Sunday, 22 July 2012

The best laid plans

There I was, wondering where to go next - well I've a rough idea, actually, as I've only been to Africa once and that was with a tour group, so I was beginning to play with plans to go on my own. To mull over which country to visit, taking on board general thoughts about safety and ease of travel etc. (For anyone wandering the same path, the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree forum is wonderful.)
   And then, as I woke one morning with the screech of exotic birds and roar of lions in my dreams - I turned over - and knackered my knee. (Knackered, you will appreciate, is a generic medical term for doing something extremely painful but you don't know what.) It is, now, funny - but last week I struggled with the 'How did you damage your knee?' questions, kindly though they were. It took time before I could stand apart from myself and watch me coming downstairs on my bottom, walking into town clinging to the railings, and almost giving up when faced with the step onto the bus - and see that this might be a bit comic.
    But time passed, I grumbled, took painkillers, the pain eased after a few days and I look back at that discomfort in disbelief that it was quite that painful. In fact recovery was so swift that, within four days, I danced the night away at a wedding - and wasn't even stiff the next morning.
    Which should be the end of it? Except that I know I have arthritis in my knees - I had arthroscopies on both knees about ten years ago (it's like a D and C of the knees) and have been warned that the day will come when I'll need more surgery.
   But I want to go to Africa. Last week, I could not have carried a rucksack. I could not have walked the corridors to the boarding gate at the airport. I could not have curled into a seat on a plane for a long flight and ever uncurled again. This week, I can sing, dance, and generally prance about like a puppy.
   So - what to do? If I go to the doctor, get into the system - the referral to specialists and the whole waiting-game - it means the whole knee-thing will take over for a while and travelling go on the back burner until it's sorted. Which could take months. Doesn't sound too inviting to me. The alternative - live for today. Go anyway, and hope I don't turn over in bed and have spend a few days days hobbling somewhere hot.
   It's a close call - what would you do?


  1. Go! But check out your insurance policy and take masses of knee support thingies and pain killers and voltarol gel :-) Oh and be sure to tell us before you set off, so we can wish you luck! xx

  2. I agree with Sue, Jo. Go go go!!! And take all those thingies just in case, and sort the knee properly on your return! And have a wonderful time!

  3. Aren't you wonderful - suggesting I do what I want to do anyway. Daughters are suspiciously silent ... and Sue, I hadn't thought about the insurance issue. But don't suppose any of that will stop me!

  4. My heart says Go...with knobs on....but my head says NO!!!!I lived in Africa, and I've done a fair bit in a few countries and I would no longer go there on my own.

    But where exactly do you fancy?

    1. Am wondering about Madagascar for starters. I have heard independent travel is difficult in some countries - where did you live? And why wouldn't you go on your own?

  5. Daughter weighing in here ...

    We have talked about this and yes I would be worried if you just went off travelling and ignored it completely.

    But I don't think it has to be as black and white as you think. Yes you will not be able to take off on another long trip but you are not planning on that anyway as far as I know. There will be time jumping from one waiting list to another when you can travel between appointments - as long as you work with your doctors and make sure you don't miss anything important I see no reason why you couldn't go away for the odd month here and there.

    And yes, after the surgery you would have to stay in the country for a bit anyway - but it would only be around 3 to 4 months and let's face it if one of us had a baby then you would be around for at least that long and probably a bit more and you wouldn't begrudge it for a minute.

    The way I see it - talking to the doctor will not stop you going - whether you put the wheels in motion immediately or decide to wait a bit. However, ignoring it to the point you were at last week is just dangerous - you could wind up doing yourself a worse injury in a place where you cannot get help so easily, and the result of that could be that you are forced to stop travelling all together (and you would be truly horrible if that happened.)

  6. Oh Anna - such common sense!! Thank you - given that you saw me at my most hobbly, I have to listen to this. I take your point I'd be truly horrible if I stopped travelling; and I would stay around without a second thought if there were a new baby to welcome. But ... given the stark choice between sitting in a hospital waiting room or an airport - there's no contest. (I know, it's not that simple ... *sighs*)

  7. Sorry to hear about your knee pain and I hope it's a long time before it bothers you again. You can't seriously be asking me what I would do because (and I may have said this before on your blog) there's no way I'd go if it was me. I think you're pretty amazing to even consider a trip to Africa. Good luck with whatever you choose.

  8. Somehow I didn't think you'd be in the group that was urging me on my way, Ros! Which makes it all the more fab that you hang in here with me - thank you.