>Starting Over

>Its the early hours of Wednesday morning as I type this.

The good news is that I have been increasing the miles I have cycled. I did 11 miles on Monday and 15 miles on Tuesday. I know its not much, but its the start of my road to recovery and to the Police Unity Tour. I lost all of November, December and most of January through injury. I would normal have done over 1500 miles in this period (possibly as many as 2000 miles with the Christmas break, instead I have done 36 miles in this period.

Tuesday’s ride even included a hill or two. Nothing particularly hard, but its a start. I need to get used to them again. My knee is not 100% right and there was some pain whilst riding, but nothing I can’t put up with and there was no long lasting pain after the ride.

More good news is that I’m planning to return to work on Monday of next week (1st February). I rang work today and broke the good news to them. I have to say that for all I may complain about my work at times, they have been excellent about the time I have had off. I have not been put under undue pressure to return or been made to feel bad about the time I have had to take off. So to that end I should be grateful to my work.

Ironically, today I received a letter from the NHS asking me to contact them to arrange an appointment to see a consultant about my knee. I have only been waiting for an appointment since Dec 21st. I will be contacting them to see what date they offer, but I am lead to believe there is at least a 4 week wait, if not longer. Thus it would be at least 2 months since the scan results were given to me before I get to see a consultant. If he were to refer me for physio, I can imagine another few weeks delay would ensue. I’d still be unable to work in April if I had waited for the NHS.

Last night (Monday) night, I went to watch Leyton Orient play away at Charlton in a League One football match. The emphasis being on the word s “went to watch”. When I arrived at the ground I realised that my match ticket was in my other coat at home- whoops. I had the choice of paying £25 for another ticket or waiting in the pub next to the ground till the game ends for a lift home. A third option would have been to travel home alone by public transport, but this was a none starter owing to the time it would take.

The pub next to the ground advertises live football on Sky TV and as the ground was next door and the game was on Sky TV, you would expect it to be on would you not?

You would be wrong. The pub chose to show Zambia v Nigeria in the African Nations Cup. Can you imagine pubs in Newcastle showing that game instead of a Toon game that was on TV? All I can say thank you for my mobile phone and lengthy conversations to pass the time. No thanks to Greg who sent me constant texts from the ground telling me how fantastic the game was.

The final insult for me was that Orient got a rare away win at a side 3rd in the Division. The consensus in the car on the way home was that I should stay in the pub instead of going to all future Orient games. I agreed on the condition they paid for all my drink whilst I’m there. Sadly they decided the price was too high.

>The Sun Always Shines on TV

>Since my last post, I have had another session of physiotherapy and it has again helped my knee. I am now walking a lot easier and intending to get on my bike this coming week and try to build up my fitness. I am hoping to get back to work a week on Monday (2nd February) assuming the knee continues to recover and the medical advice is favourable.

I have to say that the knee is not fully right, and I don’t expect it to be by next week, but it has healed enough to let me start thinking about getting back to work. I think the tear in the cartilage was not the main problem with my knee. I repeatedly complained about pain above the knee, not from the cartilage area. The physiotherapist thinks that I suffered 2 injuries not one, and I agree with that.

If I had not paid to see the consultant privately, I would still be waiting for an appointment with him, and would probably be at least a month away from having physiotherapy, and consequently be at least another month away from being able to get on my bike or to consider going back to work. So much for the NHS providing treatement to everyone according to their needs.

I gave my leg a good workout yesterday when I went to see Newcastle lose in the FA Cup to the referee (oh, I think there was a team called West Bromwich Albion (WBA) there as well, but they only had a supporting role to play). He managed to give 1 goal where the ball was not over the line, 2 very dubious penalties, sent off a Newcastle player (wrongly) and booked five others, whilst not giving anything to us or booking any WBA players. Even the papers today were slating the referee, so its not just my biased view. Didn’t want to go to Wembley this year did we? Still the good news is that we are playing at Swansea on Valentine’s weekend. I guess that females around the Tyneside will be rather upset as it seems to be a game everyone is planning to go to.

