Well it’s been a while since my last post and a lot of personal stuff has flowed under the bridge since. Last year – 2015, wasn’t a great year for me to be honest, culminating in being made redundant from my job in Norway, as were another 250,000 oilfield workers. After 37 years working on the rigs it was time for a break anyway, so it’s not all doom and gloom.
My knees have been deteriorating gradually over the past ten years to the point where I had no cartilage in my left knee and not much in my right knee either. The difference in NHS around the UK always astounds me. Over in South Manchester my many attempts at getting something done for my knees were met with tuts and being fobbed off from doctor to consultant and back. I couldn’t even get an appointment with the GP when my knee seized up, and was just told to rest. What a different story over in Derbyshire – I registered with a doctor in Winster which took a few minutes. Asked if there was any chance of seeing a doctor today? – yes – five minutes later I was being examined. Five minutes after that I was referred to a knee specialist at Chesterfield Royal Hospital. I went offshore and came back after a couple of weeks, went to my appointment, and within five minutes of meeting the consultant he had diagnosed my problems and confirmed with an X-ray of both knees. Five minutes more discussion and I had a date booked for my operation. Brilliant service and it restored my faith in the NHS.
I had a total knee replacement in October 2015 which leads me to the long path to recovery. I had a pre-op meeting which was fine and the day rolled around, and I rolled in to the hospital. All very calm and a ‘batting’ list was declared by the surgeon. Thankfully he had a warm up before he got the hammer and chisel out to me. After waiting a few hours I went in for an anaesthetic, the choice of pain relief was a pethidine spinal injection. The anaesthetists ferreted around my back and gave me the injection. Five minutes latter they asked could I move my toes – no on the right leg which was good, yes on the left leg which was bad. So there was no option but to put me under with a general anaesthetic – a double dose of drugs which took sometime to recover from. It doesn’t half make you sleepy. I woke later to what was to be a few weeks and a few eeks of pain. I should have been out after three days but I had a temperature spike of 40 deg one day, and my temperature was consistently high all week. I pulled a muscle in my chest getting on the bed which sent them into a panic thinking a clot was bobbing around my body. So I had a few tests, and along with a much swollen leg it kept me in there for six days. Eventually I got home and proceeded to make my way around on crutches, gradually reducing the ammount of painkillers and getting down to one crutch and then none. A gradual recovery and after about 4 weeks I could walk a couple of miles with the aid of a stick. Just before New Year I walked a good seven miles using a walking pole for balance, not fast but I got around.
I had a conversation with my best walking buddy Kerry, and she came up with the idea that we do a walk each week starting near Derby and meandering north through the peak district and beyond. No planned end point, just a long path to recovery, building up my strength and my speed. We eventually decided to walk around Derbyshire returning to the start point some time later. It took 21 walks, and small walks by our usual standards, but very welcome walks. All of them usually ended with varying degrees of discomfort but we made it all the way round, in all sorts of weather. Kerry has her own version of events which will be narrated in Italics, I’ll try not to blah blah blah too much. There are lots of photographs of the journey, some great and some very poor on the gloomy days. We started on the 6th January and finished on the 28th April , 143 miles later
“One step at a time Pete, and you’ll get there. This is your long walk to recovery.” An idea was born, and we chatted about where, when and how long. But essentially the long walk to recovery evolved over the miles and weeks it took, and during that time Pete grew not only stronger but more aware of the impact of his knees on his capabilities as a walker.
I suggested the idea of a long walk at the back end of 2015, following Petes successful total knee replacement in October. “Lets start in the New Year, once a week, just a few miles to begin with, and wherever we finish, we start the next walk from there and so on”
“OK” said Pete “where shall we start from?”
As Pete now lived in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside, we decided to walk from Derby and continue forth North. By the time we had reached the splendid plateau of Kinder Scout in the Dark Peak, Pete was hinting at eventually returning to whence we had started – Derby. Hence a grand 143 mile loop was completed beginning in January and finished in April. The first few walks were a slow struggle of quarreling knees finding their rhythm, and they were still quarreling many miles later, and by April they were still in dispute.
This is ultimately the tale of knees coping with miles and miles of wonderful Derbyshire landscapes, experiencing the many weathers unleashed by the English climate. Journeying from cold sharp winter days through to the blossoming of spring.
Day one coming to a screen near you very soon