Notes from a temporary excommunication

Blowin's picture
Blowin started the topic in Sunday, 17 Jan 2021 at 4:07pm

Due to injury It’s now been over a month since I’ve been surfing . Here’s some observations from that time.

/ Surfers need to surf.

Obviously right ?

Yeah ...but nah. I’ve passed up plenty of sessions whilst able bodied without too much concern for correlative loss of joy de vivre. You’ll soon have the truth thrust into your face when the arbitrary decision to go surfing is taken out of your hands. I’ve mouthed the platitudes of surfing’s beneficial effects on my mental, physical and spiritual health countless times but it’s not till the exhilarating thrill, healthy thrush of physicality and simple contentment of a happy session is denied that the importance of our passion truly hits home.

Ebbing energy levels , decreased happiness and intermittent frustration become daily companions. Particularly if you’re like me and your happiness is heavily dependent on exercise and your desire to exercise is heavily dependent on mood. It can become a cascade of dark days if the surfing option is taken from you.

/ The struggle isn’t real

Then there’s this little thing called perspective to consider when the bottom lip starts to jut just cause you can’t go play splash- splash .

Example : Like the female character in the Tim Winton novel Breath who can’t stand the sight of snow since having her ability to Ski ripped away through injury , I’m of the sort who found no solace in watching the ocean when I couldn’t surf unless the waves were a putrid mess. It was only then that my FOMO was tempered enough to watch the ocean without feeling like I’d been punched in the stomach. I am always up for a good caffeine hit though and so I fell into a nice little routine of walking down to the beachside coffee van . I’d been leaving my run late to ensure the onshore wind would be well and truly up but one morning we took my mother in law down just before midday only to find the wind had laid down to near nothing and was starting to pulse offshore into a whistle clean 3-5 foot NE swell.

My lip started to quiver , my chest heaved with a massive intake of air ready to expel a momentous whinge about not being able to go surfing when I thought of the father of the mother in law standing next to me - and of the stories she’d told me of when he lied about his age to head to WW1. Of The terrible privations he’d endured in the trenches and the mud of France including being gassed twice . I thought of how she’d described his return home and the trials of raising a family into the Great Depression before re-enlisting to go fight in WW2 and getting his foot blown off. Then her father spent the rest of his days barely mentioning the war , the depression or the fact that he was barely able to function due to his serious and ongoing health problems.

That’s when I decided it was probably best to just enjoy my coffee with the pleasant company whilst we wandered through a flawlessly beautiful day and maybe shut the fuck up completely about the waves I was temporarily missing out on.

/ There’s more than one way to engage with the ocean

Once I’d got my head around watching epic surfing conditions without participating the weight on my spirit lifted.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin Sunday, 17 Jan 2021 at 6:01pm

Continued ....

That’s when the coast became a source of solace once more. I’ve got a favourite vantage point well removed from the crowds where I’ll park up and soak it all in for hours. The beauty is its elevation above sea level. Up on top of a granite boulder and pandanus strewn hillside looking 100 metres down onto the Pacific. Sit in silence and watch the ospreys hunt the water’s surface below. Sharks , rays , dolphins, schools of bait and squadrons of predatory fish going about their business beneath my gaze. Feeling the wind shift and settle . Watch the currents run and the varying swells approach the coast.

Gives a man time to think and puts the mind at ease nicely .

/ Planning the comeback

There’ll be a day in the not too distant future when all this is in the rear view mirror and my surfing life is kicking back into gear. The idea of hitting the water below par in regards to fitness is a great motivator to blow out the cobwebs. Long bush walks with plenty of inclines soon progressing to soft sand beach runs . Just the fact of immersion in the brine is a nice feeling. Free diving again soon when the water clears up. Upping the ante keeps the mental demons at bay which is never a bad thing.

Fuck ....not much left to say. A bit of meandering thought on a Sunday arvo . Get out there and get it whilst you can cause you never know what’s around the corner.

Stay stoked.

And Huey ....if you’re listening , I’ll hopefully see you soon and if you could just do me one favour in the meantime if you don’t mind .....

batfink's picture
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batfink Sunday, 17 Jan 2021 at 7:33pm

Good luck with your health blowin. Hope it all comes good for you. For me, watching the ocean is never a problem, even when it’s going off and I can’t get out there. The sheer beauty of what is presented by mother ocean is always solace for the soul.

