Well that didn’t quite go as planned. Everything was going well up until the self-rescue re-entry roll, when I fluffed my first attempt and from that point onwards it was a bit of a downward spiral. I did roll up once, only to go straight back over again... doh! The net result: hypothermia and being sick. The sick possibly as a result of the sea water I’d swallowed.
Luckily, for the other candidates, instead of a contrived rescue, they had to carry out a real rescue, on me, as I was completely and utterly incapacitated. I passed out at least a couple of times on the way back.
Thanks to James, Richard and Natalie for getting me back to shore, and the Greenes for helping me get myself warm and sorting my kit out. A special thanks to Natalie, as I was sick on her gear (I am so sorry) but for also for keeping me “with it” during the tow back.
I did get myself checked out in the afternoon and my blood pressure (lower figure) was extremely high due to my capillaries being constricted due to the cold. I didn't paddle the rest of the weekend, as to be honest I really didn't feel well. The following week was much the same, feeling rubbish with my blood pressure figures being all over the place. I saw my GP who re-assured me my blood pressure would settle down, but if not to go back. He was right it did settle. We also discussed the affect having had Sepsis in November and how this was almost certainly a contributory factor to my rapid deterioration. My GP says it will take me at least a year to fully recover from Sepsis, if not longer. After all my bodies thermostat took one hell of a beating back in November with the sepsis. Never have I felt so cold as with Sepsis and yet I was running a temperature very close to 42c!
Back in the van, just after getting warm again, I was thinking I shouldn't be working towards becoming an advanced leader. Indeed I posted as much on Facebook. But then, the more I thought about it, the more I became convinced I should continue. At the end of the day it is down to me as a leader to be very aware of the conditions and the conditions I am prepared to lead people in. Looking back now, I know certainly learned a great deal this weekend, about myself and a good deal about leadership.
However, I am still very disappointed it turned out the way it did. I still keep thinking if I hadn't fluffed the first attempt on my self-rescue re-entry roll, I would have been fine. And yet, I know I was already on the downward spiral before even getting to the self rescue, which is why I fluffed the re-entry roll in the first place.
As for Natalie, Michael, Richard and Lisa, congratulations on passing. It was an absolute pleasure to paddle with you guys and I hope to paddle with you again soon.