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ARTICLE: From Intensive Care to Bob Graham Round - the saga of an epic journey

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Preparing for a big hill running round is a long hard road for anyone, but nearly dying doesn't usually feature in the training schedule. Rob Greenwood reflects on the cavernous lows and surprising highs of a truly life-changing year. 

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 climberchristy 30 Aug 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Truly inspiring Rob. A great account which is both moving and entertaining.

 petemeads 30 Aug 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

What a story - despite all your tribulations, still a minute quicker than me and I had no excuses!

Thanks a lot, it makes me feel a bit less bad about the sciatica which is currently keeping me off the hills, at least I don't have the horrible disfigurement (or the scars 🙂)...

 Charlie Boscoe 30 Aug 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Bloody hell, Rob! What a story - heartwarming, inspiring and scary all at once. 

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Thanks for sharing Rob. Fascinating, Horrifying, Inspirational and Heartwarming all in one piece. An epic story of accomplishment.

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Brilliant, Rob!  Thanks for this - inspirational and a definite wake-up call for those of us who struggle to get off our arses at the best of times!

Cheers, Andy

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Lovely piece of writing Rob. You and Penny are very lucky to have each other

 robmatheson 30 Aug 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Inspirational on many fronts Rob. I was shocked and had no idea of what you and your family had been through, and I must admit I felt a lump in my throat as I finished the last few sentences. Really well written with such an open, modest and intimate style. Climbing wise you are obviously back - a free solo of Broad Stand. Respect. 

 olddirtydoggy 30 Aug 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

I was recovering for a few months after knee surgery this last year and thought I'd been through a bit of a meat grinder. Turns out I'd had a mere blip on the radar reading your account. Amazing to read, really inspiring stuff.

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Holy christ that was quite a read, fair play to you. Glad you're still here.

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Wow, a great and inspiring read.

 biscuit 30 Aug 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

I’m not crying, you’re crying! 
 

What a team you guys are. I sincerely hope that is the worst year of your lives. And look what you achieved in it, a BGR and a new addition to the team. 
 

Great read, well written and thanks for sharing. 

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Wow! That is an amazing story of perseverance and endurance and survival. Well done, to you and your whole family.

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

I had to stop reading! Sounds and looks horrific, glad you’ve made a full recovery (I assume, like I said, I never finished but doing the BG suggests the worst is over!). I might dive back in and read the rest as I am keen to be inspired by the Rocky style comeback training.

Post edited at 23:07
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

I think you could say that the year you have described so well in this article was truly epic.

Well done, I hope you are all restored to good health.

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

That is so cool Rob. What an amazing writer you are, not to mention everything else, so brilliantly told. This article alone is worth a literary prize

 George Ormerod 31 Aug 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Amazing. I usually find myself easily wandering off reading stuff on my phone, but this was such a real, warm, funny telling of life. Bravo. 

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

I don't know what to say but well done (which doesn't seem to cover the half of it!). Hope you and the family are all ok.

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

This is simultaneously horrific and inspiring in equal measures.

You have made an incredible recovery, I can't fathom getting the fitness for the BGR from sitting on my arse working, let alone from being in intensive care.

Without wanting to go off topic too much, this story also reinforces my antipathy to how the GP system is implemented in the UK, it should have never got to the point where a standard manageable condition became life threatening because of "muh, probably gastroenteritis".

I very recently (as in last week) contracted actual bacterial gastroenteritis while on holiday in Greece and the very first thing the doctors did (after a COVID test) was checking it's not appendicitis, presumably so that things like this don't happen to people...

 chris m fisher 31 Aug 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

What a year! To complete the BGR in between all of that is unfathomable - outstanding effort. All the best for your number one priority.

 olly.climbs 31 Aug 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Wow - you and your family have been thru the wringer - well done for enduring and surviving, and then doubly impressive to do a solo BGR after all that. Great article, thx for sharing (and thx to the NHS too)

 galpinos 31 Aug 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Thanks a lot Rob! Your postscript had me bawling my eyes out. Had to pull myself together for my post lunch meeting......

What a fab story. Hope Penny's doing better and congratulations to you both.

 Forest Dump 31 Aug 2021
In reply to Alkis:

GPs give the NHS a bad name imo!

And respect to Rob and family, up there with the best of ultra running and recovery stories!

 Ally Smith 31 Aug 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Thanks for sharing Rob - such a well written piece; the final paragraphs are particularly stirring. I think I must have something in my eye

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

I literally have no words!!! WTF, what a story!!! 

 Jenny C 31 Aug 2021
In reply to Alkis:

> This is simultaneously horrific and inspiring in equal measures.

> You have made an incredible recovery, I can't fathom getting the fitness for the BGR from sitting on my arse working, let alone from being in intensive care.

