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Garden Spot Village's pledge tyre guardian Scott, has found Tyrone (the pledge tyre) a prominent seat to exchange ideas on sustainability and how to reduce trash within the village.

 
 
PictureLevitation at Stonehenge. Reu was keeping grounded!
Type of Race/Course: A couple of big hills and then undulating on hard gravel track....lovely for a tyre. Easy to follow signs and mile markers.
Location: Avebury to Stonehenge
CPs: @ every 2-3 miles. Water available. Second CP and 11 mile CP had food that you could purchase.
Weather: @15 degs C; mostly sunny
Start Time: 10:30 for runners; Earlier for walkers
Finish: Ends at a car park a mile away from Stonehenge
Post Runner Recovery: Small snack bag
Water + supplies carried: 2.5 litres + 3 breakfast bars + 2 marmite/honey sandwiches
Extras: Free entry into Stonehenge (@ 13.90 GBP)

Recommend this marathon and doing some pre-reading beforehand
to really appreciate the area.

Website: http://www.wiltshirewildlife.org/sarsen-trail

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Exploring the South West of England
Tyre Differences
Last week the South Downs marathon, had amazing sea cliff views, rolling hills and dales, panoramic checkerboard views of rape seed fields; broccoli and other green veg. But the hills were long, the hills were steep and Red was certainly giving me a hard time by sucking in her grooves and tumbling down hill. As a BMW tyre she believes this is all beneath her and she shouldn't be dragged through muck and mud. I had to repaint her when I was painting Reu. She got her wish to be Red and now she's got her wish to be put to bed. Oh well she'll make a nice plant pot or something ;-)

The Neolithic marathon was easy in comparison. Reu was a delight to pull up hill and glided down hill (as all good tyres should), but let's not get ahead of myself.
Awl Right Me Lovers
Yes we are in the heart of Wiltshire. It is an area that is still intertwined with ancient history, with Stonehenge standing tall amongst a network of roads (thankfully there have been some changes), Chalk horses and giants etched into the ground, ancient burial grounds and vwoodhenge (a new discovery for me)!

There's a kind of mystical air in Wiltshire, with tales of Dragons, Druids, Witches and King Arthur's last battle on Salisbury Plain.....and then there are those mysterious crop circles. But then after all we are surrounded by dead people (West Kennett and Silbury Hill)

The area seems to buzz with energy. This is my third marathon in Wiltshire
- Salisbury 5-4-3-2-1
- Ridgeway 40

....and I am still enthralled by the area. Entering Avebury, I could hear Enya singing out her rich celtic melodies.

The Event
This event caters for walkers, runners, and bikers. Walkers can start at any time, runners have to start at 10:30. I decided to become a wunner (walking runner) as this would allow me to start the event earlier than the runners.
I started at 08:05.
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....obviously Tyre Pullers are not dangerous
Reu and I were having a blast, talking and passing walkers. Yes we were passing walkers! I was warned by several walkers about the "boring stretch". However, there is only one road stretch towards Redhorn, that is a little disconcerting. It is a narrow road with coaches carrying walkers chundering up the hill to the 11 mile marker to start the 15 mile walk. All along this stretch of road (and other roads) there were warnings about dangerous walkers/runners. The coaches were far more scarey as they rumbled by you.

From Redhorn there were more warnings. We were entering Salisbury Plain and on that day there were military exercises going on. Reu wanted to play chicken. I played the chicken and pulled her back onto the gravelly road.

Runners Coming
The lead runner came through whilst we passed mile 14. From there on, we were running with runners. Normally we are running with walkers or behind walkers, but for some reason, either the walkers were slow today, or the Wiltshire air was in me legs.

Armoured vehicles entertained the "boring stretch" along with a couple of Chinooks flying over head. I enjoyed the boring stretch far more than I think I should have.
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"Just a girl" at Woodhenge (taken later)
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Driving towards Avebury Village
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Start point is in Avebury village.
A "dangerous" marathon!

