Saturday, 12 December 2015

Tearing a hamstring, adjusting, and regrouping

This bad boy was written but not published from late August....

Stale blogs. Inactivity. Recovery. Getting back on the horse. Falling off. This autumn has been characterised by some serious lows. I figure it is time to get back to sharing some of the trials of my recovery from a torn hammy. Bear with me as I post some things from this year that I wrote, but never followed through on.  

Two weeks ago today, Sunday August 16th, I went out of a morning water ski on Lake Osoyoos. A flat calm, golden morning on the lake--absolute perfection. After a couple of turns behind the boat, I hit some awkward wake from another boat--the waves were heading away from me directionally at 11 o'clock. I hit the first two sets fine, but my right ski tip dipped, propelling my right leg around my body, forcing me to do the splits in the water. I went down.

I knew immediately that I had torn my hamstring. The pain was searing--like a molten brand knifing deep into my left leg. I was still strapped into the skis and had to bring my leg up in spite of the pain to release my left foot.

At that moment, my mind raced. In a split second, I thought of a gazillion things:

What would my wife say on shore as we motored in?

My fall marathon in Victoria went poof!

Could I still ride my bike?

What about the Whistler Fondo.

The family is gonna kill me.

I went into shock, immediately. I could not bear weight on the leg, nor even lift it. After being hauled out of the water into the boat by my father and my brother-in-law, I was hauled out of the boat single handedly by my Dad, who went against the plan of how to get my out of the boat discussed by my family, and did it all himself.

Very rarely have I ever experience pain so badly that I felt like I needed to vomit. This was one of those occasions--that vomitous feeling was ever present. After being heaved out of the boat, I made my way with assistance to the shore from the dock, and parked it in a beach chair. It nearly came to the point where I was about to throw up on my sister-in-law as the family formed a half circle around me planning what to do next with me. It was not even 8:30 am yet.

I had not had anything to eat that morning before the ski--I just put on my headband and wore my sunglasses out on the water. Nothing in my stomach to hurl at all. I remember Sean saying to me "Can I take your sunglasses?" to which I responded "Nope. What is the worst that can happen?...Famous last words, Hahaha."

I must have tempted fate with that exchange. Who wears sunglasses and a headband waterskiing? That is just cocky and arrogant. But I did. It cost me my glasses which now reside at the bottom of Lake Osoyoos, and 6-8 weeks of activity. My plans to triple crown this week, run long and ramp up training for the Victoria Marathon, adding speed and track workouts, along with getting ready for the Fondo and Eastside 10k (all events I have registered for) are done.

Humbling, really.

My dad and wife crossed the border from Oroville and drove me to the Oliver Hospital where I was treated by Dr. Peter Entwhistle. The service and care in Oliver was outstanding. They administered me some Tramadol and Fentanyl which helped in short time, took me for x-rays, and before I knew it, I was discharged with what I had originally thought: a torn hamstring. Time, patience, and rest were on the order for the remainder of the family holiday, of which we had 7 more days.

The first two days following the accident were rough: I needed help doing almost everything. Even walking with crutches was difficult. I was relegated to taking tylenol and resting on the deck in a lounger with my leg up for nearly all of the hours of the day. By the following Wednesday, my left leg began to show bruising, and by Friday it was widespread: the whole compartment of my hamstring was filled with blood from the deep tear that was now coming to the surface.

As much as it sucks to have to give up the upcoming events, lost time training--both running and riding, the final two weeks of summer vacation left with not choice but to stay at home rather than finding and exploring new places to experience, I hate to say it but I would still go out and water ski, or do any of the other things that I love to do. In life, there are many risks we take just waking up in the morning, driving our cars, going to work, or trying to relax. Sometimes the unforeseen and unexpected force us to change our course, adjust our plans, give up our goals, and reset. Thinking back, I remember that the morning of the ski accident, I purposely did not go out on my road bike that AM because I knew that I would have plenty of time to ride that week. I had planned for a ride on Monday morning, with the first morning on Sunday my ease in day. It did not work out that way.

Yet, for all of the opportunities I have had this summer to take in the beauty of our province--trail running Singing Pass in Whistler, and Pineview in Kamloops; participating in Day 6 of the BC Bike Race; waterskiing on Kalamalka Lake and the Shuswap, riding Mt. Baker, these are the risks we take. I would not say that I was doing anything risky when the fall happened. tI just as well might be that I could hit the same boat wake 1000 times again and nothing would come of it. I do not regret doing any of those things. The down time has allowed me time to reflect on what is important, and what I can do to minimize the risk to myself and others.

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