Thursday 6 June 2019

Mountains, Myasthenia and Me

Yes it’s me again!

I can’t believe I’ve left it a whole two months (OK nearly three) to update the blog, so what’s been happening?

Last time you graced my blog with your presence, I was just starting to learn to snowboard in preparation for our holiday at Bormio in Italy with friends Jill and Andy at the end of March. 

Well it sort of went OK, a bruised coccyx on the second lesson was quite literally a pain in the arse! Thanks to co-codamol I was able to continue but it took several weeks to heal. Now I won’t say I was transformed into a snowboarding god but I gained just about enough confidence to get down the slope without falling over (too much). The three hour lessons at the snowzone were just about doable as the fatigue due to myasthenia generally kicked in big time at around two and half hours. So I knew how to pace myself when I got out on the real snow.

We arrived in Bormio, sorted out hire gear and were taken to our ski lodge, the Café Rhododendri by skidoo, all good fun! It was quite strange being “stranded” up at 2250 metres in the evenings as the only way in or out was on ski/snowboard or via skidoo. Or on a Piste groomer as it turned out later!

The next day dawned bright and sunny, the late season snow was a bit icy but there was still plenty of it. I headed down on my own to build up my confidence not wishing to have to try and keep up with anyone or hold them up. Jill and Andy (on skis) and Grainne (on her brand new snowboard) set off for Bormio 2000.

After bumbling around on the slope for a bit and getting a bit frustrated as I seemed to have lost the vast majority of my new found snowboarding skills, Andy caught up with me to say that Grainne had taken a tumble and hurt her shoulder but he thought she was OK.

Sad to say she turned out to be anything but OK; after a trip to the local hospital the diagnosis was a broken shoulder, An almost identical injury to that she suffered two years ago on her other shoulder!!!

To say she was gutted was a major understatement, first run of the first day and her holiday was effectively over. She had her essay to finish for her prescribers course so spent the rest of the week doing that, so at least had some lovely scenery and minimal distractions but not exactly what we’d planned!

I booked a couple of snowboard lessons and had to spend a lot of time on my own, punctuated of course by the occasional cappuccino of course. 

I can’t say my snowboarding improved by much and the fatigue was pretty bad at times. The altitude didn’t seem to help either. I think sleeping at 2250m was part of the problem, I remember from my mountaineering days that 2400m is the level at which altitude sickness can start to occur, so we were not too far off that. The Myasthenia has been pretty well controlled of late but I discovered the exertion of snowboarding was a real challenge.

One of the highlights of the week was getting a trip out on the Piste Bully’s grooming the slopes at night. The drivers stopped at the Café Rhododendri every night for their dinner break, so it’s a bit of an exclusive for residents only, Which on most nights was only the four of us!

After our return, life returned to normal for me and recuperation, fracture clinic and eventually physio started for Grainne.

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