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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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)
> 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.
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.
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.
> 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.
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.
> 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...