Archive | May, 2016

The battle

1 May

It’s 0500hrs. I know because my alarm has gone off… I pause momentarily playing that game in my head of do I get up or don’t I. It’s dark outside and all being well I’ll be working night shift tonight so it will be about 26 hours before I get a “good” sleep again. My training calls for a 2hr ride and a 10 min run off the bike. I don’t want to do it. I turn off the alarm but I sit up in bed. I am still fighting with myself. After what seems like forever, but was probably only one minute, the good conscience wins and I decide I’ve just got to do it.

I quietly exit the bedroom trying not to disturb Dave. I know lycra is very unflattering and unforgiving but I also know that it’s very comfortable on the bike. So for this reason only I drag up my bib shorts and zip up my cycling jersey. Snug. I gather the gloves, glasses, a couple of water bottles and an electrolyte/carbohydrate gel and I go downstairs to my bike. Checking it over and making it ready for a safe trip out, I head for the driveway. It’s raining. Perfect. After all my debating and fighting the inner battle I head back inside.

It’s then that I remember your face. It is a beautiful face. It’s weathered from the story of your life. I see wrinkles in the corners of your eyes. Laugh lines. I see your smile. But at the same time I see the scars. They’re red raw, but with time they will heal. I see the fear in your eyes. I hear your biggest fear is that you’ll now scare children. Your life has been all about them. Teaching the next generations as well as loving your own children and grandchildren. Your face will not be the same again though, aggressive melanoma and a 12 hour operation have seen to that. But it is still a beautiful face. I remember encouraging you that it will get better, rubbing your shoulder, holding your hand and trying desperately to remove the fear and worry from your eyes. When I took you to the ward when you were fit enough to leave our Intensive Care Unit, I will not forget my parting words.  I do the Noosa Triathlon every year with Smiling for Smiddy – to raise money for melanoma research – and this year I’ll be doing it for you.

I try and be quiet as I come back into the house… but it’s a bit harder with my bike. I open the back doors and head straight out to the balcony where I now relocate my ride. It’s time to put my bike on the wind trainer instead. 2 hours on a wind trainer isn’t exactly my idea of fun. I love cycling don’t get me wrong… but I love it for the cool breeze in my face, the distance you can go, the sights you can see. You get none of this on a wind trainer – it’s a mental battle on a wind trainer, physically getting nowhere. The only thing ticking over is the clock… no record of speed or kilometres done… no breeze to keep the sweat from running down my face…  It’s a hard fought battle on the wind trainer. I know each crank of the pedals will make me stronger. I won’t forget my promise to you, just one of my patients. I get to choose my battle but you didn’t get a say in yours. I’ll keep training if you keep fighting.

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