Those of you that know me, know I’m a former extremely fat bloke, who’s now just a fat bloke, and who is enthusiastic, nay obsessive about cycling. I’m also running a fitness challenge on MFP called the “Classics Cycling Challenge” – a series of themed rides, based around the Spring Classics – the true “Monuments” of the cycling world.
Well, this weeks installment was the Paris Roubaix – IMO the toughest of the one day classics – something like 250km of riding, 50km of which is over Pavé… Not so much a surfaced road as “think of a farmers dirt track, that someones flown over with a Chinook Helicopter, and dropped 10″ square blocks of granite into” – I rode the “sportif” version 8 years ago, and it was 4 days before I could type as I’d lost all sensation in my fingers, andcould barely grip a bottle of biere afterwards, nevermind hold a cobblestone above my head as a trophy!
Anyway, that’s one hell of the north – traditionally run on a Sunday, and it has the quintesensial cycling film made of it – “A Sunday in Hell” – hence my title…
Sadly, I didn’t get to ride this weeks challenge. Mid Week, my Father fell and broke his hip. He was old, infirm, and suffered from all the problems that ex-miners with 30+ years time served suffer from – we’re talking something like 70%+ pneumoconiosis (or in the vernacular – Dust) – basically over 70% of his lung capacity is knackered because its full of coal dust!
This of course makes it very dangerous when you have to have an operation that requires full sedation… They tried the hip-op under an epidural, but it was too difficult, and they had to resort to full anaesthesia.
Sadly, he didn’t respond well, and whilst being okay the evening of the op, he had a couple of minor heart “episodes” (what they call a heart attack when they can’t prove it happened, but they can see the effects…) and became seriously unwell. After 2 days requiring machine ventilation, and with decreasing (to point zero) responses, we had to respect his “do not resusciate” wishes (he had a stroke 20 years ago, and a couple of years ago, as he began to become a little more frail, made me take him to the family solicitor and made a “living will” to that effect.)
Anyway, to cut a long story a little shorter, earlier today, my father was removed from all the “machines that go ping”, given a 0xygen mask and a couple of pain management and air-passage clearance treatments via drip, and while I spent a couple of hours telling him all the trivialities that meant the world to us, and probably nothing to you… (the Winner of the Grand National – he’s allways been a “racing man”, and the fact that his Favourite Bike Rider had won Paris Roubaix for the third time, in the most spectacular fashion, or that I loved him, and I never regretted for one second giving up my prior career and highly mobile lifestyle to stay at home, and look after him and my mother. Because looking after them was probably the only worthwhile thing (in the greater sense – as in improving the world, NOT earning money) I’d ever done.
And as he smiled at me, he gradually slipped away.
So – that’s my Sunday in Hell.
It wasn’t a traditonal hell – no fire and brimstone – in fact it was a lovely bright, airy and pleasant environment, with two (or more, as needed) charming and wonderful nurses, that I could never, ever describe as Daemons…
But, yep, I’m in hell at the moment, because I’m an “only child”, 50 years old, fat, ugly and I’ve used my personality and looks as a method of contraception for far longer than I care to dwell upon.
I’ve never subscribed to the “hell is other people” theory… for me, hell is being alone…