Tuesday, 16 August 2005

Ankles and associated mischief

Ankles and associated mischief

A friend of mine who has been off camping at festivals this summer and has come down with some unidentified illness as a result asked how come I manage to stay healthy. Well, I thought, preparing a lecture on how being prepared, fit and well organised is the way to be and how it must be this that wins through for me (regular readers of this blog will not immediately realise that I was talking about my self there). But then it struck me that over the past few weeks whilst I have not been writing this blog things have not all been a bed of Roses. Had it been a bed of Roses I would have fallen in it cut myself on the thorns and come down with septicaemia. This is something I know all about having fallen in a ditch one time and landed in a Hawthorn bush, an adventure that did indeed result in septicaemia. However that was not since I catapulted myself to the illustrious social level of ditch dweller so does not count towards this listing of woes.

Ankles, knobbly things twixt foot and leg and a source of much amusement to Spike Milligan but other than that not much attention is paid to them. Until that is they swell up to the size of your head and don an interesting purple colour. Elevate it; rest it for two weeks and put ice on it said the doctor. A nice theory but not one that is oh so practical when you are in the wilds of Wyoming and the temperatures are reaching about 38 c not so much ice to be found. It is also not so easy to get back to civilisation with your ankle elevated. Thought it was better but then went to the local pub, well it would be rude not to, just to say hello and check out the food. The big problem was that my pack weighed 70lbs and so my centre of gravity was all askew. Anyway on the way back to where I had decided to sleep that night, which is up a very steep and dark path whose main characteristic is rough ground I managed to fall over and sprain the ankle again twice. Like I say steep path, rough ground, dark. Luckily I did not fall over on the pavement outside the pub underneath the street lights; that would have been silly. A couple of days later I was checking out my new Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) device; it tells you how fast you are going, even in the dark! I was heading down hill (10% gradient) in a north easterly direction at 7.8 mph when I hit the rabbit hole and sprained my ankle again. Yesterday I was told that there I have probably damaged a nerve and that I should rest my ankle until the swelling goes down for fear of causing permanent damage. So I walked home very carefully last night up the hill of steepness and rabbit holes whilst carrying hardly and weight. When you are running about you see your foot can hit an obstacle or hole and before you are even aware of this you are spitting out lumps of tera firma. Walking slowly quite avoids this, I was very much aware that my foot had gone into the rabbit hole long before I was face down in the grass.

Mosquitos in Wyoming do not carry Malaria, they do carry a bug whose symptoms are very much akin to that of flu. I remember waking up one night because I was shivering so much all my muscles hurt. I was particularly glad to discover that I also needed to be sick and so had to get up out of the relative warmth of my sleeping bag and into the thunder storm that was raging to go and be sick. Whilst I did welcome getting back into bed you can imagine my delight upon being woken up an hour later to take part in a search party for two of our party who had wandered off and got lost. An hour and a half trudging about in the rain hopefully shining my torch into crevasses was just the thing to raise the spirits. The missing pair later turned up again having been found by the National Guard.

There was also a certain amount of getting dehydrated which I have to say is not plesent, but was possible more plesent than the thing that happened with my toes. Grazes down the back are quite usefull for taking the mind of the pain in the shins. Food poisoning (again) is a sure fire way to take your mind off everything. Some times I think living in a ditch may not be all its cracked up to be.