Hello! Sorry about the radio silence, the reason for which will no doubt shortly become clear …
So, last Monday, I got an email from my specialist’s secretary, asking if I could come in fairly urgently. So on Tuesday I got up, went off to train at the track and ran a very excellent set of 800m reps (beat George on almost all of them, handicapped obviously, but still … it was a cracking session), then headed over to the hospital. I spent the trip there playing with my new GoPro and booking train tickets to Princes Risborough for the weekend ’cause I was planning on doing a hike on Sunday along part of the Ridgeway.
However … as I’m sure you have already worked out … it turns out that I won’t be running for a while. I won’t even be walking for a while. The MRI revealed a huge crack in my navicular, one of the toughest bones to heal because there’s only a limited blood supply to it. Since it’s so difficult to heal properly and it’s so critical for runners (and those who want to continue to walk unassisted!), they take a really conservative approach to its treatment, so I’ve been whacked into a boot and onto crutches and told I’m going to be completely non-weight-bearing and immobilised for six weeks. This is apparently the only way to avoid surgery … and I still might need surgery in six weeks if the aircast and crutches haven’t healed it. They take it so seriously that they actually sign you off work for six weeks with it, which confused me completely until I actually had to deal with it and now I know exactly why they sign you off!
Here’s the weird thing right, so, I have private healthcare. But because you have to pay for everything, they literally give you nothing at all – so before I could go into my boot, I had to buy it online and wait for it to be delivered. For two days. Luckily I already had crutches at home from when I had a stress fracture last year (an easy-to-fix metatarsal which I ran on for a year) or I’d have had to wait for them to arrive too. So basically, you get this terrible diagnosis, they tell you that unless you are incredibly careful for the next six weeks you’ll almost certainly have to have surgery and/or life-long complications with it … and then you have to walk home, work out where to get the aircast, figure out for yourself how to use crutches, strap the ankle yourself until the airboot arrives (they won’t even do that for you!) and basically work out how you’re going to keep it immobile until the boot (and crutches, if you don’t happen to have such things) arrive(s).
The other thing is that no-one really tells you what it all means. When I walked out of the hospital, in floods of tears, knowing that at least two of my three forthcoming ultramarathons were toast and that my desert ultra was jeopardised, I had no idea what it was really going to mean for my life. My specialist is absolutely lovely, but all doctors seem to assume that you understand what its going to be like, what you have to do to help yourself, what you’re not going to be able to do and how you’re likely to feel. But I had no idea! All I knew was “no running, no walking”. The internet is helpful, but not that helpful, and the most helpful resource I’ve found by far is a wonderful blog by The HouseKat which really set out her experience and helped me more than anything else. However her experience was a bit different to mine because I live in central London, I have to go to work and to some extent my job’s pretty physical (more about that later), I have to navigate public transport and I live by myself, so all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping etc has to be done by me. Therefore I thought it would be helpful to turn this into a temporary rehab blog so that if anyone can pick up things which are relevant to me which the HouseKat didn’t experience, then fab!
So sorry this has taken a turn for the niche, but I’m also going to document what I’ve actually done by way of exercise. I thought I’d try and take it week by week since already, now that a week has gone by, things have changed loads.
I’ll leave this here and deal with Week 1 in a separate post!
Hope you’re all enjoying the summer (in the Northern Hemisphere) and the mellllllting weather in London if you’re here!