Thursday, 13 April 2017

Preparation for The Great Outdoors Challenge 2017

I had no intention of applying for this year’s Challenge, or indeed for any future Challenge. It was just the decision I had reached. However, a week or so before the deadline for entries, I had a complete change of heart and with David’s agreement, entered. A couple of weeks later I heard that I had, yet again, been lucky and gained a place on the Challenge. Whoops!

As luck would have it, I did have a route planned that just required a bit of minor tweaking to be ready to submit and was fully vetted by the end of November. For the last four months, it would normally just have been a matter of research and details, but I had the added excitement of having found I’d developed an Inguinal Hernia. I saw my surgeon in January who hoped to be able to operate in time for me to go ‘on my holiday’ (…he really did not understand the concept of ‘backpacking’…) but the date came through for my repair as 23rd March. This meant I would be 7 weeks post-op at the start of the Challenge, cutting things a little fine I thought. However, I had left my name on the short notice cancellation list and as luck would have it, that was the phone call I received the day I was walking with Mick and Gayle. The new date for my operation was 9th March, meaning I am currently 5 weeks post-op and I will be 9 weeks post-op when I leave home for my start point. As the advised recovery period is 6 to 8 weeks, I should be fully recuperated and raring to go by then.

I am making a good, steady recovery. I now have no pain to speak of (if I poke the scar hard enough, I can still feel a little bruising, but I don’t tend to do that) the general swelling, of which there was more than I was expecting, has gone, with just a small amount remaining under the scar itself. I am beginning to gradually phase back into the things I haven’t been allowed to do, I am driving short journeys now, emptying the dishwasher a couple of plates at a time, taking smaller items from the shelf at the supermarket and contemplating doing a little light housework, although I wouldn’t hoover or cook a family meal for all six of us yet. I’m quite sure in four weeks time I’ll be ready to heft that 12.5kg rucksack…as I ever am.

I left the house for the first time nine days after the operation, just for a little trip to the supermarket, but built up from there and two weeks later I was back to my normal length walk, although not up to my usual speed. That doesn’t worry me, I’m walking at Challenge speed, so this is a good thing!

I have my Challenge main meals from as usual, the main snack items are stashed in the cupboard, I have all my maps, new socks and new Meindl Bhutan boots being gradually worn in (gradually ‘cos I don’t want to get them dirty, they don’t really need worn in!) I’ve done all my print outs, laminated my route sheet, booked the only B&B of the trip and booked my seat on the bus.

All I need to do is pack.

So, on the whole, preparation for the Challenge is going well, all things considered.


FellBound said...

Great you are on the Challenge and glad the recovery is going well. 😊

Louise said...

Thank you David. I am quite pleased 😊

Alan Sloman said...

You seem to have completed all your PreChallengeTasks, whereas I still have to print out maps, route sheets, work out how much food I need to buy and if any of it requires posting. I have no idea where half my kit has disappeared to, but it needs retrieval from its dark and lonely places.

It seems to me that I can help you with your quiet time between now and the Challenge. With your recovery demanding a few easy days, you could sort out all my jobs. It would be much appreciated.

Cheers, Missy.

Louise said...

I'd love to help. Being as I can't just pop round and delve into your dark and lonely places (...thank goodness!) nor pop to your supermarket, I will help from my comfy armchair and send regular inspirational messages (...constant nagging...).
No, don't thank me! It will be a pleasure πŸ˜‡

AlanR said...

Hi Louise, I had an op in the January prior to my challenge in 2014. I told the surgeon the size of the hole I wanted which was about 1/2 the size of what he wanted. I told him I was doing the challenge and he said don't worry you will be up and running in 6 weeks. 6 weeks came and I could only just about walk. I went back to see the surgeon and reminded him what he said. He laughed and said it was just a figure of speech. He said it would be 3 months before I was ok. It took 4 months. I still had some slight pain on the challenge but the scar tissue was really soft, I was bothered about it splitting. Anyway I got through it. It wasn't a hernia but similar, so you go easy and take care. Don't overdo it and enjoy it as usual.

Louise said...

Oh gosh, barely walk six weeks post-op?! I'm happily trundling along 6/7 miles with no ill effect, I think I should dtop my surgeon a thank you note!
I forgot to mention that when he came to see me when I was back on the ward, he told me the op had gone well but that the hernia had been much bigger than he was expecting. I think I'm going to be fine πŸ˜‰

Gayle said...

Good to hear the recovery is all going to plan.

Mick is being surprisingly organised. Maps and route sheet are printed and in the backpacking-paperwork plastic wallet, and his food is all parcelled up and labelled. Just his pack to pack, but everything is all gathered into a crate ready. Oh, and a bit more training to fit in, but hopefully we'll be Scotland-bound next week, and I've got a few hills planned :-)

Louise said...

Well, that is all quite excellent!
A crate. That is something I need. I am currently waiting for a student or two to return to Aberdeen so that I can make use of a 'spare bed' πŸ˜†