“It takes a village to raise a child”
An old African proverb, perhaps most famously used by Hilary Clinton as part of a much earlier run for the White House than the recent clusterfuck in 2016. It always struck me as such an eloquent way to sum up a simple truth. I am a function of the parts of every place I have lived, from (what was then) often described as Britain’s ‘gun capital‘ to a city more Hogwarts than Dirty Harry.
In many ways my village was not and is not a place as such. I was born in the NHS and live and thrive¹ by its grace. Does anyone not? Does anyone get to become scrawny and old² without using it or needing it? Even those that hate the concept and only go ‘private’, use social insurance (look it up, it does exist) or just smell to get well (FFS…) will still be using the NHS. Our system trains the doctors that work in public and private systems and revives those that take cures what ails them based on organic frog spawn³.
Our healthcare system is a living embodiment of that old African proverb. You may say “Come on Rusty you’re not a child anymore” but I am male. As an ex once said “There are many boys, some blokes but very, very few men”. I’m still a big kid 🙂
And a big kid with MS….well you know the drill. If it’s not the co-morbidities that hurt it’s the treatment and lifestyle to counter them that do. My running may have finally got the better of me. At the recent Bearbrook 10k, a hilly race that I totally misjudged the pacing of, I managed a PB of 42 minutes 3 seconds. In the final 500m I hit a wall (mental not physical) and struggled over the line.
More annoyed than pleased I at least went home thinking job done, holiday time. The day after, my left hip stiffened up dramatically, an episode I just reduced to over exertion on a tough race and age. It was still ‘runnable’ and I would take it easy on a two week break in the sun.
Forty degrees and counting wasn’t perhaps the best running weather but the countryside was glorious in Spain and the hills begged to be touched. I stuck to a 5 mile course early evening and the hip got no worse and actually began to improve a little. But then I can never just stick to the script.
One day I went on a new run to the lake and back and got lost. I barely speak English let alone Spanish, I had no phone, money or water. Stopping would have been futile as the heat was still in the high 30s and there was little shade. Speeding up disastrous as my adventures on a Portuguese island last summer showed (blog passim). I ended up back at base 9 miles later more foolish than thirsty, but only just.
Now I can’t run. I am a hipster and not the cool kind. My hip has gone.
Now I need my village. My physiotherapist. My psychologists. My chiropractor.
I need time I haven’t got and patience I never had.
Barcelona is in a month. The Great South just a couple of weeks after. My village will get me over the line for the first, the second I just don’t know. Maybe it’s the end. The point is it takes a village. Go find yours.
¹(terms and conditions apply)
²(other conditions are available)