Monday, 30 November 2015

The December Blog 2015

Before I start on “my journey through life” I would like to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and I hope that 2016 grants all your wishes. I want to thank everyone who has visited my business over the last 12 months and I look forward to seeing you in 2016.

These blogs are based on areas of my life – both as a person and as a veterinarian. I have started explaining the journey that led from me joining an outrigger canoe club to where I was involved with the world’s 3rd longest outrigger canoe race this year (our canoe got a 3rd in the Open section).
But this month I would like to comment on a “walk” I had with my wife (Rhonda) up a mountain called Wild Horse Mountain (this mountain can be seen on the left side of the road as you drive the Brisbane – south of Nambour) in November this year.

It all started whilst driving to Brisbane on family errands when the conversation got around to how fit Rhonda was especially compared to myself. Now I know that these comments were aimed to hurt me psychologically because anyone who has seen me in the last 12 months knows what peak fitness I keep myself in. 
It is only in the last 2 months I had visited our family doctor who, in 2014,had compared my body and fitness to a whale (he actually recommended that I should not swim where there were Japanese and a harpoon gun) and this year congratulated me on my achievements and said that if I was only 8 foot 7 inches tall then I would be in my ideal weight range.
So here we were driving down the Pacific Highway heading to Brisbane when on our left side was a notice telling us of the lookout on top of Lone Horse Mountain. We had plenty of time and I had been listening for the last 2 hours on how she was getting “old” (it is necessary to let you all know that I am 8 years older than Rhonda so every time she complains about her age she does not get a very sympathetic ear). At the same time she was commenting on how fit she was and “what a slug” I was becoming.
“Why don’t we go walk up the mountain?” I said as passed the sign. I had seen this lookout many times from the road and thought I would like to go up there one day – I knew that you cannot drive up there and I thought it is about time someone taught this woman a lesion.
My intention was to “flog” her up the mountain and when she collapsed in an exhausted heap half way up the mountain then I would save the day and help her the rest of the way and when at the top I would remind her that age does not play a role and even though I am 8 years older I am still in peak form and she should be proud to have me as her partner.
“OK” she said “But no taking off and leaving me behind – I may need your arm to help me get to the top”.
 “No problems” I replied whilst thinking – little does she realize how fit I really was under this facade of “flab”.  Why it was only the other day I finished a training session at the local gym and the trainer did not have to use the oxygen mask and it only took me 10 minutes before I could stand up – yes I am a man of steel and would charge up this mountain leaving a gasping wife in my wake.
So we parked at the bottom of the hill and headed on up 
Now this path up the mountain is divided into basically 5 sections with a blind corner at each section so that you cannot see the next section until you turn the corner. The path is approximately 1 kilometre in length and the person who made the path was a sadist (and a fit one at that).
We started up the first section – approx. 20 degree incline. At first Rhonda and I chatted pleasantly but by the end of the first section Rhonda was still talking but I was starting to breathe a lot faster and only answering her in grunts and monosyllable statements. I secretly knew that she must be hurting inside and I was holding myself in reserve for the final push ahead. 
Then we came to the first corner.
The incline increased by around 10 degrees. By now Rhonda was exclaiming on the beautiful view and I was having a panoramic view of my shoe laces. Up we go – I am struggling but I know, deep inside, Rhonda must be hurting a lot even though she is putting on a brave face and trying to pretend that she is under no stress and doing the climb easily. 
Then we came to the next corner.
It seems to me that now the incline is more like 60 degrees. By this time I am bent parallel to the ground and the arms are pumping hard. Up ahead I can hear Rhonda talking about the view and taking photos as she walks. At one time she suggests that she should take a photo of me but after I pass an opinion on what the camera is going to look like when they eventually find it at the bottom of the mountain so she decides it might be best to just stick to photographing the scenery. By now my lungs are busting, the heart is pumping and the sweat is pouring off my forehead but I am still next to my wife.
Then we came to the next corner.
I am sure the incline increased to 75 degrees. My eyes cannot see because the sweat is pouring down my forehead and into my eyes. My lungs are busting, I am sure I am dealing with altitude sickness and my brain has basically ceased to function. My tongue has swollen to 3 times its size and I am sure that my head is so close to my shoes that I could lick the dirt off the toe area. I am weaving from side to side of the track and my knuckles are dragging on the ground. A little old grey haired man passes me pushing his “walker” and then kindly offers to let me use the “walker”. A family pass me (heading up the mountain) – I look up to see in their midst a grandmother on crutches with a broken leg still talking to the rest of the family about the scenery and what she is having for lunch when they get back to the bottom of the hill. My wife had disappeared – “ha ha I have outdone her” I thought to myself. Only to hear her calling my name form the top of the path at the next corner.
“Come on David – you will love the view from here and the next section is only a short one”.
Then we came to the last corner!
I am sure Sir Edmond Hillary used this last section to train on before he climbed Everest. I will swear that last section was a shear 90 degree straight up. By this time I am down to my knees and pulling myself along with my nails. I looked around for a climbing rope only to see a 2 year old child passing me whilst holding the hand of her great great grandmother who was walking with a white cane while holding onto her Seeing Eye dog who struggled up the path because of the cast on its broken back leg.
Meanwhile my wife is calmly talking to a group of tourists about 200 meters ahead and pointing out areas of interest and assisting them taking photos.
I eventually did make it to the top and Rhonda tells me the views were fantastic but everywhere I looked I could only see a red haze. Rhonda had got tired of waiting for me and she was concerned that the noise from my gasping was starting to upset some of the babies that were in the strollers that the parents were pushing up.
I would like to thank the group of Japanese tourists who assisted in giving me CPR and I would like to thank the ambulance workers who braved the heights of the mountain to assist me back to the car (they must have been telling jokes amongst themselves all the time because they kept sniggering and laughing all the way down the mountain).
I would also like to thank the Lions club of the area for donating the oxygen therapy equipment the ambulance workers used to ease my breathing as well as the local Heart Foundation for the use of their defibrillator that was used to “stabilize the beating drum inside my chest”.

I am now in intense training for the next assault on the mountain and I have told Rhonda that by the end of 2016 I will be beating her to the top.

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