My New Year’s resolution to post to Utterance every day in 2010 has hit its biggest challenge recently thanks to a condition a good friend describes as ‘head miles’.
I first heard him use the phrase when I asked him why it was he stayed awake all night, most nights, walking the streets.
‘Oh, I just walk around and do lots of head miles,’ he replied calmly. He put it down to a combination of schizophrenia and the drugs used to treat his condition. I can claim neither as contributing factors for my mental mileage.
Unfortunately I also cannot claim the same positive side-effect of doing lots of walking. The phenomenon has dried up quite a bit since the City to Surf although I have turned to cricket in an attempt to stay fit. That, and about a kilometre quick-march as part of my journey to work each day.
Having watched a great deal of the big game of cricket on a small box in recent years, I was clearly lured into a false sense of my own ability. In a team made up of much younger men, including my sons, it has been somewhat embarrassing to discover my body simply won’t cooperate.
During the first game, not only did I manage to go out to bat with my pads on the wrong legs, wearing left-handed batting gloves and with my helmet in an oddly sight-reducing position, but I pulled my ham string fielding in the slips.
The slips are not known for their need to move a great deal – mainly just standing their waiting for a catch – and that is no doubt why my son placed me there. However when a thick edge squirted off the bat and was flying away about three metres from me, some reflex flurry in my nervous system caused my muscles to fling my body suddenly to the right in an attempt to intercept the ball.
I had moved all of three inches, quickly I must say, when I felt the twinge at the back of my thigh, and was reduced to hobbling thereafter.
The huge crowd of two later saw me limping after another shot and thought I’d pulled a muscle when running. When they learned that it actually occurred while standing still, their mirth was, well, extensive.
This does not compare however, with the damage incurred in my second game of the season last Saturday. Before the game began we were doing catching drills and at some point I noticed my left thumb would not bend. A broken blood vessel had caused it swell up and look like a distended prune.
Then, again, fielding in slips, I turned to chase a ball and pulled a muscle in my groin, not five minutes into the game. I was very annoyed at this as I had been stretching my leg muscles tirelessly before the game but did not even know how to stretch muscles in the groin.
Still, I discovered this did not reduce my movement too much, especially if I did not lift my legs too high when running, looking a little like a robot.
It was fairly late in the other team’s innings that real disaster struck. Having pulled off a couple of startling fielding efforts, I clearly forgot the preceding muscular experiences and went chasing after a ball only to badly tear my hamstring in much the same spot as the relatively minor strain of the previous game.
This time I could barely walk and several days later I am still greatly restricted. I have to cross Broadway in Sydney on my way to work and I am in serious danger of being run over, it take me so long. Even worse, I recently walked to a nearby block of flats to find someone who has disappeared and found I could not walk up a steep hill. Eventually I turned around and went up backwards – yes, in broad daylight – and reached my destination. The person is still to be found.
The last time something like this occurred to me was straight after the 14km City to Surf event. My knee seized up after completing the race. We’d popped into a small pub for a post-race lunch and then my family marched off down the stairs leaving me to discover I simply could not go down the stairs. On this occasion I also turned around and went down backwards and presumably this was somewhat amusing, judging by the fall-on-the-ground laughing of my family…
As interesting (or otherwise) as these recollections may be, I have not mentioned much about my head miles, and so confess to being a complete failure as a blogger.
But then perhaps you have enough head miles of your own with which to deal without grappling with mine. My advice – remember your not invincible, go for long walks, listen to Switchfoot, say something to God and don’t forget to stretch your groin…