‘I sought help the next morning, asking a mate to drive me to hospital after brunch’

Nat LockeThe West Australian
An ode to the injury-prone: here are just some of the ways Nat Locke has hurt herself over the years. Enjoy.
Camera IconAn ode to the injury-prone: here are just some of the ways Nat Locke has hurt herself over the years. Enjoy. Credit: Flying Colours Ltd/Getty Images

Somebody recently said to me “why are you always injuring yourself?” and I became immediately indignant. Because I hardly ever injure myself. Except for all those times that I do.

So for your amusement, please enjoy a brief history of some of my most serious injuries. Laughs galore.

If we go back into my childhood, there was the time I was attempting to evade a cranky cow and got myself tangled up in a whole heap of barbed wire. It turns out seven-year-old skin is no match for barbed wire (and probably not for a cranky cow, either) and I ended up with scratches up and down both legs. In my mind, I was covered in band-aids from the waist down, but I may be overdramatising it slightly. There are a couple of scars that I still attribute to this misadventure. That cow has a lot to answer for.

If it’s blood you’re looking for, let’s talk about my run in with the mandolin. And I’m not talking about the banjo-ish musical instrument, but the kitchen gadget that gives you satisfyingly thin slices of fruit and vegetables. The way it achieves this is by having obscenely sharp blades that you pass, say, a potato over repeatedly until you have a pile of very thin potato slices, if that’s what you want in life. On this occasion, that’s exactly what I wanted in life, and as I was rhythmically sliding my potato back and forth, I wondered whether it might be a good idea to use the included safety features, which basically spear into the potato and provide a handle that keeps your digits well away from the blade. Unfortunately, at the exact moment I had this thought, I sliced my thumb wide open, so I can confirm that yes, the safety features would have been a great idea. A bit of blood oozed out, and I applied pressure to the wound whilst continuing to cook dinner, because, well, priorities. The problem was that it kept bleeding. Quite a bit. I gave in and sought medical intervention. A very nice doctor stuck it back together with actual glue. I still don’t have the feeling back in it.

Another quite impactful injury was when I broke my ankle at the staff Christmas party. And I know what you’re thinking (because a lot of people have asked): how much had I been drinking? Well, in answer to your impertinent question, not much at all. I managed to do this at the beginning of the night. We were taking a boat trip along the river before partying the night away at Optus Stadium, and I managed to twist my ankle about 30 seconds after stepping aboard. Distracted by the fact that the bar was serving gin, I missed the bit where you’re supposed to step over a little threshold to get into the main room. My heel caught the edge and I fell forward over my ankle, snapping a little bit off the sticky-out bit on the outside. Oh, did I mention that all of this happened while I was dressed as Dennis Lillee, including a lusciously hairy chest? I stuck it out though, because I’m nothing if not a trooper. I sought help the next morning, by asking a mate to drive me to hospital after brunch. Six weeks in a moon boot and a colourful workers comp claim ensued.

Years prior, I managed to trip down a step exactly one brick high and break a bone in my foot that, it turns out, is almost impossible to spot on an x-ray. So for eight weeks I hobbled around under the impression that I had a bad sprain. Except it didn’t get any better. Eventually, a CT scan revealed a fractured anterior process of the calcaneus. Don’t worry. No-one else knows what that means either. That one required surgical intervention.

And now, for the most recent of my stacks. I was distracted at the dog park — by a dog, no less — and missed my footing, landing on my outstretched right hand. It took over a month to fully diagnose the impact of this little escapade, but eventually a CT scan confirmed three fractures. Not bad considering I went out to see some musical theatre that night. Which reminds me, I must say sorry to the cast of Priscilla Queen of the Desert for not applauding. It turns out I do know the sound of one hand clapping.

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