I don’t usually swim on a Monday but this morning I was sore from running yesterday (the subject of which should have been today’s post but I’ll do it tomorrow instead) so running was kind of out of the question.
And my bike is out of action until I fix my flat tyre.
Unfortunately the last swimming session I’d completed was a resounding success. Which sounds like a good thing but either it is karma or the Triathlon Gods (or I raise my expectations too high and set myself up for a fall) and I can never achieve two good sessions back-to-back. So this morning I was doomed.
I got in the pool and did a few slightly rubbish lengths: I panicked randomly, had to roll onto my back once and stopped mid-length twice for a re-enactment of the electrocuted starfish impression. I considered giving up but instead tried to reassure myself that simply perseverance and clocking up some hours in the pool was the only solution to my troubles. I kept swimming, and eventually started to find a favourable rhythm.
As I approached the end of my 7th or 8th length, I started to wonder whether a) I should stop at the end and get a breather in order to attempt a non-stop 600m swim, or b) I should just turn around and keep going in the rhythm I had found, to attempt a 630m-ish non-stop swim.
As I pondered this dilemma, I must’ve been swimming quicker than I realised because I swam straight into the wall.
I have done this before; misjudged the space at the end and stabbed my fingers into the bricks on the side. But this time I was going hard and fast; I immediately sucked down three litres of water and my eyes stopped working; all I could see were blotches of colour. I clung to the edge with my undamaged hand and let out some bad words. I squeezed my eyes shut and took some deep breaths.
Give it a few seconds and the pain will subside, I chanted to myself. I panted in and out. I glanced around; my vision was coming back, but the pain was too much. I pulled myself up and over the edge, to hurry to the toilets in case I needed to be sick.
I wasn’t sick but I hid for a while just in case I started to cry. I chided myself and ran over the pathetic attempt at a workout I’d done so far – it wasn’t a triathlete’s training session. So I forced myself out of the toilets, got back in the pool and pushed out a 600m swim without stopping. The pain took my mind off everything else, and I was able to finish.
At which point I got out as fast as I could and went to find Shane on the treadmills. I told him I’d hurt my finger and showed him the swelling; the pain was about 9 out of 10 at that point and Shane said he’d drive us home which made me shed a little tear because any kind of sympathy makes me weak, I find.
Obviously the first thing I did when we arrived home was down a whole packet of painkillers. Luckily there were only two left in the packet; don’t worry. But if there had been more I would have taken them. I paced through the house, waiting for the magical kicking-in of the tablets. I thought of all the things I needed to do that require two hands – changing my bike tyre, hanging out the washing, doing the washing up, bathing the dog, dyeing my hair. Oh, and of course earn money with typing and driving and blah blah boring stuff. So many chores to do this week, and everything requires two hands! The pain was worst in my finger, but it was my middle finger and the whole hand felt stiff and strange.
I sat in my chair and took my drama queen crown off. First things first, I needed to get my stupid hand x-rayed and bandaged or something. And soon, before the day progressed and a myriad of other people hurt themselves and had to go to the hospital to make a long queue I’d get stuck in. I rang my boss and left a message to say I was sick, took a shower (a very slow and fumbling shower) and set off for Caboolture Hospital.
I was seen almost immediately, and the lovely doctor (whose name was Wendy) told me I would first have to take my rings off so that they could do the x-rays.
I was wearing absolutely no jewellery, save for the two rings I have not taken off for the past 6 years straight. Which (of course) were both stacked on the finger I’d damaged.
We tried gel, we tried soap, we tried washing up liquid. The rings were not budging over the massive bulge that had developed around my middle finger’s knuckle.
Wendy went to get her special ring-cutting tool.
Once removed, I was able to go to the x-ray room where they took four nice pictures of my hand. I sat in the waiting room afterwards for Dr. Wendy to come and get me, mainly thinking how lucky it is that this happened now and not the week before one of my triathlons. And how nice it is to have a ‘sickie’ off work and not actually be sick. I got my phone out and started composing this blog post.
Eventually Dr Wendy came to tell me that yes I have fractured my middle finger phalange (that is a real word even though my computer has underlined it in angry red pen) and she strapped it to the finger next to it. She also gave me a referral for the fracture clinic in two days for a specialist appointment, so that they can tell me it is healing fine and how long I have to do the strapping for.
I will need to come up with a better story than ‘swam into wall’ for the clinic though. The truth is too embarrassing.
There will be no riding my bike for a few days – one because I can’t change the tyre but two, because I don’t think I could change gears (you need your right hand for that) or even hold the handlebars properly.
I can run though, so I guess I’ll be doing a heap of that. Let’s hope nothing goes wrong with that part of my triathlon!