Saturday, 26 August 2017
I was at the hospital twice this week, and both visits have given me plenty to think about.
The first trip was on Wednesday, when I went in for some surgery. I was in early doors and out by lunchtime on the same day, but the procedure was serious enough to require a general anaesthetic and has seen me both signed off work for at least the next two weeks and banned from any form of strenuous exercise for the next month.
Four whole weeks!
To be honest, I didn't really know what to expect. I know that general anaesthetic is pretty unpleasant, but I didn't quite know why the consultant thought I was going to need as much as three weeks off work. What did he know that I didn't? Was I going to be in pretty significant pain or was it going to be mild discomfort and a relatively slow pace of healing? As it turns out, once I got the anaesthetic out of my system (as well as the general, they pumped the area they operated on full of a local too, so it took a while to wear off), although I was pretty sore and swollen, I basically felt okay.
In fact, almost immediately, I was bored.
On Thursday, I watched a couple of episodes of Frasier, the Keanu film "Constantine", played a bit of Cricket Manager 2017, fed (and tickled) a neighbour's cat, read a book and listened to loads of music... but I could really feel the long days off work stretching out in front of me. How on earth am I going to fill all of that time when I'm not working and I can't run? What am I going to do to keep myself from going completely mad?
I settled down a bit by Friday.
The test match at Headingley started, which helped to fill the day, but a coffee and a catch-up with a friend gave me a bit of perspective. What was this if not an opportunity to step off the treadmill and to breathe in the air and smell the coffee for a couple of weeks? I've run the best part of 700 miles so far this year, with marathon training yet to start, and since my job changed in April, I've also been spending a lot more time at work and on out-of-hours cover overnight and through the weekends. Isn't this a great opportunity to just relax; to read books; to watch some box-sets and to just generally try to unwind and let my brain and muscles rest properly for the first time in months?
I was back at hospital on Friday for a regular appointment with the neurologist. This is always good for a dose of perspective. Although my MS has been very stable since my diagnosis, I've struggled with the feeling in my legs a bit this year; I've fallen over a couple of times when out running and my legs have generally felt stiff and unresponsive. Then again, when you look around an MS clinic waiting room and see people in their wheelchairs or struggling to walk with sticks, have I really got much all that much to grumble about in the grand scheme of things? So my legs feel a bit weird at the end of a half marathon? Can you hear how ridiculous that must sound to a senior consultant who is dealing with people who can't walk at all? I'm certainly not unaffected by MS and my most recent MRI scans show that a few more scars have developed in my brain.... but as long as I tolerate my weekly injections and the side-effects okay, and I can still get myself up and out for a run, then I'm really doing pretty well.
I'm sure I'm going to be frustrated and bored over the coming days, not to mention a bit sore from the surgery for a few more days yet..... but why not see the glass as half full for once and take the unexpected break from work and from running as an opportunity to try and appreciate what I do have?
Yeah... you're probably right. Ask me how I'm doing next week and we'll see if I'm quite so phlegmatic about things.