This blog was written this week but was from a couple of months back..
I’d been in bed for 6 days pretty much. I was improving but struggling… Having a bad back is debilitating and incredibly painful. I go through these bouts. Some days I just don’t want to get up..But I need to go to work. I love working. The doctors have tried to sign me off..I told them to shove it!!
I have suffered for 20 plus years with this pain and as it’s degenerative there is no light at the end if the tunnel. 3 operations, countless facet joint injections, 3 epidurals, nerve cauterization and that’s on top of all the remedial massage and homeopathic attempts at curbing the pain.
My last operation – that went a little wrong – meant I had to have 2 operations in 7 days this situation brought with it my darkest day..Being told I had to be ‘opened up’ again as my Dural sac was leaking spinal fluid was such a blow. It was physically and mentally a huge hurdle to overcome… I hadn’t cried so much since losing my mum.. As I lay there full of canulas and tubes, catheterised and not allowed to move I went through some very dark times. I laid there for 3 days until they performed the repair..As I went to sleep for the second time I welcomed the darkness because it took away the pain again.. I woke to better news. I would be going home again soon. Since then I have been told I have only one option left to stop the pain is to fuse my spine from L5 to S1. This is a massive operation and one I’m not prepared to commit to…yet! I’ll stick to the pain killers for the physical pain and the mountains to help my mental state!!!! With only a 60/40 chance of success I’m not ready…
So, nobody has sen the below picture..
My darkest hour. February 2014.
The human body and mind are amazing. A strong spirit is essential. As I’m writing this the opiate drugs are making me feel shit! But I am planning my next adventure.
So, back to my last bout. I was off work for 6 days…I was getting better and as I was laden with pain killers but knew I could manage a short walk with the tent. (It is worth adding that I was on my days off and not on the sick!!!)
I chose Tilberthwaite. The weather was due to be a little wild!!! I knew I could be off the hill before it really turned down in the morning.
I packed my sack and headed off up the old mine track.
I have fond memories of going up this track with my dad to go mine exploring as a youngster. I thought of walking along with dad and asking lots of questions and holding his hand. As an adult I have returned here and done one of the hardest trips in the country.. How we grow!! Soon I was looking down into the ghyll near the top of the track. It falls steeply for many meters and is stunningly beautiful. The herdies navigating the vertical walls to get the lushest grass always make me smile-as well as making me want to cover my eyes as the teeter around!
The weather looked a little ominous! And I thought I might get a soaking-being a professional I had of course brought my waterproofs……NOT! Oh well, at least I had plenty of warm stuff with me. Soon I was heading past one of the mines and into the old Scots pines that are dotted around here. The wind was pretty strong and sounded beautiful as it rushed through the trees.
I spent some time- as usual, looking for a good spot.
I ended up close to place that Ste and I had bivvied on a previous occasion. It offered a little shelter from the ever strengthening wind.. It was due to ease overnight and then be back with a vengeance the next morning. As I laid out my groundsheet protector desperately trying to stop things blowing away I wondered…
The sky was showing signs of showers all around now but so far I had stayed dry. Wetherlam looked superb and I was content with my spot. I pegged everything down securely and dreamed of owning a Soulo…one day!
Soon I was getting the Jetboil fired up ready for dinner! I had some Real Turmat Beef soup which is possibly the finest thing I have ever tasted on the hill. Seriously..It is good!
It was ‘Wine O Clock’. I was in pain and was going to relax.. Really relax! I had forgotten my platypus so had to carry a glass bottle which I don’t like to do… Still, I was here and hadn’t managed to smash it!!!!!
The moon was rising and the wind had abated a little. I pinned the tent doors back and lay in its light. I stretched my back and looked up at the stars. There is little light pollution here and the sound of the wind through the pines was like therapy. I breathed deeply, happy to be out but the pain was ‘there’…. being horizontal was good!
I got up after a while and had a wander. The silhouette of Wetherlam looked huge by moonlight and I could pick out the dark shapes of the Langdales. I always feel incredibly lucky when I’m out at night. Peace, quiet…just you and the elements.. bliss. I was feeling like it was hot chocolate time.
I sat in the moonlight cupping my chocolate and, a couple of Herdwicks looked shocked as they wandered close by not expecting to see a human! They ran off looking startled.. love them!
Teeth time! Soon I was snuggled down, I had kept the doors pinned back in the hope the rain and wind would stay at bay until the morning! Of course it came in early.. I was woken to the sensation of rain on my cheeks.. The wind was strong again and was blowing straight into the front of the tent!! I quickly zipped up. It was 4am. The rain started to lash the tent and the wind was howling… Great, no waterproofs.. I fell back into an uneasy sleep for another hour or so. Soon I was wide awake. It was horrible outside. I looked out of my little window. Ugh! Great..I got my headtorch on and busied myself with breakfast.. Porridge and coffee. I was really mindful that the winds were due to get really bad by 8am so I knew I had to bail quickly. I packed everything inside then It was time to get out..The bit we all hate.. I was pleasantly surprised that when I got out it pretty much stopped raining; fab.. It was still windy but I just wanted to get the tent down in the dry. I just stuffed it in my bag! It could be sorted when I got home.
Soon I was been blown back to the mine track by headtorch light. It was wild; the trees were bending and whistling in the gale. It was great!!! Soon I was back on the big track. A couple of squalls came through but I wasn’t bothered. It was getting light and soon I’d be back at the car. I had a lovely walk down, just me and the sheep. Soon I was back to the car. Just in time, no sooner as I had got in but the heavens opened..
Apolgies for the pics being a little grainy at times-I only had the iphone with me.