Let me say at the outset that I have met some amazing representatives of the medical community and all of them are caring people, dedicated to their profession. But, sjeesh, they can be a circus too.
And what really gets me going is the assumption that medical aid will pay and pay and pay. Not so when there is a mere hospital plan in place - then its the credit card that gets hung out to dry.
For two years, I have struggled with calf injuries which apparently have been anything from a spasm in a trigger point to tears in the muscle. My frustration is that I have run and ridden for years and now, I am battling on much lower running mileage.
So the physios poke and prod and stick needles in sensitive places. They test flexibility and suggest endless exercises to compensate. But one talks about muscles that are too tight and other muscles that are too weak. Another focuses on nerve mobility but the problem persists. Yet another just massages the hell out of the muscle so that I couldn't run if I tried. WTF. Oh and I didn't mention countless trips to the chiro which leaves me wonderfully straight but for the shortest time.
Then the GP gets in on the act unsolicited and gives another explanation after a cursory check. Then the sports specialists nods his head, asks a few questions and refers my case to the bio-kinetiscist and all of them charge like wounded buffalo.
By now, I could have bought several pairs of Assos cycling shorts for what I've spent on getting nowhere in terms of being able to run again.
But why, oh why, did none of them suggest measuring calf strength to check for imbalances and strength differential?? It seems so obvious now.
A session with the bio and so many things fall into place. A fancy machine which threatens to pop something throws up data showing between 15% and 26% difference in left and right leg. Plus, I get to see how off the scale (or not) my leg strength is. I get to see how certain movements are going to stress the muscles in my calf cos they simply aren't strong enough or balanced enough.
So its been a moerse rigmarole to get to this point and I think I can safely say that I have eliminated almost every other possible contributing factor with and without the help of the medical profession. The other upside is that my cycling may improve as a side benefit - just too weird.
Oh, the reason why I have wanted to run is because of the portaging we will do on the Freedom Challenge. Legendary bike carries such as Lehana Pass, The Ladder and Stettynskloof will require legs used to uneven ground, calves and achilles used to stretching and aching and thighs used to burning.
So, we will see how this latest attempt works out but suffice to say, I am at last hopeful.