I know I should be grateful. I know it could be a lot worse. I know this is a relatively minor setback in the grand scheme of things.
But a stress fracture three weeks before my first overseas marathon?! It’s enough to make you weep. (Actually, I have wept. A lot).
After the doctor showed me the tell-tale mark on the X-ray and gave my foot a confirmatory squeeze, I made the kind of frantic suggestions you try with God when you suddenly realise your exams are far too close for you to pass without intense cramming and divine intervention.
I tried “What if I…?” in several different combinations, but to no avail. The doctor shook his head and looked at me as if I should perhaps be attending an entirely different kind of hospital as I suggested resting my foot for the full three weeks and then running really, really slowly. Or partially resting it and working up to a gentle jog. Or walking the entire thing…
But I’m going to Palestine, I pleaded. We then had a very interesting chat about the situation in the Middle East (I did not know that the queen of Jordan is Palestinian), and I felt we had built up some rapport, but he still would not come around to my way of thinking. The most he would allow was a symbolic half-mile walk. With a crutch.
“So how long is it, anyway?”
“26 miles,” I muttered.
I felt our newfound connection fizzle out in the stuffy atmosphere of a hospital consulting room. All hope gone, I dutifully repeated my recovery schedule after him: One week with the support boot and one crutch, two weeks with just the boot (walking on the heel), one week with the crutch and good runners, and a follow-up appointment on April 6th. Five days after the marathon.
“Of course, if you were ten years old, you’d be up and about in two weeks, but at your age…” He shrugged and shook his head at the X-ray of my poor, elderly metatarsals. I clambered to my feet, wondering was he about to offer me a walking frame instead of the crutches.
So that’s it. I know it could be a lot worse, but please don’t tell me that: These crutches pack quite a punch.