My Blog - 2010

This is where it all began to come unzipped.

January 2010 blog
Who turned the lights out?

Quite suddenly, at the end of November, I lost the hearing in my right ear. Totally and completely.

Some years ago now, I had very significant problems with my back. As a result, I know what it’s like to be unable to walk for several days. But I’d never suffered damage or injury to any of my major senses, until this. Oh well, I thought, I can still see.

Wrong! I quickly realised that without 50% of your hearing, you quickly develop a “blind side”, no matter how good your peripheral vision might be. Seeing properly what’s happening around you is clearly inextricably linked with being able to hear, sense and anticipate through the ears. Not unexpectedly, I had a bit of dizziness too, so training was put on hold. I was reassured by everyone that it would “probably sort itself out in a few days”. Only it didn’t.

I just didn’t realise how dependent we are on binaural “vision”. I listen to a lot of music, but through one ear, it wasn’t like stereo had become mono; it was all just a jumble. I had business in Birmingham and London a few days after the sound went off, and the experience was pretty grim. Having been brought up a Londoner, there’s nothing I like better than a chance to walk through the capital. My stroll from Euston to Victoria was hard going, though far more pleasant than travelling on the Tube, which I’d done earlier in the day. That was just bewildering.

My local doctor is good. When I managed to get an appointment, he was quick to diagnose the likely problem, and ten excruciatingly painful minutes later, I had most of my hearing back. I won’t trouble you with the details, but it wasn’t, as I had feared, a “wiring” problem. As I write this, I’m pretty much back to normal, back in training, and particularly enjoying music.

I’m not going to pretend that the whole experience was “life changing”, or anything like that, but it was a shock, and it had me thinking. Thinking about what many people put up with every day as “normal” (for them), thinking about how it won’t necessarily just be physical infirmity or injury that calls time on one’s athletic career, and so on.

It’s a sombre note on which to wish anyone reading this my good wishes for the New Year and good fortune in 2010. As you plan your ambitions for next year, don’t take what you’ve got for granted. Enjoy it while it lasts, and use it well.

At this point, I began blogging on Wordpress, with a blog at the end of January 2010. I could not bring myself at the time to admit it, but I had somewhat “lost the plot”. Blogging became a way to help me pretend things were actually ok. Truth was, I was hurting, with every training session becoming a form of torture while I failed to live up to the high expectations I had placed on myself after the World Championships in Lahti in July 2009. I think that, inside, I knew I couldn’t keep that pretence going for very long, but, if you read my 2010 Wordpress blogs, I did manage to make it sound like “business as usual” long after it stopped being anything of the sort.

It took me until some blogs in 2012 to put some of the record straight.