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  • Writer's pictureNadine Bennett

A couple of ribs popped off, fudge. summer swimming adventures have come to an early end this year.

I'll be fine, but wanted to share a message about drawing the line. About 3 weeks ago, I stumbled hard into the corner of the island countertop in our kitchen, it dug sharply into my right side. I didn't think much of it at the time, I'm pretty clumsy, and the pain was mild. About a week later, I felt soreness in a few areas, so I went to a walk-in clinic. After a quick physical exam, they determined my ribs weren't broken since I wasn't having any breathing issues, declared it intercostal muscle pain and prescribe anti-inflammatories. I wasn't offered an xray, and I didn't think to ask, seemed like all I needed to do was tend to it carefully.

I spent the next week finishing up the last of my training for Border Buster; a 10km pool swim, rough water chop session, ocean swim with friends. In the days leading up to my departure for Vermont, the pain was still there, but I couldn't tell if it was muscle soreness from training, excitement and jitters about the upcoming swim, or something more. I promised my husband that I would not swim if there was no improvement by the swim start, I didn't want to put myself at risk, or knowingly burden the event's safety crew. I would wait and see how my body felt, and make a decision once I got there.

I set off for Vermont on Thursday morning, and the drive itself unleashed a whole new range of symptoms, by the time I arrived at my motel in Maine, I had pain along the entire right side of my chest, a feeling of 'displacement' on my rib cage and organs underneath, tenderness, mild nausea. I made my way back to Canada early the next morning, and headed straight for an emergency room. It took 14hrs to be seen by a doctor, and 5 more to get a diagnosis...19hrs in total. I'm grateful for free medical care, but 19hrs in that kind of pain = unreal. Anyhow, turns out the impact of hitting the counter broke ribs at the very tips where they connect at the sternum. In other words, the bottom rungs of my ladder are loose.

I'll be fine, on bedrest and meds for a bit to get the pain under control, and my body needs at least 6 weeks to heal. But the point I wanted to make is this: as much as I want to achieve my goals, there is a line between my own ego's drive to succeed and putting others at risk. If you show up for a swim with issues, you really have to discerned if they are normal aches and pains ("athletic whinies") or something more that will likely impact your swim.

The latter is NOT worth it. If you know already before the swim starts that you might need to be pulled from the water by safety crew, don't step foot in the water at all, no matter how bad you want to do that swim. Don't be a liability for the race director, there's always another swim on a different day. Take the DNS "Did Not Start", which really translates to "Did Nothing Stupid" in this case.

So what's next? I could spend the next 6 weeks sad that this summer won't play out as planned, but that changes nothing. I'll mope around a bit for sure, especially if it means hubby will continue catering to my every need while I'm stretched out on the sofa, but I need to stay positive so I pulled out my laptop and started my 2023 training plan I'll be horizontal for a bit, any good movie recommendations? Thrillers, horror and sci-fi in particular? And before any of you smartasses rise to the occasion, no shark movies please.

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