In case you’re wondering, GOYBIG is an acronym for Go On You Boys In Green, chanting slogan for the Republic of Ireland’s football team who made Irish football history last night and beat Italy to put us through to the final 16 in the European Championship.
As if that weren’t enough and on the eve of a British referendum that could determine the history of these countries for the foreseeable future, four of the 16 teams qualified for the final round are from the British Isles and Ireland; the Republic of Ireland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England.
As for My Left Foot, well, I underwent the latest in what has been a six month saga, although, if the truth were told, it’s the latest in 18 months of constant pain. I went for an appointment in the Digital Imaging department of the Mater Hospital. I went there by bus, with my walking stick. Not holding out for a lot but this time was different from the last attempt, which failed.
The process today was a laser image guided injection of cortisone into the joint of my left ankle. Into the joint, remember, that means between the two ankle bones and right into the joint where, because of the iron overload condition which I have, crystals accumulate that cause severe inflammation and pain.
“It will hurt,’ the professor of rheumatology told me, before she made my appointment. Pain, I thought, with two artificial hips and arthritis in every joint, already, ‘I spit in the eye of pain.’
Well, what a load of bollocks. Dante could add a new wheel to his Inferno and call it ‘digital imaging injection.’Sweet Mother of Jesus” or, SMOJ, as I like to say, this was pain turned up to a demonic level where ’11’ is for pussies and ’20’ is a fond memory. And it happened, not once but four times and all the time reaching new levels way, way beyond the threshold of public immolation or getting a cold wax Brazilian.
It took a mere ten minutes in all to reduce me to a quivering wimp and that’s before they asked me to step off the table and get out. Well, they were a little more gentle and polite about it but, believe me, those were not concepts with which I could compute, right then.
They put me in a wheelchair and I got dressed. It took another ten minutes for the asnaesthetic to kick in and then I could walk again, assisted by my walking stick. I made a beeline for the nearest pub, W.G. Kavanagh’s of Dorset St and sat down, ordered a pint, hissed a sigh of relief and then couldn’t decide whether to cry or get drunk.
In the end, I decided on neither and took my sorry ass home, mindful of the radiologist’s warning to refrain from putting on the Ritz, a la Fred, or Riverdancing, a la Flatley but I had bigger things on my mind. Ireland were in the last ditch saloon, waiting for a chance, a slim chance to beat the Italians and make it to the final 16.
Halfway through the game, or near the half time mark, an Italian defender charged into the back of McClean, an Irish forward, on the ball and the goal ahead of him beckoning. In any other competition, according to the rules of the game, this player should have been penalised and sent off and a penalty awarded to Ireland. No such thing.
It was around then I decided if the injection doesn’t work, I will saw my leg off – no use to me, now – and carry it to France or the home of that referee, to club him to death with it.
But all was not lost and a combination of an army of Irish supporters who are the darlings of Europe and the soul and spirit of this team and a bunch of players who simply refused to give up, we won. We Won, for fuck’s sake.
And in the next game, Sunday, we play France who denied us a chance to play in the World Cup when he handled the ball into the Irish net in a World Cup playoff. Sweet karma, you can be a ragged bitch, but the French must be cowering, now.
And, in the end, I did dance, one legged, but I danced.