Wednesday 25 July 2018

Architecture ...

Well ... I did it. Really challenged my knee.
I went Viking cruising on the Rhine. Yep, sounds like a restful holiday but I can assure you it involved a lot of walking.

Two months ago, I wasn't sure I would be able to cope with walking the airport concourse never mind the daily scenic walks that were on offer. And as Andy and I were sailing with our pals Billy and Catherine, I didn't want to curtail their perambulations.

We started with a 6.05am flight from Glasgow to Amsterdam, then another flight onto Basel where we were to pick up our ship, The Eir. A Viking river boat is called a ship... who knew. We were very grateful that there was enough water in the Rhine for us to sail on, as during our holiday we came across other Viking travellers whose Danube voyage had been cancelled as the water level was too low. They had been transferred to some sister ships and were sailing the Rhine instead.

Eir and sister ship moored together

The Rhine, as we found out, was a very busy river with many different river "boats", long, long barges and individual cruisers. We also travelled through quite a few locks as we flowed with the river down to the sea.

Our itinerary visited many various towns and cities, viewing a broad range of architecture, reflecting the three countries we cruised through. Although we started in Basel, Switzerland, next day we moored at Breisach, Germany. Second day Strasbourg, France ... just in time for the Football World Cup! Then back to Germany, to explore Heidelberg, Koblenz, Cologne... ending up in Holland, visiting Kinderdijk and finishing at the port of Amsterdam.

Seeing the various and inspiring buildings (like how did they build that... there?) I became very aware that there is purpose in architecture. I know, I am a bit slow in the uptake...

Cuckoo Clock House, Black Forest
For instance the high sloping roofs of the Black Forest chalets allow the snow to slide off easily.

Cologne Cathedral in the distance
 Or the splendour of the churches and cathedrals that are awe-inspiring in their design and completion.


Or the castles guarding the river, their towering presence threatening any foreign invader or alternatively a perfect fit for a Disney Cartoon.

Fairy Tale Design

So that takes me to my knee, a complicated structure if ever there was one. Built for both movement and stability. No wonder it gets confused. And I hadn't helped it to function by not moving much and falling a lot. Well that is now in the past...

I only managed one walk on grass while away although I did plug into my groundology support daily. But ... and here's the key to my recovery ... I kept walking  ...
Pircturesque Strasbourg
We walked round Strasbourg, checked out Heidelberg Castle, trod the streets of Koblenz and went sight seeing in Cologne. Even took in a windmill or two in Kinderdijk...

Catherine and Eileen and beer cellar

I walked up hills and down dales and realised that each day I was getting stronger. I even took to the dance floor one evening and joy of joys didn't feel any ill effects from the unaccustomed exercise. Although not sure what the other dancers thought of my twinkle toes... as I was barefoot dancing!

Some people may comment that alcohol was an important part of my pain relief and how can I deny it when there is proof of Catherine and myself posing outside a Cologne beer house... not a bar. We are standing under a model of a friar supporting a young lad on his back. A reference to the number of clergy that managed to support their children. The people of Cologne enjoy their little jokes...

On returning home, I phoned the hospital and cancelled my operation. Well as I said the day after the dance floor experiment: "I have a damn cheek to think I need a new knee as this one is working so well for me now".

I am very grateful that whatever I am doing is working. And as the surgeon, Mr. Bennet recommended me to keep doing it ... I will!
One of the many things I am doing is affirming while walking
"I, Eileen Auld, see, hear, feel and know that the purpose of my life is to shine brightly, move freely and share abundantly"
This was a tool I learned while attending a Tony Robbins Leadership course, many years ago ... had kind of forgot about the moving freely bit!
The Auld yins
Architecture is the result of inspired thought and creative genius. It is all around us... and within us. What are you building today? I am restructuring ... more of that in next month's blog.

Sunday 8 July 2018

Strange but true

I have had quite a strange week.

It started on Sunday, with me taking my usual daily barefoot stroll. By now I am able to add walking to the famous Largs monument, The Pencil to my exercise regime. This means I have increased my walking stamina to over the 10,000 steps recommended by the British Heart Foundation... not all barefoot I must point out!

 Then Monday I made my usual monthly call to Inverclyde Hospital to find out if there was any news regarding my knee operation. The very nice secretary, Helen, was sorry but it looked like the earliest it would be scheduled for, was September...

Getting used to this conversation doesn't make it any better, but hey ho, on with my week.

Tuesday morning I get back home having visited a pal for a catch up and lo and behold the ansa fone message was to phone Inverclyde asap! and I did. Helen then gave me the great news that my new knee joint operation was scheduled for the 9th August and could I attend for my pre-op assessment the next day.

 Talk about joyous. Many of you will have received my Woohoo text as "at last" was ringing in my ears.

So yes, it was strange that one day I was being told September and the next day I was being told August, however that isn't is the strangest part.

Wednesday saw me attending my pre-op and I got thoroughly checked from top to toe. Then met with my new consultant, Mr Bennet, as my previous surgeon isn't back at full time workload.

Mr Bennet explained the operation in graphic details and then dropped in the unexpected news/bomb-shell that because I had recovered so well, he was reluctant to operate. He recommended that we agree to cancel the operation, although I obviously have to give it some thought.

 "It is quite remarkable" he said, while perusing my X-rays.
It would appear that getting better isn't the normal situation to my condition. I mentioned that I use arnica and had he heard of groundology...

Mr Bennet smiled, raised his hand to interrupt my flow.
" I am a paid up sceptic" he said, "but whatever you are doing, keep doing it".

So here I am with a quandary... and who knew that by working at getting better, I was going to change my options so dramatically, although I do realise it is for the better.

The rollercoaster ride of the joy of Tuesday, the shock of Wednesday (and it was a big shock folks) has settled into being in awe of the body's healing powers and excited about what else is possible.

Not quite sure what is going to happen now, but I intend to challenge my knee over the next week and see if it continues on its improvement trajectory... and if so, I will take Mr. Bennet's advice and cancel my operation and be grateful that I was given the intervening 9 months to change the state of my knee joint and my mental attitude...
even Buddha is cheering!