Since I last wrote, in spite of my stress-fractured foot, I have had a very pleasant summer. Sure there was a slight worry (understatement alert) because the bone scan FOR MY FOOT revealed an oddity on one of my RIBS. (“Oddity” is a euphemism for abnormality.) As a former breast cancer patient, there was good reason for concern, so I had to go through a process that eventually, through a CT scan, declared that my ribs were fine. Meanwhile I stayed stoic and silent, and didn’t let myself get too excited about my upcoming
life trip. I also pondered the hazards of too much scanning and the risks of false positives. That scan gave a more detailed inventory of various arthroses and creaky bones than I really want or need. To its credit, the scan did confirm (sort of) that I had a stress fracture, which anybody could have guessed.
But now I am raring to go. Since mid-August when I finished an 8-week rest from walking, I have stepped up my training. I’m up to 80-km weeks, including three 20-km walks. Those 20-km days are variable – sometimes I am totally wiped out but other days I can still function a bit afterwards.
Walking 20 km burns up an extra 1000 calories or so. That means I can either eat a lot more, or I can lose a few pounds. Which do you think I do?
At the beginning of October, I have a conference and some family visits in Toronto, and then on October 11, I fly to France to start walking the Camino de Santiago again. Last year I started at the same place (St Jean Pied de Port), same time, and walked 400 km but stopped due to a death in the family. This year I’ll go back and start over again.
Why? It appeals to me in several ways. I like to walk. In fact, walking brings me serenity. Of course I could do that closer to home, but there are other things I like about the Camino – the spiritual tradition and history, the opportunity and necessity to speak Spanish (which challenges and pleases me), the random meeting of people from all over the world and all backgrounds, the participation in social gatherings without discrimination on the basis of youth and beauty.
The only significant thing I don’t like is bedbugs. That is the suffering part of my pilgrimage. I have given a LOT of thought to my strategies, and have a protocol planned for bedbug isolation and elimination. Unfortunately, that protocol does not guarantee bedbug avoidance, so my training for the inevitable encounters has begun. And no, I did not plan this.
For starters, let me assure you that we do not have bedbugs in our house.
A couple of days ago I was working in the garden. I like to sit on the grass while I weed the adjacent flower beds. It was warm, so I took off my fleece shirt and tossed it on the grass. A while later, when I put it back on, I immediately noticed some prickliness on my collarbone. I thought maybe an ant or two had got into my shirt and I brushed them away. Well, the next morning I found about 8 itchy spots on my torso and another 4 on my collarbone. My conclusion is: FLEAS. [Feel free to google “Do fleas live in grass.”] A few years ago we had this problem and I was able to confirm that fleas were jumping on me in the garden. To bring the sad story to a conclusion, I am now considering this to be good practice for bedbugs on the camino.
P.S. If I haven’t lost any blog readers with this post, I have probably lost some potential house guests!