When I finished work in July, I was beyond exhaustion, physical and emotional. 22 and a half years is a long stretch, but the last 6 months were so hard, working from home, writing up manuals containing the previous 8 years of work that I was doing with no colleagues, partly just to sign off as a professional, partly as paying my dues for what was to come so I wouldn’t have to look back. No surf fitness due to 3 months enforced beach lockdown, and huge swells coming back to back to back, faithfully documented by Craig.

I just watched, for hours on end. It was mesmerising, joyful, cold, rainy, windy, raw, exciting, therapeutic.

I studied and taught and practised meditation seriously for about 8 years, around about a lifetime ago. I noticed that watching the ocean took my mind exactly to that place I used to try and reach through disciplined thought and practice. My mind was still, there was no distraction, just stillness enveloping me as I took in as much as my senses could catch, just watching and appreciating. You don’t have to be out there to know the feeling.

In the last few weeks I’ve started to feel a level of surf fitness that has eluded me since I don’t know when. That sense that you’re paddling is strong enough, and there is enough wind in your lungs to manage some ‘out of depth’ experiences. I’m hoping to test myself out a bit over the next few days.

Not being able to surf is totally a first world problem, but only a surfer would understand what that means. It becomes part of your being.

Speedy return to the water blowin. Hope it doesn’t take as long as me to get that fitness back. While I was working my arse off I also incorporated a batch of serious hill climbing around the local area, and upped my weights by 40% to match my son. It didn’t translate at all to the water though.

I’m sure you will have quicker success than I did though. Now appreciating being in the water more than ever, and I have the time to make the most of it.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Sunday, 17 Jan 2021 at 8:02pm

great contributions both.

I'm in the Batfink camp. even if injured I'd rather be there and take it all in.

valuable to get it all put into perspective.

goofyfoot's picture
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goofyfoot Sunday, 17 Jan 2021 at 8:03pm

The most time I’ve had to stay dry-docked due to injury was a few weeks due to a partially injured mcl but the last 6 months I’ve been having a lot of trouble with my ears, due to worsening surfers ear and a pterygium that is growing closer and closer to my pupil and making my eye constantly bloodshot.
I’ve got a funny feeling that some extended out of the water time is heading my way due to having to get these issues sorted and I’m actually really dreading it.

Supafreak's picture
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Supafreak Sunday, 17 Jan 2021 at 8:31pm

I can relate to all , goofyfoot my ears drove me crazy for years until I finally had them both drilled 1 year apart , 8 weeks out first time and only 4 the second due to quick healing ( diet was better ) but as I get older other things pop up like tennis elbow which finally went away after 6 months then 2 months later bursitis in left shoulder which wouldn’t heal for ages until doctor recommended cbd oil for the inflammation, worked a treat along with some treatment from osteopath. Now I have a new problem in being diagnosed with AF , I’ve had 2 episodes since 29 December , first one was brought on by alcohol and a few smokes after being drug free and a keto diet for 18 months, 2 episode was 13 January and ended up in hospital as when laying down my heart rate was 56 , standing up it would go to 140 - 200 , eventually it reset itself after 36 hours of laying in hospital bed . Back surfing today and all good, see cardiologist next month. It sux getting old but I’ve had 50 years of surfing and don’t intend stopping. Time out of the water makes me appreciate the times I can go surfing more.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Sunday, 17 Jan 2021 at 8:36pm

whats AF?

goofyfoot's picture
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goofyfoot Sunday, 17 Jan 2021 at 8:37pm

supafreak sorry for my lack of knowledge but what’s AF?

Edit, beat me too it free

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Sunday, 17 Jan 2021 at 8:53pm

Arterial fibrillation
And thats wild high heart rates have you thought of NiL exertion exercise until you have seen the cardiologist ..?
And an aspirin daily !