The pre-pack information made me a little nervous with warnings of Lyme Disease in the area. After all Bart Yasso nearly died of Lyme disease. However ticks can be pulled off......my memory drifts to a trip in Scotland where we were all infected with ticks after camping in a forest. We discovered ticks on our bodies as we dropped off a friend at his mother's. His mother gave us dettol to wash ourselves down! We spent hours de-ticking each other!!!

The route itself starts in Avebury village (well worth wandering around to hug a henge or just have clotted cream scones and tea). Am not the most alert in the morning so missed a sign and did a 1/4 mile before meeting someone else who "got lost".  We back tracked and found the "missing sign" to head up onto a long hill that merges onto the Ridgeway. Once up on the ridgeway the eyes feast on a panoramic  views of hills, dales, farms and far away ancient villages.

Thereafter you head back into another village. If you've timed it right, the jubilant chorus of bells from the local church will welcome you in and then the waft of BBQ will reel you into CP2. If you have time you can head to the local library to read a book or two.
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Other side of CP2, Reu wanted to be read a motorist manual
Runners over took me telling me I was hard core...."hard as nails"!

Gosh I'd always thought I was just a bit of a girl. However I've been wearing pink more often so I'm can't be mistaken for a bloke (as I usually am when I go to a counter of some sort, like an airline counter...."hello sir where are you going?....")
The Finale
The runners' route goes an extra length that both myself and another walker took. Well I was a wunner and he was a fast walker! Last check point, met the James' family with 4 young kids who had woken up early to do 15 miles (age range about 7 to 12). I was so impressed. I do not believe at that age I would have wanted to complete 15 miles! But here they were, all excited and full of beans on the last 5 miles. Kudos to them. As we neared Stonehenge, and more mounds of ancient dead people, young Amy (12) ran the last couple of miles to ensure I ran to the end. At mile 22 I had run out of water and did not want to bother to dig out my final bottle from my back pack. I thought I could make it to the end. After all it was only 4 more miles in glorious sunlight.

Somewhere on the last mile I lost it, feeling dehydrated and a little zapped.  I could no longer push myself along and had to stop to find my last water bottle. I thought I'd walk in, but Amy cajoled me along to run the last couple of hundred metres with her (thanks Amy).

Completed at 15:26 - making that 7:21 completion time. A big difference from last week's time of 10:13 and there were still participants finishing behind us and there were still people lolling around!

Thank you to the folks who donated on the day and pledged to reduce their trash. Raised 23.70 for the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust
 
 
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Type of Race/Course: Navigational with a route description that was easy to follow. The course itself is very hilly and seemed to be more up than down! Some muddy tracks.
Location: East Dean Village and heads onto the South Down Way.
CPs: @ every 6-7 miles. Second CP had sandwiches,  cake, tea, coffee, sheltered in a village hall. The other 2 CPs had water and biscuits.
Online progress: RFID provided so online progress could be monitored
Weather: 12-15 degs C; cloudy, windy, rainy and some sun
Start Time: 09:00
Finish: Ends at start point
Post Runner Recovery: Baked beans on toast; rice pudding and tea/coffee.

Overall: Excellent scenery, lots of hills and an easy route description to follow
.

Website: ldwasussex.org.uk


The last time I went out for a drag was in February 2013. I had to negotiate round dog poo littered on the streets of London, and was pulled through thick glutinous mud. Thankfully I was able to woo Donkey Boy to carry me over muddy stretches. What kept me sane, was the thought of being back with my Landy. BUT on returning back home, he was rubbing up against some younger tyre called Reu. He said I was looking "worn". I was so traumatised, TG put some new paint on me and sent us both off to the tyre-rator, where we screeched through some tracks and made up.

TG was so pre-occupied with Ecuder and Red, that I thought I had been retired. Landy and I enjoyed time together, sitting around, talking about rubber, treads and grooves whilst watching tyres roll in unison to move bits of metal around on the road. We would have long in depth discussions about what would happen to them after they "expired".

....And then TG picked me up and said "c'mon Red we're going for a run".

I was like "Woah what happened to Reu and Ecuder? They're younger and more willing."

