Monday, 15 July 2019

Freefall: one step forward two steps back

photo: rog gribble
Between the cercarial dermatitis and the shoulder elbow of my right arm, it was obvious I'd be in no fit state to sail this Sunday. The thing that really brought home the need to rest my arm was my inability to use a guitar pick the weekend previously because there wasn't enough grip in my right hand.

I could, reluctantly, take some gardening leave from the sailing (quite literally, I spent Sunday tidying up the garden and cutting the grass) I couldn't so easily get out of the gigs lined up. So I spent last week religiously taking painkillers and resting my arm as best I could.

First gig on Friday evening at The Swan in Thornbury started with promise. I actually managed to grip the pick for the whole of one song before I had to give up on it. But having put the pick down, everything else seemed to be working well; the faster, more complex strumming patters that had defeated me the previous weekend were fine now.

So one step forward.

Or seemed to be, until I smacked the back of my right hand on the headstock of Jay's bass guitar halfway through the second set. Didn't hurt at the time, but by the last couple of songs my hand was beginning to ache. I didn't actually make the connection that night between smacking the bass and the pain in my hand, I just assumed it was a complication from the pain in my elbow, which had me worried.

By following evening at the Dolphin in Downend we were two steps back, and the pain and swelling were such that I couldn't actually strum at all, so I was reduced to finger-picking. Then I managed to smack the back of my hand against the headstock of Matt's guitar (there is a pattern here, I see), at which point the sudden accent in the pain gave me the connection between the discomfort and smacking Jay's bass the night before.

After the gig, I could actually see the bruising and obvious swelling on the back of my hand. It was actually a relief to actually be able to connect something with an obvious impact, and know that it'll heal in due course, as opposed to my shoulder and elbow, the cause of which still remains nothing but vague presumption and conjecture.

I'm aware this site is beginning to read more like a medical journal or an ode to self-pity than the record of sailing, gigging and dogs that it is meant to be. For that I apologise.

Anyway, two gigs done and out of the way, the wind was light on Sunday. It wasn't a terrible hardship to not be sailing. Or so I spent the day telling myself.

After a day of rest, my hand is, to all intents and purposes, fixed. Funnily enough, both my elbow and shoulder are giving me very little trouble today and I had a good night's sleep; hopefully that's a sign that things are finally fully on the mend. The dermatitis is still playing up something rotten; I'm giving the antihistamines a break and nuking the worst patches with hydrocotisone cream.

On Wednesday I plan to crew for Amanda again. It's relatively easy to stay out of the lake when sailing an Enterprise, especially if you've got a willing crew-mate more than happy to get their feet wet launching and recovering for you. My arm could well be better by then, well enough to helm, but Amanda's done such a brilliant job of it herself the last couple of weeks that I think she should do the whole series.

It would be good to see her to winning a trophy in her own name, or at least a bit of glassware for 2nd or 3rd. An interesting challenge.

A couple more gigs coming up this next weekend, so we'll see how well the arm has recovered. Then Sunday is a championship race at the lake. I need to sail that, pretty much regardless of whatever state I find myself in, or I won't be able to qualify for the Club Championship.

I think I'm going to be okay. I do have to decide if I wear my drysuit though, or risk my new wetsuit (I think it'll be protection enough, but can't be certain till I try it). What I do know is that I'm going nowhere near that water without one or the other.

I am seriously thinking of moving to another club with the Laser. Bowmoor or Whitefriars down towards Cirencester in the Cotswold Water Park seem to be obvious choices. Trouble is, it's a gamble that they don't have the same problem (though the odds do seem much less). And both clubs are twice the distance from home that Frampton is.

Plus there is then the headache of having duties at two clubs, as however I look at it, I really can't see myself actually leaving the club at Frampton, even if I do join up elsewhere.

I think we'll see how we feel once the arm is fully healed and I'm back into racing every weekend Im not cruising again.

No comments: