Well… It’s been way too long since I returned to the UK for there to be any more developments from the Long Push to Ibiza. Right? If only that were the case…
As you may already know, from the very start of the trip I was experiencing pain in the sciatic nerve in my left leg. Hell, a couple of week before I left I was out cold on the pavement during training, unable to move due to a back twinge. *it could be worse. But I healed quick, the shooting pains subsided and the ache went away due to all skating I was doing, possibly due to giving up my mattress for the rocky fields of Northern Spain also. *it could be worse.
I’ve never been fitter. For fucks sake, I even managed to touch my toes for the first time in my life!! Apart from leg ache, hamstring pain, being slightly malnourished, sporting a ridiculous tan and smelling like a tramps baccy pouch, I was in great condition.
So I lazed around a lot, as you do on holiday. I’d earned it, no qualms there.
I kept on skating, too right! Every day. Just fractional amounts in comparison to what I’d been covering on the way there though. Shit n gigs skating! Just for fun like (and then a bit more when the car hire ran out).
I didn’t structure any kind of cool down period with the exercise regime other than relax, eat and party but I kept active by default.
There was still a dull ache in the morning and the need for daily stretching but it seems the physical activity saw me well, even loaded with the extra 20lbs.
I gave a lot up to do the trip! Actually, no, hang on a sec…. I really didn’t have anything to give up. But I turned it in all the same. *it could be worse.
I had no idea what was going to happen when I got there, maybe find work and stay…, mainly because I wasn’t sure what I was gonna get back to but I did have a plan:
Return by September
Get to work renovating the houseboat I live on whilst it’s in the dock
Move the beast to its new position
Live happily ever after
*it could be worse
Sorted! On with enjoying the holiday…
But I started to feel a familiar stabbing pain in my left leg towards the last 5 days in ibiza. Just a few twinges occasionally when I called on the wrong muscle. A firm but polite “piss off!”.
This grew in anger over the period. I managed to hide the limp during the first instalment of the big celebration weekend courtesy of the Clockwork Orange crew. None the wiser at Es Paradise. Not the case at the beach party at Nassau!
I danced till the pain became too much and then opted for some kind of one-footed African tribal bounce when I ran out of running man.
I suffered the remaining two days on the island. I even turned down an expensive yet freely offered deep tissue massage, just in case…
By the time I reached stanstead airport I could barely walk and the three transport connections back to the boat was the stone that broke the skaters back.
I made it home to the boat but only to see it sail off without me as I lay in the middle of the road, unable to even stand.
I had to find refuge for a few days. A few days became a couple of weeks.
22 days ago I arrived back to start the big boat project and I’ve barely been on my feet for any of it.
When the pain strikes, it arrives in waveform – a slow and steady rise in pain over a 5-15 min period of time and then almost instant relief when it comes (sawtooth for those that know their audio). The pain is like someone very slowly breaking your femur in a vice, another tearing your calf muscle apart with two forks like a crispy’fukin’duck whilst a third pours boiling water over your foot shortly after the seconds dentist anaesthetised only two layers of the skin. By minute 5, you just don’t know how minute 10 is going to be possible. *it could be worse.
I’ve broken a fair share of bones for me and the rest of my family. I’m pretty sure I’ve felt real pain before but I’ve never stayed conscious through a level like this.
Pain killers did nothing, exercises and stretches impossible. No reason, no rhyme. One moment I’m ok, the next I just want someone to remove my leg.
I’ve been seeing various docs and had several visits to the hospital about my back over the last 3 years. I got a reminder about that when I applied for travel insurance!
I’ve seen chiropractors, osteopaths, this doc, that nurse… Sometimes I got painkillers, other times I was shown the door for asking for them.
“I want an MRI and I want pain relief until this occurs!” I stated firmly during one of my last visits but in a way that demonstrated serious concern as opposed to demanding attitude and the “I know better” mentality GPs hate so much for justifiable reasons. *it could be worse.
I got my MRI but no relief at all. Just a hefty bill for the three prescriptions I couldn’t afford.
I made it 200yrds from the entrance of guys hospital a few days later before being carried the rest of the way by a friendly pedestrian towards another unaffordable prescription charge and instructions to “pop back in if they don’t work” like it was a option I could manage in my pigeon stride.
By this point I was at the apex of the pain this ailment could deliver. I can’t see how it would have been possible to endure more and luckily, I didn’t have to. Over the next few days it was a wonky and unpredictable road towards recovery. Some days ok, others bad, mornings always horrendous.
I made it back to the boat to commence work way earlier than I should have but still 16 days behind schedule. A few more days of keeping off my feet and there’s been a marked improvement. I’ve been pretty active during my 12 hrs of work today, managing about 8 hrs after deducting rest breaks, so I felt really confident that was in the mend.
Then I got my MRI results.
Well, actually, at first the receptionist said “sorry, the doctor is with another patient but he’s told me to tell you to stay by the phone”. Never a phrase that installs confidence.
*it could be worse.
2 herniated discs. One severe. Too close to the spinal nerve for physio or chiro. I’m booked in with the neuro surgeon to discuss my options. Not many of which involve much more skateboarding.
Ironic eh! The whole point of the trip was to make myself a better person and now I’m a couple of mm away from permanent disability. *it could be worse.
This has real complications. If I can’t work on the boat I can’t stay on the boat. My Events Management business will have to go on hold forcing me to cancel the two projects I have penned in for next month, kissing goodbye to my only form of income.
So the next big adventure for me will be lying face down whilst a neuro surgeon cuts away bits of my spine. Anti-Rad!!
I knew I’d learn a lot from this trip but this wasn’t on the cards. I knew I was aware I was pushing it going from a few hrs down the park to 60km a day in the heat. I knew I wasn’t in the fittest state to be taking on this and I knew I had issues with my back.
But I didn’t know how serious it actually was.
Previous diagnosis was a muscle “twinge” or “tight glutes”. “Take these and live with it until it goes away”. “Here’s a piece of paper with some stretches”. “That’ll be £23 for those painkillers, be sure to crawl back in agony next week and tell us they don’t work so we can sell you more”.
The osteopaths and chiropractors just carried on with their routines of cracking and massaging and fuck only knows what damage that did. Another dent in the wallet for one.
As long as there’s no complications this will be simply one hell of a wake of call. I need to stay positive about this. I need to keep reminding myself that… it could be worse!