Sunday, 10 April 2016


It’s Saturday night and I’m at home all alone, except for Rose…scrap that. It’s Sunday morning—time flies when the drugs are working, and no one needs to hear me feeling sorry for myself!

On Thursday night, I tried a relatively benign transition on the aerial cloud, from crucifix to a straddle (like this, only hanging and on a cloud that I'd twisted up, instead of a teardrop). As I was resting back with a lot of weight on my bottom ribs, I heard a loud pop and felt a sensation of something giving way. I didn’t fall, and I still managed to do a shoulder stand and a neck hang afterwards, but something felt very wrong. I think it was just the adrenaline keeping me going—once I’d cooled down, it was Painful. Yep, with a capital P.

I managed to do this after hurting my rib, but a few hours later I still couldn't move. This photo, which doesn't feature me, is from Maevy Aerial Arts.

I can move around a bit more this morning but I still can’t sneeze, cough or laugh without severe pain. The after-hours doctor ruled out major pneumothorax (a punctured lung), which would be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. But he said he couldn’t rule out minor pneumothorax, which wasn’t life threatening and would heal on its own…unless something happened to worsen the injury. And he also couldn’t rule out a fracture, which might worsen any pneumothorax or cause major pneumothorax. (I think that might have been reassuring…?)

He wanted me to go get an X-ray to check for a fracture, but he couldn’t give me a referral form because it has to be ordered by the doctor who will conduct a follow-up appointment. So diagnosing my problem would involve going to a GP (an action I try desperately to avoid; something about a history of misdiagnoses and near-death experiences) and then going to a clinic to get an X-ray and then going back to the GP. That seems like a lot of effort and money to almost certainly be told, ‘We can’t do anything to fix it, so just rest it and take pain relief as required. And If you become short of breath, go to the nearest emergency department.’

I think I’ll just rest, take pain relief, and visit the ER if things get worse. (But thanks for the tip on how to spend all my money.)

It well and truly spoiled my weekend, though. I’d lined up some friends to feed my dog, and cancelled on other friends’ social activities, in order to do a 24-hour mountain bike race with my AR team. Clive had even gone to the trouble of preparing his spare bike for me so I could test out a 29er. But attempting to race seemed like a really stupid idea, given that I couldn’t even lift a handbag without pain, and could only manage to take the dog for a slow walk. (And am a bit unco on the bike to start with.)

It’s a critical time for training—about when I should be peaking—so I’m pretty pissed about the injury. And it seems my team-mates are unhappy about it, too. The flow-on effect is that at least one of my them now thinks I’m a dirty-piker hypochondriac, which is a shame. Once upon a time, I would’ve found that really motivating, but I grew out of my ‘prove people wrong’ phase at some point in my late 20s and now I prefer to spend my time and energy on people who encourage and appreciate me. So I’ve just found this whole episode to be completely demoralising.

For now, I'm just popping Voltaren, marinating in arnica and hoping for a speedy recovery.