One of those ‘good news-bad news’ kind of days.
Yesterday i met the orthopaedic surgeon for the first time to be assessed for whatever knee surgery i might need. So far i had only seen my new local GP who, while being a very good general practitioner, isn’t a specialist in the field. Her opinion from seeing the X rays was that it was a ‘barn door’ ie obvious picture and that there was no point messing around with other preliminary procedures and so referred me directly to be seen by a consultant.
The good news/bad news is a bit technical. essentially that one half of the bearing surfaces (one side) is shot and needs doing but the other side of the same knee still has some cartilage left and is worth preserving. What the consultant has advised is that i have a partial knee replacement which preserves the normal knee mechanics and should give me better function. The down-side of that is that a partial knee replacement won’t last as long as a total joint replacement but i should get decent service from it as long as i am a bit careful with it. That’s good because these next ten years will take me up to 70 and what i hope to get out of that is ten very good sailing years….in fact i intend to be sailing all year round for that time and get done everything i want to do.
So….a plan. I have already put 2 things in place : first that both of my existing boats are now up for sale on Apollo-duck and the smaller one is also on Ebay for a quick sale. I will lose on that but to be honest i just want it off the drive and out of my mind now so that i don’t start tinkering with it and wasting more time. My Liberty (WABI”’) is all but empty of my personal kit….i am leaving the galley equipment in place for now….and ready to come ashore. When Chris has space down at the yard he will lift her out and my plan then is to polish up her GRP and give her a lick of antifoul. In that state she would be completely ready to sail as i finished everything else for passage-making just before i left the Exe estuary. Chris had asked for first dibs on her but has since discussed it with his family and the consencus is that they have too much going on with the yard and their own boats : Spirit and Veracity. Chris, right now, is laying the new parish moorings and one of them has my name on it ! I will visit WABI”’ regularly, keep her clean and aired ready for viewings.
Unfortunately its not all about boats and the longer term knee problem now affects everything else. As many will know the real focus of my life has been as an outdoorsman and i have practiced, even taught, across several disciplines. I actually started out at 16 in mountaineering and rock climbing, did some sea-kayaking, later canoeing, then long distance hiking and then bushcraft combined with the others. For a few years i was actively teaching open canoe and bushcraft. For the last few years i have mainly stuck to sailing as both of us here were beginning to realise that long distance hiking and ‘bush’ hiking (tramping) was really taking a toll on our joints and backs. Our last trip to NZ for example was a lot less successful as a tramping trip compared to our first time there when we were ‘out there’ for weeks on end in the bush with all our gear and food. The reality is that long distance hiking and open canoeing both have to be sacrificed to give me a good 10 year function with the new one. The other side that i haven’t talked about is that it has already affected my training….i stopped doing free weights a few months back when squats and deadlift clearly became a problem. Gone too is ‘rucking’..remember that last summer i ‘rucked’ some 7000 lbs + of new firewood back to the house.
Its likely that my hiking, climbing, weights and rucking have all contributed to simple wear and tear on my back and joints as obviously has my hospital life. Standing for long periods every day is now onerous and some days at work i essentially stand all day and every shift . Many people won’t realise just how physical a job nursing can be, especially in the past when we didn’t have posh kit like patient hoists and i would add especially for big strong blokes like me who were expected to do the heavy physical stuff all the time. Early on , as a student, it was the case on more than one ward that whenever there was ‘heavy’ work to do someone would come and get me off whatever else i was doing. For several reasons now even going to work is a complete and total pain in the arse and just recently i have been that close to juts knocking it on the head completely.
I think it was Alan who said that the timeline of life was moving on, that is certainly true. Now what i have to do is go into tight focus with what i am going to do and put aside the things i’m not going to do, or at least be very unlikely to do again. I am going to have a huge clear out of our kit store but keep our super-comfy car camping kit for example. I will have to find an acceptable way of doing hard exercise as my weight is climbing again and seriously re-think my pointless work life.
At the end of the post though we come to the positive news, that i know where i am going with boats this year and what our sailing is going to be this year. A few days ago i came to a decision about the Deben 4 tonner ‘Inanada’ and made an offer on her. Pete has since accepted my offer and hopefully we will be moving towards completion and handover this month. Getting to the boat this month will be a problem because my shifts are all over the place but i have leave in May so should definitely take her over then. I feel that i’ve got quite a bit to learn with a ‘real’ gaffer and wooden boat combined and that’s an interesting challenge in itself. Equally it’s on the east coast where apparently they have even more mud than we do…..although a lot less rocks !. Our plan is to organise days off so that we can maximise our time over there and go visit at least some of the east coast rivers. In July i should be listed for my own haul-out and bearings replacement at which time i should have a plan about getting the Deben back here or keeping her on the Orwell all season and only then trucking her across and getting her straight in the shed over here so that i can start the woodwork.