> Without wanting to go off topic too much, this story also reinforces my antipathy to how the GP system is implemented in the UK, it should have never got to the point where a standard manageable condition became life threatening because of "muh, probably gastroenteritis". 

I was sent home by my (female) GP with menstrual cramps, as I 'wasn't in enough pain for it to be appendicitis'.

That was aged 30 - trust me, after over 200 cycles I know my body well enough to know that that was not normal. At least they took bloods as a precaution and the next day sent me to hospital, so I got surgery to remove the appendix before it actually ruptured.

 Nic Barber 01 Sep 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Congrats on the recovery and the round Rob - well written and all the best!

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Thanks to everyone for the kind comments.

I'd originally titled this article 'reflections on a weird year', as that seemed to encompass just how strange it really was, although it's been stranger still to reflect upon a year later, as it all felt pretty abstract - like it happened to someone else.

Whilst I have the physical reminder of what happened in the form of my large (and very weird/bulgy) scar, it's been easy to forget the rest, and writing this has given me a good excuse to remember.

Thanks once-again,

Rob

 simes303 01 Sep 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Blimey. Well done.

 geoff b 01 Sep 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Hi Rob

Long time since we climbed together & by torchlight I think. Read your story, though not sure I 'enjoyed' it! It rang some scary bells for me, as I went through a very similar experience in 2009. My wife rushed me to hospital with a suspected appendicitis but after 5 days in absolute agony (& then on morphine) they opened me up to 'explore' & found a strangulated intestine. I ended up with a similar scar to you, looked 20 years older & walked like an 80 year old! Like you, the road back to full fitness took time, but it happened. Nothing quite like a close call to remind you of what's important in life.

See you in Llanberis sometime.

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

A hell of an inspirational tale with unfortunate NHS mis-diagnoses at the start. But what a recovery and against such problems. Well done that man!

Post edited at 20:55
In reply to Chris_Mellor:

> A hell of an inspirational tale with unfortunate NHS mis-diagnoses at the start.

To misdiagnose something you have to attempt to actually diagnose and get it wrong. It does not appear that any such effort was made... I understand not wanting to see him the first time, but the second is ridiculous.

 Misha 02 Sep 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Thanks for sharing, inspirational. Here’s to a better year next year for you all! See you around some time.

 goose299 02 Sep 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Such a fantastic read! Well done Rob

 Toby Dunn 02 Sep 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Great article Rob, well done.  

 steveriley 02 Sep 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Chapeau.

Far too good a story to rush at my desk, saved and went back! My kid had a burst appendix one Christmas and I've been involved in a couple of BGRs so have some clue. Winner!
 

 Souljah 02 Sep 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Wow!! That's an incredible story.

Rob must be a contender for the unluckiest man in the land.... Taking off on a B.G. round to get away from it for 23hrs!!

 wilkesley 03 Sep 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

I think you were unlucky with your wound opening up after the clips were removed. I had a similar incision five years ago when part of my large intestine was removed because I had bowel cancer. The nurse who was trying to remove the clips was so tired he was literally falling asleep when he tried to take them out. I suggested that he ask somebody else to do it.

When I came round after the operation I was attached to a morphine pump. When you start to feel the pain you click a button and it sends a dose of morphine into your blood. It's regulated so you can't overdose.

My hospital has what they call "Rapid recovery". Soon after you wake up you are dragged out of bed and marched along the corridor. One of the nurses gave me a Tesco bag to hold all the various tubes and bags coming out of my abdomen.  

 Stichtplate 05 Sep 2021
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Sounds like you’ve been through the ringer and come out the other side to make a remarkable recovery. Out of interest, were you given the option of a face to face with your GP? Ring 111 at any point?

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Great article. Really inspiring stuff and I’m glad you’re all on the mend 

In reply to Stichtplate:

> Sounds like you’ve been through the ringer and come out the other side to make a remarkable recovery. Out of interest, were you given the option of a face to face with your GP? Ring 111 at any point?

Sorry, I totally missed this one coming through - I was on holiday in Cornwall at the time.

No option was given for a face-to-face meeting with the GP, because (at least from what I remember) they didn't want people with suspected norovirus/gastroentritus in/around the surgery. Whilst I did speak to them on the phone, I actually passed the phone over to Penny, because I traditionally underplay whatever it is I'm going through - hence give the impression that I'm fine. Penny, however, could provide a far more accurate of the situation and tell them how f**ked I really was!!

When I was eventually admitted to hospital it was late at night - hence we had to call 111 - and it was at that moment they told us what we should probably have been told several days before, which was to get ourselves to A&E immediately. 

There's definitely a part of me that wonders 'what if...', but I've tried not to dwell on it too much. It definitely feels like it was preventable, but for one reason and the next wasn't.

With hindsight I'd just have called 111 straight off, but alas - here we are...


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