TG explained that Ecuder had become a pledge tyre and had been left in Modesto and Reu wasn't feeling prepared. As my pet bucket was all ready to go, I had been volunteered for the job. Bucket was excited, Landy was encouraging me to go and have a new experience, other tyres were telling me I was so lucky......Under pressure, I agreed as long as
1. Reu stayed away from Landy.
2. I was not dragged through mud and poo, after all no one likes poo stuck in ones treads.

TG said she'd ensure I was kept reasonably clean and took Reu over to see grandma Tam in the garden. "It's unlikely to be muddy", she said, "as we'd be going over limestone hills and dales"
PictureTG following a route description to take us out of East Dean
Satisfied, I went along with TG to a small village called East Dean. TG was provided an RFID card so that our progress could be monitored online. We were impressed.

We left at 08:15 and very soon headed up a hill and over a stone wall. As much as I could, I glided with TG as we wandered into a valley that joined the South Down Way. Rabbits sprung out from hidden grounds as we passed a Dew Pond, and as we headed up another hill, we were joined by a couple who had also started early and who we would come in at the finish after us!

Up and down over the hills we went
Thru the Seven Sisters valley
Where the wind swept trees were bent
And from whence we left the white cliffs and sea

Up another hill, clambering over stiles
Passing new born lambs huddled close by
But TG was not paying attention
She pulled me through a somewhat boggy path
So when she tried running downhill through a field
I decided to take a tumble!

Alas poor old TG, had to carry me down
For fear of losing me in the farmer's crop
TG thinks it was only 8 miles
When the main lot of runners came to the top
(happy 100 Jane)
And it was about 10 miles when Adam said hi
********************
Hmmm I wonder....Back in February 2013, when I became difficult, Donkey Boy carried me over muddy grounds.

"Treads dig in, let's make some magic happen."

Adam would not bite. TG proclaimed she loved a good struggle and continued to have a "deep philosophical discussion" on intelligence and such......"what's intelligent about pulling a poor defenceless tyre through muddy grounds?"
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Long Man of Wilmington (image from CountryFile)
PictureAt the Hungry Monk with Adam and Martin
Chapel Hill was merciless, having many phantom tops and yet TG continued to drag me up with stubborn determination. I thought I looked pathetic going up the hills, but runners/walkers took pity on TG! Unbelievable! It's harder on my rubber than on the soles of her shoes......and there was Adam opening and closing gates for TG.  I must have left my "human whisperer" charm with Donkey Boy way back in February 2013.

About 6 miles from the end, passing over the Long Man of Wilmington, we met the incredibly young looking Martin (you'd never guess how old he is) and we all took a photo at the Hungry Monks to celebrate the creation of Banoffee Pie.

Anyway we got to the end, TG polished all food put before her and I think I have now convinced her to let me gracefully retire so that I can continue to snuggle up to my hunky Landy. The last I heard, she was grumbling about how naughty I was!

Overall time = 10:13

Thank you to everyone who donated. Raised 9.20 for EarthWatch. You can still donate at http://www.justgiving.com/tyregirl

 
 
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We all have to go at some point, so make of life what you want it to be. I don't know Stephen but a friend made me aware of him this morning. So I looked at his story and was so impressed with the vibrance he exudes. We can do what we want with our gift of life. We can choose to walk the path of the apathetic and passive or the proactive. Stephen was diagnosed with terminal cancer and rather than feel sorry for himself, chose the proactive journey to fulfill as much of his bucket list before he left the world. At the same time he created a facebook page to positively influence others to get a hold on their own life, however long or short that is.

Yesterday, although weak, he thought he was exiting the world and so left them with a message, a smile and a thumbs up. Meanwhile as it seemed he was drifting out, all the vibrant energy he gave was sent back to him. Death had to stand back and lift him back into life. A true legend.

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#ThumbsUpForStephen and let's help him raise 2 million for the Teenage Cancer Trust as a celebration of life and to continue to inspire those who have life!

I hear "eye of the tiger" for him!


You can see his story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvG3ifEd0t0


 
 
PictureTring as a pledge tyre
SynTech Chemicals is located in Singapore and specialises in producing cleaning agents to help restaurants, hotels and other organisations make their premises look clean. But are they green?