Supafreak's picture
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Supafreak Sunday, 17 Jan 2021 at 8:56pm

Atrial fibrillation is when your top 2 chambers in your heart are out of sync with bottom 2 and so blood isn’t pumped to your organs as well as it should be causing the heart rate to increase , the risk here is blood can pool and clot in the top 2 chambers and if a clot is released into your blood stream a stroke may result . There are no blockages in my heart and it’s an electronic problem which can be fixed with medication or electric shock . Spoke to a friend who had same problem, they ran something up through his artery through his leg and up to his heart and shocked the part that was faulty. Pretty amazing what they can do these days. AF is more common in people as they get older but even babies can have it

Supafreak's picture
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Supafreak Sunday, 17 Jan 2021 at 8:58pm

Apparently udo exercise is good for AF but not totally exhausting yourself so I won’t be running any marathons

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Supafreak Sunday, 17 Jan 2021 at 9:03pm

Yeah aspirin thins the blood , they couldn’t give me medication to lower my heart rate because when lying down it was 56 and medicine would have brought it down to low . There are 3 different types of AF I’m the first one , diet will help and knowing the triggers , alcohol , smoking , stress a virus can also set it off

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Sunday, 17 Jan 2021 at 9:10pm

Up your Magnesium

Supafreak's picture
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Supafreak Sunday, 17 Jan 2021 at 9:24pm

Yeah I take magnesium daily for healing of bursitis and it’s the first thing they did in hospital was put me on a mag drip , thanks udo everything your saying is good advice. I was just grateful that my heart reset itself as when I got up in the night for a piss and my heart went to 200 it had 5 nurses running around, they had me on a monitor and it set off a few bells. Laugh now but it felt like I had sprinted for 200 metes

etarip's picture
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etarip Monday, 18 Jan 2021 at 12:08am

Get well supa. Hope it all resolves soon.

Supafreak's picture
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Supafreak Monday, 18 Jan 2021 at 4:51am

Thanks etarip , I’m confident that I’ll get on top of it and the specialist I’m booked into has a great reputation. A couple of triggers I forgot to mention is caffeine and energy drinks , I’ve dropped the morning coffee and never got into the energy drinks except when I was younger. I have probably had this condition for years having experienced heart flutters before but never thought to much about it . Having full on healthy diet for 18 months with zero sugar besides fruit which was blueberries blackberry raspberries and strawberries and only small amounts to over indulgence of rubbish at xmas , most beers in one day was 5 , one doctor said I had xmas heart lol . The thing is when I’m living eating healthy I feel more energised and sleep better which is also super important in staying healthy. Life through up a few stresses over xmas and I didn’t handle it properly but live and learn.

H2O's picture
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H2O Monday, 18 Jan 2021 at 6:45am

We are fortunate to at least have had this experience. The future is a combo of random events and the old adage, you make your own luck.

san Guine's picture
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san Guine Saturday, 13 Feb 2021 at 8:31am

Hi Supa,
Just read your post re AF. You are 100% correct re magnesium.
Without getting too technical Mg is a cell membrane stabiliser and mediates the other ions (Na, K and Ca) that facilitate the action potential of the cardiac myocytes.
In short it helps control the fibrillation your heart goes into due to the aberrant electrical pathway.
We often use rate controlling drugs to slow down the heart eg. beta-blockers, digoxin etc. However, in more refractory cases cardioversion and ablation are also quite common.
My advice to anyone with this problem is see see your GP and get a referral to a Cardiologist...please don't self medicate as this is a potentially life threatening arrhythmia if left untreated or managed by self medicating.

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Supafreak Saturday, 13 Feb 2021 at 8:48am

Thanks san Guine , I got echo scan done on Thursday and see cardiologist on 22 feb , it’s taken this long for appointment , be nearly 2 months since episode

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san Guine Saturday, 13 Feb 2021 at 9:12am


Sorry, I just reread my post and realised I used a lot of medical jargon!!!
I spend half my working life explaining to patients what the medical team has just done and why they have done it, in clear non medical language.

So, have a list of questions to ask your Cardiologist so that you clearly understand your health issues.

If you don't clearly comprehend what the Cardiologist is saying to you, get them to explain in terms you understand. Take notes if necessary.

Supafreak's picture
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Supafreak Saturday, 13 Feb 2021 at 1:46pm

All good san , I’ve been traveling pretty good , surfing and eating really healthy , avoiding sugar , mainly eat fish , veg , fruit and simply nothing white except eggs and cauliflower , no below ground veggies. One thing I need to change is sitting to long at work.

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher Tuesday, 16 Feb 2021 at 1:05am

Bible of eternal excommunication...the real go-getter seller.
Firstly, get well to crew...Secondly thanks to blowin for tellin' it straight...

tbb has been following this thoughtful thread but needed the strength to join in...
Don't say that lightly as all here know it's both exhausting & healing to hit home.

