you're looking for me, I'm down here.

Belfast Telegraph

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