Sentimentality & Endurance

Thirty-Nine years and 51 weeks ago (give or take a few days) my parents handed me over to a team of near strangers.  Those strangers, including an Operation Market Garden veteran, one who would go on to be considered a legend and one who wouldn't...

I can't imagine what went through my parents minds as they signed the paperwork, what they felt as I was gassed up and sent down... or the frantic conversation that would've happened when there was a bleed and I had to be rushed back down.

There's a couple of trace memories from my time at Great Ormond Street - an odd dislike of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves - I think linked to a painting on the corridor down to the operating room.  There's my active dislike of clowns, trust me some clowns in hospitals when the kid is in pain don't make you laugh, or be happy... they scare the living shit out of you!

There's a more physical memory, a scar on the top of my left hand's middle finger - during a post-op check I remember waving at a friend, and then a door shutting... and me screaming... couple of stitches later and I have an amusing story...

I'm not the world's most mushy sentimentalist, I tend to live in the here and now, but there are some anniversaries that it seems appropriate to mark. 

Forty Years is a long time - and looking back I've done a lot, and hopefully done some good in there as well. I know some don't like me, or the lifestyle I lead - well to be honest, that's their problem. I'm stubborn, cantankerous and most importantly right more often than I'm wrong (at which point my friends smile, my critics point and say "arrogant" and those who really know me know that know that being right often causes me as much pain as pleasure).

That confidence has taken me into things that I know would make that cardiology/cardiac surgery team intensely proud and probably a little surprised.  They couldn't have known how far I'd be able to push this body of mine, otherwise I'd have been allowed to play more sports at school, and the less said about the advice I got about my education the better - but trust me it didn't include Uni, post-grads or doing distance learning degrees for fun...

So, I'm a recreational ultra-marathon runner who enjoys multi-day long distance walking.  And I have an anniversary to celebrate. So, 40 miles for 40 years. That's Saturday the 8th sorted.  Once and a bit around the Wirral. Though I don't do mush there will be moments of reflection, the friends who've died, the parents I know who've lost so much and as importantly my friends who will be spending a Saturday doing exactly the same as everybody else.

So, if you see a random status on FB or Twitter on Saturday saying my feet are aching a bit, ignore me - I've chosen to do this, a mile for every year I've been able to be me. All being well, I'll raise a pint to that team of 40 years ago as well...

TTFN

Paul 


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