A good friend sent me pictures this morning from way back when we were ‘young and fit’, he said. They were from the day of the Dublin marathon we both ran and finished, he in a very respectable time, myself happy to have finished it.
Earlier this year, I had registered for this year’s Dublin marathon because I feared it would sell out as it had for the past couple of years. When I registered, it seemed like I had plenty of time for practice and training. And then, during the summer, there was no time at all. In fact, the summer was so intense that when it was over, I got the flu for close to two weeks. Now, I have been coughing for two weeks with no chance of even walking the 42 km tomorrow.
Nonetheless, I went to the RDS to register and collect my racing bag. What a mistake. I had felt bad about not being able to get up and running before. But when I was there with hundreds of people being all excited about their big race tomorrow, it made me feel worse. Because I really wanted to do this tomorrow. Just that tomorrow won’t be my race day.
I’d love to say that there is a valuable lesson in this that I’ve learned. Something like that you have to accept that certain things will not be possible, no matter how much you would like to do them or how much you would like to see them happening.
The reality is, however, that there days I find that hard to accept.
I talked to a few families today about that recent RTÉ Investigates programme. They all told me about their own very similar experiences. And they all said that they don’t know how Patrick Fitzgerald manages to deal with the situation without going mad.
I’d say not being able to run the marathon would be the least of his worries. More likely, it would not be one of his worries at all.
I am grateful that there are people like Patrick Fitzgerald and his family around to raise awareness about the lack of appropriate care and rehabilitation for persons with a very severe acquired brain injury.