“It’s okay, I was in the T.A.”

As part of my post-hip-replacement rehabilitation, I have been building up my walking distance.  Which works perfectly in line with my plans to climb Mount Snowdon next year.  Coming from Wales and having never been up Snowdon (not even on it’ s mountain train!), has always been something of an embarrassment for me. However, years of dealing with the pain and inconvenience that is Hip Dysplasia, meant it was never possible. But with two brand-spanking new hips, I could work towards that, right?

Man oh man, was I in for a surprise.  It’s been 18 months since my first hip replacement and I’m 6 months post-op after the second. Through all the surgeries and rehabilitation, I’ve got very accustomed to hard work, all the while being mindful that I was slightly fragile on the inside.  But with my new sturdy frame, I’ve been able, and encouraged by my (slave-driving) physio, to push it just that little bit more.

Having slowly built up to one mile…. then one-and-a-half miles…. with Himself cheerleading from the side-lines, we have now reached a whopping 6 miles. I would like to point out that this is all on flat ground and takes me about 3 hours, but it’s still an epic achievement in my eyes. To think that 2 years ago, I couldn’t even get around a supermarket with a basket of shopping!

With this accomplishment under our belts, we tentatively discussed including some hills in our treks – which needed to be done if we were ever going to consider Snowdon.

On many a drive, I’ve often admired the Wrekin from a distance, one of several hills in Shropshire, England.

Himself eternally ready to offer his words of encouragement “we’ll go up there soon, it won’t be long and you’ll be able to do that”.  All along I would be cautiously trying to convince myself, thinking “YEAH! He’s right, of course I could, why couldn’t I…?”.  Knowing full well what kind of effort that would take on my part.  Rehab just to get my leg working again was always a mission enough, so doing the kind of ‘fun’ calorie-burning outdoor activities others take for granted was whole different thing.

But you know what, we did it… I climbed my first hill!! To say I was chuffed was an understatement.

As it turned out, it wasn’t the climb I needed to be worried about, it was the descent! Himself gave a suggestion “if you think you can make it, we’ll go down the other side” meaning, the distance it would add to our journey to get back to the car, which may add more of a challenge to our hill climb. Little did we know what was in store and that THIS part of our hike would be my test.

As we descended, it got steeper and steeper.  The stones beneath my feet were causing me to skid downhill every few metres.  How did this happen? Were we even on the path anymore? The sudden lack of other people around should have been an indicator that we’d gone off the beaten track.  I went from tree to tree, holding on for dear life. My legs shaking beneath me with every step. Who knew it was more difficult going DOWN hill. Himself, who also appeared surprised at how steep it had suddenly gotten, juggled between holding tightly on to the lead of our excited pooch, who seemed to love our off-road experience, and offering his arm to me for support. I looked back up, desperately considering a different route, or even retreat, but it was too far to try going back up now… we had to carry on.

Fear-driven thoughts started appearing in my head… sleeping out in this wood, that it would get dark, wolves would be howling and I would be stuck on this rocky face, cuddled up to Himself under a tree, awaiting our rescue.  So, feeling slightly silly, through worry, I had to ask.  “Darlin, are you sure you know where we’re going, we’re not going to get stuck are we?”. A tone of anxiety must have been clear in my voice and no doubt written across my face, as he turned to me and very casually and confidently said, “..of course we won’t”  then cheekily followed by “…anyway, if we do, it’s okay, I was in the T.A”

That one sentence stopped me in my tracks, I looked down at his deadpan face but he was unable to hide the glint in his eye… in that instant, laughter roared out of me so hard I couldn’t stand up straight. It completely floored me, along with all my fear.

We made it to the bottom and back to the car, me giggling all the way.

Naturally, not only has this now become our new catchphrase but it will be a continuous reminder to me that as crippling as fear can be, I will always be able to get through it with the power of laughter… and with a little help from a man who was in the Territorial Army…!

 

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