Even the West Brom Fans Failed to Turn Up

Let me start by giving my apologies to a certain lady now about that weekend. I told her the news yesterday when I got back from Birmingham about Valentine’s weekend. I suppose that when she said “You love Newcastle more than me”, it was rather tactless of me to reply “I love Sunderland more than you”. I can tell you plates hurt when they hit you- especially with your dinner on them. A lesson learned.

To bring the thread back to cycling matters, I’m relying on the weather being ok this coming week so I can get some miles in. I need to be back to doing 25 miles a day before next Monday so I can commute to work again. Its a case of hoping that its not just on TV that the sun always shines.

>I Could Be Happy

>Why could I be happy?

Well another day and another short ride on my bike. My knee feels less painful today than yesterday, albeit still hurting. I’m hoping to ride further tomorrow. I want to try to do 10 miles tomorrow in the morning.

I have a physiotherapist appointment in the afternoon on Thursday and a hopeful that he will say to continue riding.

The above is the good happening.

Less good is the fact my car appears to have a fault with the fuel pump and is going to need repairing ASAP. I was going to book the car into the garage for repairs, but I have somehow mislaid my wallet. I last saw it on Monday. All my bank cards, driving licence, store cards etc are in their. Without my wallet, I am struggling to get access to my money. I cancelled one of the cards today, but have been waiting to hear from someone if my wallet was at their house. I didn’t want to cancel all the cards if the wallet was there. When they called tonight they confirmed my wallet wasn’t there.

I was left to start planning how to get access to my cash without cards etc, meaning I’d have to go to the bank and get cash over the counter. Ethical banking is fine, but it does have the drawback of not having a bank anywhere nearby.

I’ve turned the house and car upside down looking for the wallet. I’ve even been through the rubbish bags just in case…. No joy.

Finally about an hour ago, I found the wallet. It was under the telephone in my study. Quite why it was there I have no idea. At least I’m not left without easy access to funds. To say I was relieved is an under statement.

I just have to book my car in for repairs now. I’m not looking forward to the cost of that.

Thursday night brings with it the joys of the LVYCC committee meeting. I’m chairing the meeting at which we are supposed to be discussing the future constitution of the committee and the club as a whole. Nice light subject matters. Quite how I’m going to get there with my car in the state its in, I’m not sure.

Does this post explain the song in the title? Probably not, but I wanted an excuse to watch the Clare Grogan video that is linked to the title. Yes, I’ll admit to still thinking she’s hot. I know I know, I’m a sad individual.

Now how about making a donation to my sponsorship target.


>Its a positive post today


Well Newcastle avoided losing in their top of the table clash with West Brom on Monday night to remain top of the Championship.

Tuesday night Leyton Orient won against Yeovil to take them out of the relegation places in League One. It was a deserved win and the first game they have played this year.

Thirdly and most importantly, I was able to ride my bike for the first time since November. Following my physio’s advice, I rode it gently and did a 5.5 mile loop from my house. Its nothing special, a very flat route on relatively quiet roads. I rode it in a very low gear so as not to put undue pressure on my knee.

I have to say that the knee is now throbbing somewhat. I hope that is caused by the sitting with my leg bent rather than the cycling. I’m hoping to ride again tomorrow. I’m going to do the same little ride again, very gently again. I am due to see the physio on Thursday, so we can review how my knee is then.

Hopefully this is the start of my recovery. I want to get back to work. I’m struggling not to lose focus being at home all the time. There is only so much surfing the net and resting that one can do.

I am starting to look towards the Police Unity Tour with a little more hope. Then there is the prospect of a LEJoG to look forward to in the summer. That will be good to do it with friends.

>Start Me Up

>Well another week over, another sick note from my GP! This time for another two weeks. However, its not all negative- quite the contrary.

I’ve been to see the physiotherapist again and after some treatment, my knee is feeling better and I can see the green shoots of recovery. (Hopefully more real than the green shoots of recovery that politicians keep seeing for the economy). I have 2 more sessions of physio over the next two weeks to undertake. The physio thinks gentle riding on my bike on the turbo trainer will be good for me – I like this physio’s advice.

