What an eye opener the past few days have been. As an abled body person you sometimes notice where places are set up for disabled people. The ramped curbs, ramp alternative to stairs, disabled loos. Being on crutches / in a wheel chair really makes you appreciate that things could be better. Today we got the above wheelchair and went out for a spin. Glad Jo came with me first time. Heading into the centre of town and virtually every road crossing was an epic – the ramps were so steep and into a gutter that I regularly got stuck, or had a wheel totally in the air. I guess it was quite comical but at times I had to get on my crutches to get across. In the hotel some of the fire doors are only just wide enough to get through. On top of this my wheel chair is like a shopping trolley – it just wants to go left. So to keep going straight on a straight flat piece of pavement involves me only pushing the left wheel. My left wrist if almost non operational now.
The crutches and wheelchair have helped keep my mind from going crazy. They’ve given me lots to learn and chilling out between isn’t so bad. In fact, it’s proving quite fun trying to get competent with each of them though I’m thinking I should focus all my efforts on the crutches especially when I think about the layout of my sisters house where I’ll be staying initially on my return to the UK.
Also, my foot is getting far less painful now which is helping my mobility. I can at least now have it below my waist for more than a minute without the pain becoming pretty bad. On top of that the leg is getting stronger so I can hold the cast for longer. With the wheelchair disappointment I’m heading back to plan A of getting fit enough to go in on crutches. I managed to get from Bodyfuel to the swim start on crutches today so feel positive. Once there I got in the wheelchair to practice. Headed over a speed bump and got rather stuck as I hit it at the wrong angle, one wheel lost traction twisting me further and towards the post at the side. It was entertaining but close to embarrassing as it looked like I was going to have to wait for a passer-by to help me off. Luckily I managed to rock myself enough to get some traction. Back to plan A but with a small modification: look for a foldable chair that I can carry over my shoulder so when I get crutch tired I can get the chair out and rest. Will be perfect for being out on the course come race day.
Having an injury like this and looking like an Ironman in the run up to an Ironman race is like having a dog or a cute child: loads of people strike up conversations with you. I started asking people their names / race number planning on giving them a cheer but I’ll have to knock it on the head because I’ve only been out and about for an hour or so today and I’ve got too many people to remember already.
I read Jo’s account of the past few days and was quite touched. Read about it from her point of view here: http://velojoc.blogspot.com/2009/03/solo.html The focus is now on ensuring she is ready properly prepared for IM NZ. She’s looking lean and ready to race. I’m independent enough now that hopefully she can stop worrying about me and can relax and not have to help me out too much. She had a great opportunity to release any frustration when she kindly agreed to inject the blood thinning drugs into my tummy. I really not sure I could have got myself to do it. Jo sorted it out though. By the time we’re back in the UK she’ll probably be quite expert at it.