Sunday, 16 March 2014

A post I couldn't have imagined writing

I last blogged in Tenerife, where I had been on an excellent swimming camp, caught the sun, spent time with friends and although I felt anxious about some things coming up back at home, felt positive about my swimming.  I made it to the pool on the Sunday after getting back for a gentle dip and was getting back into the swing of things on Monday and Tuesday.

On Wednesday morning at 6.50am, everything changed, as, en route to the pool, wearing my cozzie under my clothes, I was knocked off my bike at one of the two roundabouts that I cross.  I broke my wrist in two places and given a set of circumstances that are amongst the most challenging I have had to deal with.  The emergency services were fantastic, as were the two very kind people who jumped out of their cars and got me and my bike from the middle of the roundabout to the verge, and called Mr Just Keep Swimming, and by 8.20am I had been admitted to A and E and Xrayed.  (Should you ever need to visit A and E, I can recommend first thing...).  I refused to look at my wrist at all, and the radiologist was the person to tell me, without looking at the Xray, that it was broken.  Although I knew that things could have been far worse - I bumped my hip which came up in a nice bruise, but that was literally the only injury that I had - I was devastated.  There were 5 weeks until I was due to be off on my Long Distance Swimming Camp to Mallorca, not to mention the fact that it is many years since I have been for more than a week without swimming (approx 9?).

The next thing to happen in A and E was the arrival of the doctors, and to my amazement, one of them came in saying how sorry she was because of my swimming; she is a member of my triathlon club and has seen me post in our facebook group.  That was about the best thing that could have happpened as she understood how I was feeling, and she also held my hand whilst local anaesthetic was administered (Mr Just Keep Swimming was outside calling my parents), and she managed to get me some diazepam, which I'd been asking for since I got into the ambulance.  After a little wait for the anaesthetic and diazepam to work, it was time to traction the wrist to try to get in back into shape, although at that stage an operation looked pretty likely.  This is one of the most painful things I have ever experienced and to my shame I was screaming in pain.  I was put in plaster and xrayed again, and things looked good enough for me to be sent home with an appointment for fracture clinic the next day.

To cut the last 18 days down, I've been back to fracture clinic 3 times, had some very long waits, but I seem to have avoided the op so far.  I just hope that the bone is healing nicely and will be ok when they take the cast off which is projected for the 1st April.  I'm under no illusions now as to what things will be like when they take it off, I will need physio, and it will still be a while before I can drive, and longer before I can get on the bike, but at least at that point I'll be allowed back in the pool, assuming I can get there.  I had 8 days off work in total, and am on the second week of a phased return, where I will attempt 75% of my hours.

The last 18 days have mostly been very difficult.  I was initially unremittingly cheerful, almost as if the depression had taken a hit at the accident scene, but it resurfaced soon enough.  Having a physical injury that has limited coping strategies has made things far, far worse.  It is my writing hand, so no colouring in, and swimming has long been my biggest mood booster, and kept my eating healthy and stable.  It is very difficult to be reliant so much on other people, and being helpless has not been pleasant, although I have been very lucky that a number of people have been very kind, visiting me and helping me out, and sending cards and presents and taking the time to send tweets and texts.  I have also been lent a recumbent bike and have started doing pilates and walking the 5 miles to work, so I am trying to keep active and do what I can to maintain my fitness.  But it has been extremely tough. not least for Mr Just Keep Swimming, putting up with me.  There isn't really anything else I can do but to go through with it and hope that the remaining time passes as easily as it can.  Of course I am worrying about my swim season, not least because the day before the accident I had managed to secure a place on the Brownsea Island swim, and I have several other exciting swims line up.

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