Anyway, I had my inguinal canal patched up. Having (thankfully) had little experience of a general anaesthetic and an operating theatre before, I must admit to being a little nervous about it all. The long walk down to theatre in my see-through paper gown, see-through plastic under pants, shower cap and compression stockings, was a little surreal. I remember a time many many years ago after a badly timed leap from a cliff top, having to wear something similar for a lower back X-Ray. As a thirteen year old I was mortified and had to be coaxed out of the changing room. This time all I could do was laugh at the state of myself and was more than a little annoyed I missed a good opportunity for selfie.
There was a brief whiff of acetone and a cooling sensation worked its way up my left arm as the anaesthetist went about his business. Then I woke up. I had been wheeled into an annex off the theatre. My bed was glorious. The sheets were of crisp steam ironed linen. The corners were perfectly hospitalised. An electric blanket was on full. A nurse was watching over me. Everything was calm.
“Am I done? – that’s great. This is lovely. Everything go OK?” There were other occupied beds in other annexes. “How’s everybody else? That’s brilliant. Ah this is lovely” A few masked men popped in. I have no idea what they said, but I am sure I thanked them very much.“Brilliant, brilliant, lovely…” Needless to say I was in good form.
I was a little miffed later on when I noticed someone had taken a razor to me while I slept. Spurned on by visions of a matronly Hattie Jakes or one of her “Carry On” colleagues going at me with a blunt cut throat and of course just wanting to spare them the hassle, I had gone to the effort of preparing myself beforehand. Admittedly I had left a small patch out of the way to retain some sort of post op normality – at least from one angle. A lopsided Mohican if you will – a small act of defiance. It seems it wasn’t allowed.
Six weeks of no exercise the specialist said. Of course I have to listen. And for the first couple of weeks there is no question of being able to do much at all. It hasn’t been particularly sore really; I am just very conscious of a lot going on down there at the moment. It’s three weeks now and I am slowly introducing some light exercise under the guise of “Physio”. Running is completely out for just about the six weeks – it’s not worth the risk, but some easy “sitting upright” turbos and gentle swims are happening. I feel OK and my chest has finally cleared up. I hope by the time I am allowed to run again my ankle/tibia has repaired itself too. Having not run properly since February this is what is causing me the greatest concern at the moment. There is little possibility of finishing the race in Maastricht on the 31st of July if I can’t get in a lot of running in June and July. That of course comes with its own risks. I was advised to take some calcium supplements to help repair the possible stress fracture. I am, and at this stage I am pretty close to licking some guano off the rocks at Shennick Island if I someone would assure me the phosphate would help speed bone recovery too.
Obviously any lofty ambitions I had this season need to be reigned in. My goal at the moment is making the race, following that it is to finish. Anything else is in the lap of the gods now. But you never know.
I have been slow to update the training log. I found it was turning into an account of woe (a woeful account for that matter). But it should be up there tomorrow; woe and all. On a more upbeat note, I sold a picture at an exhibition recently (the only one to sell) and the Kona sock drawer has had a lodgement – just in case.
I must thank everyone for their good wishes while I have been recovering. I know it’s been hard for Eimear and the kids who are not use to seeing their usually dynamic bundle of raw energy, go getter husband/father just lying on the couch watching sport on the television for hours on end whilst slurping on coffee and munching on snacks. Special thanks to my extended family for their support. My parents for coming down and minding us for a few days. I have to mention my little brother Justin who has been a great encouragement and despite being based in Sydney is so confident I will make the start line he has decided to enter Maastricht himself. The cynical amongst us might say he smells an opportunity for a scalping. But to be honest, even on a good day for me, he would be a worthy adversary. I have done a few races with Justin and it has always been good fun.
I have to mention my sponsor Rob Cummins of Wheelworx. (www.wheelworx.ie) He has given tremendous encouragement and has offered me any of the not inconsiderable resources at his disposal that might facilitate my speedy recovery.
I need to get training and racing again. I have been watching cyclists suffer on mountains, marathon runners hit walls and want to feel that pain again. If there is a heat wave this week – I’m going to bed.