I exaggerate, of course.

I have dodgy blood-tubes. Hereditary, apparently. I have a varicose vein in my left leg, and so my ankle tends to swell, particularly in the heat. (Obviously, I therefore chose to move somewhere hot.) It’s all to do with the valves in the veins not working perfectly. Regular readers know that I wear compression stockings to help keep my ankle, roughly ankle-sized.

It’s a great look with shorts, I can tell you.

A more serious downside is an ulcer. I have a big one on the inside of the joint, rough circular, a little less than two inch radius. Mostly, it looks like a nasty bruise. My job is to keep it moisturised.

Every now and again, it gets scratched, and that’s where the trouble starts. Blood flow helps healing. The blood flow at the ulcer is very poor. So, broken skin doesn’t fix quickly, particularly when swelling pulls it further apart. Broken skin is susceptible to infection. Therefore - whenever I get a scratch, from a twig, or tripping over my own feet, or an excited dog, I get into a battle. I work very hard on keeping the swelling down, and the scratch clean and dressed. This goes on for weeks, months sometimes.

Now and again, I lose the battle. Infection gets in.

One, the ulcer starts looking like a special effect from a horror movie. Two, the dressing comes off looking very surgical, all of a sudden. Three, the smell is rotten. Four, the nerves start reporting pain, using a code that I assume is called “sheet lightning”. I’ll feel a flash, tears will well in my eyes and I’ll audibly wince. That started this weekend. Being a male born in the 1970’s, I’ll deny that anything is wrong and carry on regardless, before going to the bathroom to change the dressing and sob quietly.

Two things that will get me to the Doctor are the smell of my own flesh rotting, and sheet lightning pain, so off I went on Monday.

Now, I’ll be adding reinforcements to the battle. Antibiotics. I still need to clean the wound, which is some of the least fun that one can have alone, but the attack on the infection is now from inside and out.

Good news is that walking is good. Skeletal muscle pump, don’t you know. (My thanks to Dr Fleet.) So, that means golf is fine, as long as the wound is dressed and protected. Swimming in the pool is fine. Lying down with my ankle above my heart is OK too. What’s not OK, is chilling on a couch or sitting at a desk. So - writing and working is happening in short bursts between walking and reclining.

Scariest of all - no booze while on antibiotics. So, I'm on an unscheduled health kick.

My writing is supported by people like you. You can become a member of the site here . Members access the serialisation of my first novel draft, and give comments to me in a member's Slack. They also get a free electronic copy of anything that I publish during their membership. Sign up - help me move writing from a side-project to a main project.