Injury and optimism - March 11th 2014
11th March 2014
Hearing the words 'Sorry, I can't sign your medical form as you have a heart defect' did come as a bit of a surprise to me I must admit. A heart defect eh? That doesn't sound particularly good. Is this going to mean more admin or am I going to die doing this race? Is that what you are trying to tell me?
OK - so the MDS is notoriously admin heavy with an application and payment process that is as clear as mud. Multiple things happening at multiple times and a huge amount of rumour, misdirection and confusion. What is there for all to see is the actual rule book which states you have to provide a full medical and a resting electrocardiogram (ECG) within 30 days of the race.
I have a heart condition, if you hit me, it's murder
Withnail & I references aside, there I was in the private doctors surgery in Johannesburg taking comical photos of myself whilst hooked up to the ECG. Soon after the ECG was unplugged, I walked into the doctors room, form in hand to be signed and stamped. 'So, you do have an irregularity - a right bundle branch block... you see here?', pointing at unintelligibile readouts, 'it's probably not going to cause you many issues in life, but I can't sign this form as your heart isn't 'normal'. South African frankness is legendary.
The truth is, I wasn't particularly bothered about the medical side of things. If I had an issue here, I would have probably died already - of that I am sure. The issue is... more admin. I am going to have to go and see a specialist which will undoubtedly mean even more time and effort in these last few weeks.
Given the choice between a real heart defect and no more admin and planning... i am not sure which I would choose.
Maps & Tracking
You can explore the full route to the North Pole and follow Paul’s progress with live maps that will plot his position each day as he progresses towards the pole more >
VSO is the world’s leading independent international development organisation that works through volunteers to fight poverty in developing countries (www.vso.org.uk). The Fire and Ice Challenge is aiming to raise £50,000 for VSO’s secure livelihoods programme more >