As far as unpromising starting points go, I think I may have surpassed myself with this one: The Acute Medical Unit of the Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals. If there is an upside to bipolar disorder (I’m sure I could have phrased that better), it’s that it’s not a condition that readily lends itself to doing things by halves, and I think it’s fair to say that is a philosophy that I seem to have applied pretty assiduously to my training regime for walking El Camino, although with not entirely beneficial results, as the photograph above might suggest.
In the week prior to this jolly little scene, I had managed to cram in 5 extremely sweaty 90 minute Bikram yoga classes and 3 cardiac threatening circuit training sessions on top of the rather less challenging, but nonetheless gradient heavy, walk described in the previous post. Suffice to say that this level of exertion was not exactly in line with my typical weekly fitness programme.
The cumulative result of all this was that a trip to the loo in the early hours of Sunday morning was cut short by a complete blackout and me falling face first onto our slate-tiled hallway, having come out decidedly worse-off than the corner of the dado rail I had a brief disagreement with on the way down.
Following a fraught ambulance trip to A & E, I found myself being put through an exhaustive range of procedures ranging from CT scans to chest X-rays to being quizzed on the dates of the Second World War to check for concussion (an interesting variation on the traditional “how many fingers am I holding up?”, I thought).
And after about a further 6 hours of being plugged into a heart monitor and a saline drip, the final diagnosis was that I was massively dehydrated as a result of the aforementioned exercise regime, resulting in plummeting blood pressure and the resulting blackout; on learning that the whole thing could have been avoided by me drinking more water, I think it’s fair to say that Tiff was on the verge of giving me another black eye, especially given that we were told explicitly by one of the Boot Camp trainers that we should be drinking a minimum of 3 litres a day to sustain that level of exercise. Apparently, a few cups of tea a day was a little unlikely to have cut it.
However, according to one of the nurses in the Acute Medical Unit, the injuries I had sustained were also fairly par for the course for weekend night in Brighton; so much so, in fact, that they had invented a new term for the cause: an FFI – an acronym for the full medical term “Floor to Face Interface”.
So my training programme has suffered a bit of a setback whilst I’ve spent the week in bed looking like I’ve done ten rounds with Rocky Marciano. I am also finding myself having to tell people who ask me what’s happened that I’ve had “a bit of a nasty fall” which makes me sound about 90.
It’s clearly not for the faint-hearted, this walking business.