Gouted, Grounded, Gutted.

The training was going well, the sponsorship less so but the big push had always been planned for the last fortnight when I was set to make personal appeals to friends and family.

Last Sunday morning I woke with a pain in my left foot, I put it down to a habit of walking around wearing old shoes without tying the laces, the curling of my toes within the shoes will often make their controlling muscles ache. The pain got worse during the day but wasn’t too much of a nuisance. In the early hours of Monday morning I had to get up to take some pain killers and come the morning proper it was clear that there was something not right at all. The pain was localised to the base of my big toe which was swollen and tender. Walking was a challenge.

So a day of leg elevation, icing and regular ibuprofen and I convinced myself that things were getting better.

Another broken night’s sleep and an increasingly swollen foot argued the opposite.

Same story through Tuesday and the night.

On Wednesday I rang the local GP practice in Skibbereen to see if I could get any help.

My recent experiences with GP practices have not been great. The dealings with the practice where I am registered in Cardiff  resulted in a summons to discuss my behaviour and attitude with their senior partner and practice manager. (Result Rees 3 Practice 0 and I take no pride in that at all, should achieving health care have to be an exercise in confrontation?)

From call, through consultation, to follow up I have been delighted. A ‘sit and wait’ appointment that morning, good. A friendly, welcoming GP who confirmed my diagnosis of gout – less so. The ‘whilst you’re here we’ll just take your BP and sort out an appointment for routine bloods tomorrow’ approach was very welcome compared with my Cardiff practice, but that’s another story.

It was quite clear that I was dealing with individuals who cared for their patients first and put tickboxes last.

Conclusion not so good but was what I feared. ‘You should not continue with your proposed trip to Africa next week. If you have another acute flare up and they need to get you off the mountain having had this so recently, your medical insurance will be invalid.”

I didn’t want to hear that. I couldn’t disagree.

  • Time to let Bridge2Aid know that I had let them down – I will do something else to make it up to you folks.
  • A discussion with the insurers about cancellations etc – all should be fine administratively.
  • Now letting folks who have sponsored me know that they will be getting a refund from JustGiving when they sort it out and I will of course make up the shortfall of 5% that they charge.
  • To the rest of the party I hope you have a fantastic trip, I’m sorry I must miss the opportunity to meet and share your company.

So a period of time to rest and get better, the steroids and anti-inflammatories are doing their job and I am no longer as ill as I was – you don’t realise how sick you have been until you start to improve.

It gives me the opportunity to reflect on a challenging 15 months and to think about the forthcoming re-launch of the business. Catching up with my fiction reading in between sleeping I came across this line from Horace at the start of the final chapter of the first Cormaran Strike novel which seemed apt.

“Nihil est ab omni. Parte beatum” and for those of you, like me, without the benefit of a classical education this translates as:

“Nothing is an unmissed blessing.”

Doesn’t make me feel any less gutted though.


Published by Alun Rees

Dental Business Coach. Analyst. Troubleshooter. Consultant. Writer. Presenter. Broadcaster.

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