I got the disc of my MRI scan today from my GP to give to the physio, so I did what most people would do and loaded it onto my laptop to view the scan results. Why I did that, I have no idea as I have no idea what I was looking at or what it should look like.

I’m hoping that February may see me back at work again.

As part of my positive thinking, I have already started looking ahead to a potential re visit of LEJoG this summer. I had preliminary chats over the last two nights with some of those who are interested in doing the same. Come on now Drew, Greg, Joe (& potentially David), get your minds on the task in hand and get started on the necessary training for this ride. Hopefully it will take place at the end of July/ early August.

The preliminary discussions are for our doing it in 14 days or less. It will probably be mostly unsupported, This will make it harder than last year as I will have to be carrying all my own luggage all the way.

The idea is to use the same route as I used in 2009, subject to a few tweaks.

Its nice to be able to look positively at things and see the chance to plan for some riding. This positive attitude seems to have coincided with the snow going- is there a connection?

What else has been happening?

Well, I finally got round to buying myself a laptop and setting up a wireless network at home. Great, it means I can surf the net on the nettie now! What it really means is that I can surf the net downstairs whilst watching the TV, and trying to update my facebook profile.

I’ve also spent a couple of days trying to sort out my credit file. It appears that a certain Credit Reference Agency whom I can’t name for legal reasons, but for simplicity lets call them Equifax, have recorded that I have numerous credit cards that do not still exist and in some cases have never existed. This has an adverse effect on my credit rating and needs resolving.

The prospect of getting back on my bike and doing LEJoG and the Police Unity Tour ride has me thinking its time to lose some weight. So the diet starts on Monday.

My New Years resolutions remain on course. I’m not saying what they are, but I’m on course to keep them at present.

>The Long & Winding Road

>Well I went to see a consultant last week. As I was still unlikely to get to see a consultant on the NHS for at least another month, I arranged on Wednesday an appointment with a consultant privately for the next day. (Who says money doesn’t buy you preferential treatment?)

The consultant told me that he would prefer not to operate on the tear as it was difficult to get to the damage and there was a serious risk of an operation causing more damage than I have at present. The consultant instead drained some fluid off the knee and sent me for physiotherapy.

Again thanks to the miracles of paying privately, I was able to see a physiotherapist the same day. After a lengthy consultation and some manipulation he gave me a series of exercises to perform daily. He also told me that I appear to have two injuries to my knee; the tear that was shown up in the MRI scan, and a possible boney injury just above my knee cap on the left side of the left knee. This confirms what I have thought all along. Since Thursday, I have been more aware of the two different injuries and the pain is coming from the injury above the knee cap rather than the tear.

I have an appointment with the physiotherapist again on Thursday, and am seeing my GP on Friday and hope to get some form of x ray referral for the injury above the knee cap. I am starting to think the tear is a minor issue and can be resolved by the exercises to build up the other muscles in my knee to ease the pressure on the tear. The pain above the knee cap is concerning me as it appears to be getting worse not better.It is some 9 weeks or so since the accident and should have been getting better if it was just bruising. At least that is what I would have expected, but I am not a doctor!

There was some good news from the physiotherapist though as he advised me that using an exercise bike would be good for my knee if I used it gently. Guess who has got the turbo trainer out of the shed and will be riding everyday in the house now? The only downside is that he told me to use a geared bike, not my favourite fixed wheel bike.

Both the consultant and the physiotherapist left me with some hope that I will be able to ride in the USA in May on the Police Unity Tour. So to that end things are positive.

I can’t leave this post without a word on the weather. I know many people had problems getting into work this week because of the weather. Not me though. My problems were not weather related. Actually here in Ilford we never got more than about 1″ of snow. I feel left out as apparently the rest of the country have had loads of snow.

>Reasons to be Cheerful

>Just a brief post today (well really its about what happened on Tuesday), but things seem to be looking up slightly.