July 2019 ...tbb tells local crew it's much better surfing than aching away at home
Then struggles to clamber off bank / shore / moderate dune incline & that was that!
Slides the [ Sarcophagus Lid ] Bye Bye local crew..time for tbb's endless nap.
[ Half a year goes by ] Almost forgotten about the beach until weird arse anomaly.
Dec 2019...tbb builds a Cornflake Man then defeated by gnarly moderate dune exit.

No hurry to take on another beach exit so...[4 months goes by in tbb's 'plex/pool ]
March 2020 Scomo kicks tbb outta the pool, so tbb gets crews help (Thanx)
It's decided ...tbb goes around again & hires a physio / fortnightly to do stuff...Why?
[ Whole year + 2 x Stimulus packs get hand passed to the Physio ] Pool is fine!

4th Feb 2021 Physio reintroduces tbb to his local. (Note 1st time since July 2019)
1st thing tbb notices & says: "They've taken away the seat!"

Short Walk on Oceanway to Picnic Shelter...have a rest.
Physio gifts tbb a tub of 2nd Level X-Soft (Yellow)TheraPutty....
tbb asks to bring that up on the screen...please!
Great! So now tbb is moulding pre pre school grade Play Doh!
Physio instructs tbb on how to do super easy over-under 4 finger thingy.
Right! Like tbb is not a spazz you know...less than 2 seconds later tbb is a spazz!
Physio's girlfriend is an Occupational Therapist so tbb gets extra assist thrown in!

Next we mould a Theraputty Mutant
No! Can't do that! But it does come outta the tub daily (Thumbs Up!)

Next was the flat sand entry onto beach...This was the Physio's Devilish Plan...
Now tbb ...'Enjoy the ECL tide sawing thru yer toes...'
'Can you feel the breeze caressing your strand of hair.'
Nice & easy up that Dune & tbb goes down but scrambles outta pit of hell alive.
Again....Where the fuck is that chair gone...never needed it more than now.
And who grows a She Oak at a beach entry...ouch! ouch! No Chair! ouch!

Took 10 minutes to recover from those final 4 steps & 20 mins for the she oak pods
Completely drained of all life force & shaking due to the body collapse shock factor.
Physio says : It's a lack of endurance?
tbb (Daily) 30min -6 swim stroke sessions with 10min full kick/arm routine.
This beach walk was a leisurely stroll with a deep sanded exit ramp.
tbb also tops his Physio's strength test calibrators...Better than me he says! Durr!
But tbb's strength is his weakness when every muscle is aching...(Myositis).
No core strength and can't raise an arm or lift a leg...really aches to grip.
As dune rises, heavy tbb sinks deeper & hips can't grip tbb's club shape limbs.
They're abnormal / underdeveloped...never an issue until weight & weakness!

Here's how those groups of exhausting disability train yer mind ...
Physio : Want you to do this 3x a week
tbb was honestly gobsmacked! Instantly felt weak in the way never!
Physio : Well how many times a week can you do this walk...

(Pause! tbb swears he keeps hearing times & week in the one sentence!)
tbb : (Think before answering!) Maybe once every 3 months...maybe!
Physio : Nope! tbb, That's just plain ridiculous!
tbb: Ok! Maybe once a month & that's being even more ridiculous.
Physio : No! It's gotta be 3 x week to make a difference.
(Times / Week )(Times / Week)..He just stares right thru tbb.
Fark! Is he really serious! Does he think tbb can hit the beach 3x week! La La! La La!
tbb cowered to a once off beach visit offer before next session (By this Thursday)

Crew can see tbb's 2 days left for a guilt trip to the beach
Just wot was tbb thinking...The bipolar is crashing any hope of a day at the beach.

Fucking kill to go to the beach but it's the very last thing that tbb wants to do...
Exhausted tbb struggles to keep time with the Rhythm of Life so often skips a beat.
Pretty sure the crew can see or feel their way thru that self loathing diatribe.

Bring on the Experts...
*Mum's advice! Go to the beach Son or I will take you myself! (Luv Old School)
Guilt trip is backed by a one legged lady in the Hospital who could do this & she .....
*Neighbour's advice! Go to the beach but just bludge in the car. (Beach Tick! Next.)
*Mates advice! Go to the beach but only if you want to but not coz Physio tells you!

