It never rains...

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Apologies if anyone out there has been disappointed by my silence. It's unlikely, but if it is the case, I'm sorry. It's nothing personal.

In truth I have had a bit of a roller coaster ride of late, with ups and downs aligned to form the perfect cliché.

On the plus side, I have managed to land myself a regular spot with an excellent physio who has decided that my ambition of getting up in calipers more often and maybe even shuffling a few steps is not unrealistic, nor is it pointless. Cue lots of intensive manipulation to try and free up my sacroilliac joint, aiming for pelvic rotation and stretching my hip flexors (the group of muscles that run down the front of the thigh). These muscles get very tight if you sit all day. It's hard to be in a wheelchair and not sit all day, unfortunately (and while I'm on the subject: journalists, when you write articles about how sitting all day is really bad for your health and can lead to an early grave, can you please bear in mind that some of us don't have a choice in this matter. Ditto standing desk sellers. I could get a standing desk, but unless I wish to stare at the top third of the screen with the keyboard and mouse out of reach it would be pointless).

So, the inevitable effect of all this stretching and straining has been an increase my base levels of pain, a subject I have covered on this blog in some detail previously. It's a rock/hard place scenario, as it is with playing sport. If I do it, it hurts, but then it hurts less later. If I don't do it, it hurts less now but more later. Basically it all hurts, so it's just a case of getting on with it and rationalising whatever choices I make as part of my internal dialogue. A dialogue liberally punctuated with the term 'ow', and more expletive laden outbursts.

On to the rain:
Arriving at basketball training a couple of weeks ago, the rain lashing down on the car as I sat in the dark car park, contemplating whether to wrestle with an umbrella or just accept the soaking, I decided to go for the quick exit. A schoolboy error.

I opened the car door and slid my wheelchair off the back seat, but instead of putting the brakes on, I went for an express launch. This manoeuvre is fine when undertaken on level ground, but the car park at the sports centre boasts an impressive camber. Just as I was about to hurl myself at the chair, it decided to wander off, not just leaving the car's side, but making an impressive bid for freedom that involved a 180 degree spin before heading enthusiastically down the hill. Luckily, I was able to shout for assistance to a man who was crossing the car park and he kindly intercepted my errant steed about 50 meters from the car and returned it to me.

Suitably chastened, I applied the brakes and got into the soggy chair. I made my way around the side of the car to the back and opened the boot, which on our car consists of one single door that opens vertically and offers a significant area of cover. Except that the rain was coming in at the perfect angle to render this cover useless.

I dragged the basketball wheelchair frame down from the car and placed my bag on it, hoping to prevent the cushion from getting completely sodden. However, the weight of the it caused the unstable wheelchair frame to tip over and deposit my bag in the torrent that ran down the gutter, filling it with an impressive amount of water. The game was up. I thought to myself that the whole process couldn't have gone much worse, and I put the wheels on the basketball chair with an air of resignation. It turned out that I was wrong.

Remember that big boot door? It has a recess for the number plate, and this recess was now full to brimming with rainwater. Upon closing the boot, the equivalent of a large bucket full of water crashed down on my head. I wouldn't have been wetter had I decided to swim to training.

As made my way to the building I found myself musing on a well worn concept. In the American Marines they have a saying: "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast."
I like to think the English expression, while expressing the same idea, does so with a little more polish: "Less haste, more speed."

And now, before your very eyes, I shall attempt to draw these two seemingly disparate topics together.

To apply the less haste approach one has to tame the instinct to rush when under pressure. This might be weather influenced or may come from numerous other sources. The effort required to overcome the urge to rush pays dividends in the long run. Things get done right first time, and to a standard that one can be happy with.

When it comes to managing pain, the urge is to avoid the exercise or activity that triggers the pain. However, if one can overcome this instinct, the release of endorphins and the improved circulation that comes with movement, to say nothing of the satisfaction of being active, the rewards outstrip the penalties by some distance. We are made to move. The degree to which we do so may be dictated by various physical and mental factors, but the sense of well-being that accompanies any physical activity should always be valued.

To quote Jazzie B of Soul II Soul, "Keep on movin'..."


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