Firstly, thanks to my parents for offering to fund me to go privately for any operation on my knee if it will speed up the operation. Thanks – its much appreciated

Secondly, I spoke to the lawyer dealing with my claim and she confirmed that I could recover the cost of any operation from the other side, assuming liability can be proved. She also confirmed that I could recover the cost of private care – eg someone travelling to look after me after any operation, and for their time in attending to me.

Thirdly, I have an appointment with my GP tomorrow with a view to arranging to see a consultant on a private basis to speed up the process

Fourthly, I sent off the application form for the New York State Bar exams today, so that is something to look forward to with excitement and trepidation

On a very different note, my medical issues were put into perspective when last night I was informed that the daughter of friends of mine died suddenly in her sleep on Christmas night. Suddenly my problems seem insignificant.


>Well its been nearly 2 weeks since my last post. What has happened in that time?

Well we’ve had Christmas. I spent that at my parent’s house (again). I seem to fall into that generation that keep going back to mummy & daddy. I only do it to keep my mother happy. She is only happy when she has her brood around to fuss over. So now you understand, I’m totally unselfish and only go home to keep my mother happy. I don’t go home for the free food, drink, cooking, ironing etc.

I headed up on Wednesday and had a long and enjoyable ride back home. Its amazing the memories that come back of past events as you head back to your old stomping ground!

I managed to see my son for a bit before he went back south to his mother’s for Christmas. Shame Tom left his mother’s Christmas card in Durham and then forget it again this weekend. Never mind Tom, you’ve got it early for next Christmas.

As my mother would only be able to cope with so much excitement, I left to head back down south on Boxing Day morning. I spent the time between Christmas and New Year trying to rest my knee, but the chance to spend time with friends meant it did not get as much rest as it should.

A relatively quite New Year’s Eve was determined by the injured knee. It wouldn’t have been too good to have been dancing on tables ALL night long.

New Year’s Day brought a chance to go home and spend a quiet evening in with Tom and I spent all day Saturday with him as well. Quality bonding time, or a chance to get him to look after me and run around at my instructions? You decide.

Saturday also brought a 2nd chance this week to see my mate John & his family. Its a bloody long way to meet up now they live in Penzance. Still it was good to see them all and catch up on happenings in their lives. The only worrying thing is his little daughter remembers me as the man who gave her sweeties…..

Now, its back to the harsh reality of life after the holidays, so I am not back at work and instead am spending the day trying to catch up on paperwork and pay off my debts.

The knee is getting worse, but I think that may just be too much exertion over the last few days causing it. I’m still waiting to get a date to see a consultant. The NHS doesn’t seem to use technology very well. In theory, I should have been able to book an appointment immediately, but in reality, my GP writes to consultant, who writes back to me with appointment date… Snail mail as well. They don’t seem to like this new fangled email thingy.

As I type this, its a beautiful winter’s day outside, bright sunshine, no wind etc. Perfect riding conditions? Grrrrrrr…….. That motorist who knocked me off is getting me more angry by the day. Still at least this absence from work will boost the compensation claim. Small comfort for the pain and being stuck at home.

I have decided to use my time positively however. I decided to pay off all my outstanding bills, but the Internet banking website I use is down today! Great eh?

If I had Sky TV, I’d spend the days watching England in South Africa in the cricket, but I don’t have it….

Positives about the accident-
1. the whiplash is still not healed yet, so I have an excuse to get the dry cleaners to do all my ironing.

2. I am an expert in relationships now after watching so much Jeremy Kyle

3. I’m fluent in Cbeebies and CITV

4. Erm…..Well actually, there is another one and that is that I am going to use the time to do some personal studying. I am intending to study for the New York State Bar Exams. Why am I going to do this?… A bit like the reason I chose to cycle LEJoG last year (see http://www.aminearlythere.blogspot.com ) – simply because its a challenge. Its a 6 month course, and if I pass it I will be qualified as a US Attorney! Mad -I must be?

Right, time to go and see if I can pay my online debts and then register for the US Bar course.