Crew have gotta admit, tbb is spoilt rotten for choices. (Each one is Gold!) Legends!
Reckon that's the New Shadow Govt right there!

Mon (today) tbb was gonna go, then thought of 1 million & one reasons why not!
Hear the new one...tbb swears he looked too unruly / unkempt should also work.
Already said I was gonna try again tomorrow but am not feeling the luv!
Wed is the last chance for tbb to pretend to like the beach...won't be pretty.
Meant to say Tuesday...for sure! One day at a time Tuesday it is! (Wed' recovery!)

Just look for the decrepit basher doing barrel rolls over'n'over in the sand dunes.
Gromz : "Oi! Plenty of spazz moves there Hodad Basher!"
Shh! Already swapped the Gromz tub of wax with a tub of tbb's Theraputty
Gromz : "WTF is this Mutant Wax! Get the BASHER!"
Lifes a Beach!

icandig's picture
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icandig Wednesday, 18 Jan 2023 at 11:03pm
Supafreak wrote:

All good san , I’ve been traveling pretty good , surfing and eating really healthy , avoiding sugar , mainly eat fish , veg , fruit and simply nothing white except eggs and cauliflower , no below ground veggies. One thing I need to change is sitting to long at work.

Hey Supa. I hope you're well. I remembered this post from a while back and revisited looking for updates. I'm generally pretty healthy but just before Christmas I overextended myself on a road trip and ended up dehydrated, exhausted and in AF. Been on blood thinners and beta blockers for a month and had a failed Cardio Version today. Zapped 3 times, feeling like shit and like I've been booted in the chest by a camel. Options are more / different drugs (probably long term) or ablation. I'm planning to go the second option. Luckily I have great specialist in my corner advising me. Just putting it out there if anyone has had an ablation and any advice you can give. There's definitely good website advice about, but first hand experience is always good to hear. Thanks in advance.

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Supafreak Wednesday, 18 Jan 2023 at 11:40pm

@icandig , glad you’re on the mend. I’ve been on verapamil 240 mg for nearly a year now. I was on 180 mg but I was still having problems with heart irregularities so my cardiologist upped the dose . I have been fine since and surf nearly every day. I go for another heart echo next month then hopefully get the operation soon after . I’ve had to wait a year as I didn’t have private health. My only problem with the medication is it leaves me a bit short of breath in the surf sometimes , shortness of breath is a listed side effect. Once the op is done I should be off the medication and hopefully back to normal. Two mates that have had the op are all good now . Really important to hydrate as soon as you wake up in the morning and keep it up especially if doing something physical. All the best mate and great that you trust your specialist. ……..edit I’m on verapamil because I had a svt episode, heart was doing 220 when I staggered into emergency, not a nice feeling, I was grey in colour as no blood is getting pumped to organs .

icandig's picture
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icandig Thursday, 19 Jan 2023 at 7:08am

Thanks for the quick reply Supa. My doc mentioned a 12 month wait for non private - sorry you've had to wait so long. I'm very fortunate - as expensive as it is, I've kept my private health payments up, so I'll try to book an op as soon as possible. I've been reluctant to surf - fearing an episode as you've described above - so I'm suffering in that regard. Until I get the op, it'll be light cardio and strengthening. Gettin' old, time to get serious looking after myself.

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Supafreak Thursday, 19 Jan 2023 at 12:49pm

@icandig, on my Drs advice I got private health insurance as the public system waiting list will probably be more than a year . In this current climate of health it would possibly be 2 - 3 years. I have to wait 12 months because its a pre existing condition. I actually rang up to find out how much if I paid for the procedure myself and was told anything from 20 to 50 grand , gulp , so insurance it was. I had private health for 10 years for tax reasons when I was working in FIFO but when I took 2 years off I stopped it . Probably keep it now as it’s good for osteopath , dental and maybe some eye surgery later as I age . One of my mates who has had both sides of his heart done ( 3 months apart ) was never a drinker or smoker , he was a fireman and into surfing and triathlon’s. He was in hospital for 3 days with his heart going between 150 to 220 and they couldn’t get it to reset , a bit touch and go for awhile there but it eventually reset . Mine reset itself just as they were about to hit me up with something ( not sure what it was ) I had been in svt for about 1 hour, can’t imagine 3 days. Hope you get back surfing soon.