After all the long running rains of spring, we here in Britain have finally seen blazing sun. We’ve enjoyed temperatures hotter than the Mediterranean and as usual, many forget to cream so suffer sunburned skin (we never learn..!) It’s the time to lounge or barbeque, expose our white skin and enjoy a drink – well for some anyway. Advertising is strewn with images of people relaxing by pools, drinking beer, wines and spirits galore, but for me, for now, the strongest thing I’ll be on is a cup of tea…
Over the years I’ve been prodded, cut, stitched, glued, dressed, grafted and tested. I’ve had student nurses gaze at my wounds, photographers record the amputations and physios get me back onto my feet, but in all that time, I’ve never been told to stop drinking – until now. As an inpatient, I was almost prescribed a pint every night, which solved the never-ending issue of what to buy someone in hospital. Both my consultant and anaesthetist were fellow members of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society and we spent many an hour debating the latest bottlings. Now before any of you start accusing me of being an alcoholic, I don’t drink to excess. I enjoy a pint or a dram, but that’s enough. I’m done with the world of weekend hangovers, and drink for its quality rather than its quantity. I’m a real ale lover, and try the local brew wherever I am in the world (I found a wonderful microbrewery in Johannesburg recently). However, the ongoing tests which attempt to explain what’s going on with my nerves require no drinking for three months. I put a post on Facebook about this and received a wide selection of replies from the sympathetic to the disbelieving..! But why..? Drinking isn’t a necessity to life and I’ve never seen ‘having a pint’ on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Yet, if you look at society, a great deal of our social gatherings involve, or revolve around alcohol. In the middle ages, people drank ale as it was safer than water, but I think those days have long passed. Many cultures don’t drink. Others abstain with fasts. I always observe Lent, and refrain from something for forty days, so three months shouldn’t be an issue.
At times in our lives, we have stop certain things because we’re looking at the long-term benefits. When in Alaska, I was asked whether I wished to be treated there or at home in the UK. I was 30 years old and hoped that I had a long time ahead of me, so I asked where the best treatment would be. As it happened, there was nothing in it, so I came home. If it had been the other way around, I’d have stayed for a few weeks or months, because I knew my new journey in life was just starting. I can look back at those times now, knowing that I took the right choice, because I didn’t rush. Rushing around seems to be the norm in modern society, but at times we need to sit back and take a good look at the topography of life, before we commit to a certain path. It also helps if you keep your eyes open on the journey (but enough about Pokémon Go..!)
The more we rush, the more we want answers – instantly. There’s no quick fix to my pains, I’m sure of that, so I move forward as best as I can. Climbing is out of the window at the moment, but I can still walk, cycle and scramble a little. Not drinking for three months should allow me a little weight loss, which is no bad thing, and the time will pass quickly enough. ‘There is more to life than increasing its speed’ as Gandhi once said, so I’ll sit the summer out with a glass of cordial or pop. Whisky doesn’t go off that quickly, and I’m not stockpiling for the day after my next tests. Life will roll onward, and more than likely, I’ll feel better for a time of drought.
I am missing climbing. Not that I’m very good really, but the stinging my hands suffer is past sensible. You need to feel every pebble, every crack and ledge, but I’m unsure what I’m feeling at the moment. A broken bone would probably heal quicker (not that I want one) so for now the rope will have to be hung up to gather dust. My hands are a little clumsy at the moment, but at least nothing has dropped off. I hope to scramble some simple routes to see where the phantom takes me. I feel as if I’m going through all the tests of 2000 again, where I first pulled boots onto the remains of my feet, and bled my way up Harboro’ Rocks in Derbyshire.
Then, as now, I am playing a game of patience…
Well Mr Frostbite looks like our session is on hold again, will you be joining us at Chatsworth this year its our big earner. I will be doing Friday and Saturday.let us know as you will need a pass to get in.
I should be clear by October, but will await the test results.
I’ve offered my services for the Saturday, but as of yet, had no reply.
Hope you’re well sir…