The staff are, like so many people round the world, focused on making "ends meat" to pay the bills, feed the family, etc. Being "Green" has to be convenient and economical.

Great, this meant there was a place for me to talk about making changes to the way we live in order to reduce what we purchase. It's so easy with a BYO (Bring Your Own) attitude. It was exciting to see all staff members add to the list of what they could do to live greener. After all, going green can mean money savings. All signed Tring (who has participated in 2 marathons in Singapore) as a pledge.

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So that's the staff dealt with but what about the way the company operates?
- Will keep the air-con at 25-26 C (many shops and restaurants keep their air con at 18 C or lower)
- Reusing the blank side of used paper for notes and then recycling the paper
- Looking at reusing bottles to reduce plastic trash
- Monitoring product and chemical wastage
- Switch off lights and air con in unused rooms

That looks pretty reasonable, but however about influencing others?
Oh yes, the company has just launched a range of "green products" that is over and above the certification level set at the Environmental Council. The only problem is back to the first point: many organisations will only go green if it is convenient and economical to do so. Unfortunately purchasing "green products" can be more costly like "green cars". The staff have an uphill battle to convince organisations to make the move and to be part of a wider global sustainable picture....that is to have less impact on our resources. Go on Syntech - sound them out - see who really cares about our future resources!

Happy Earth Day.

Thank you Susan for the fabulous spoon and chopsticks and starting the staff off on the BYO road. I use the spoon and chopsticks everywhere I go, refusing the plastic cutlery provided everywhere.

 
 
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Last week (week 9) the finger did a week long strip tease act - flinging off pieces of protective armour. Yesterday the finger nail was embarrassed to still be hanging on and decided to do a stealth night exit leaving a pretty new finger nail in its place.

Yes -
Way better than I had expected. It looks whole and has some feeling. Sorry to all those who were expecting a prosthetic finger with:
- A laser pointer
- A bar code scanner
- A swiss army multi-tool

As for the hand doc - thanks for the stories but you ain't getting no frostbite specimen for your pickling jar from this person. As for your statement "what is the difference between 4 weeks and 8 weeks..." - a finger for you or a finger for me!

Finger tip feels turgid and very sensitive. Still treating it with raw aloe vera + supplements (vit D3 + Ginkgo).


Thank you to all the prayers and positive thoughts and most excellent guidance and frostbite education from Professor Chris Imray (Coventry, UK) and Dr Mark Seaburg (Minnesota, USA)

As for the game: You need to decide which bits go on which part of the finger

 
 
PictureSJI students pledging to reduce their trash
At @1.5 tonnes per head/year, the average resident in Singapore produces more trash per head than the average resident in the USA! A number of students at SJI were not surprised. Singapore has become an even more "disposable society" than the USA, with the  "if its old, chuck it" attitude. There are very few charity shops in Singapore as many residents are suspicious of other people's stuff and a number feel the cost of the items are only a little cheaper than the new items. Additionally few knew about freecycle or trashnothing. Perhaps schools in Singapore can look at freecycling school uniforms from fast growing kids!

It has been estimated that Singapore's only landfill site (Pulau
Semakau) will be completely full by 2035 and Singaporean residents do not appear to be slowing down their disposable attitude. Singapore currently manages its waste stream through recycling and incineration. Incineration reduces the trash to 10% of its volume and then the ash is landfilled. If incinerators do not burn at high enough temperature, dioxins and furans are formed from burning plastic and rubber waste (can cause cancer and respiratory problems).

Singapore also has a "haze" problem that residents indirectly support by purchasing products such as soaps, fast food, chocolate, biscuits, etc that contain palm oil. A number of these companies are not scrupulous about where they source their palm oil from and have been found to import palm oil through the destruction of Indonesian rain forests (Nestle is an example of a company that Greenpeace have urged to stop supporting the destruction of rainforests to palm oil). The very same destruction that is causing "the lung killing haze" continually encountered in Singapore,


It was fantastic to meet the change makers who want the "buck to stop here".

PictureHanding over the pledge tyre who is waiting to be named :-)
The vision is for Singapore to be a zero trash society:
- that reuses and repairs "stuff" at home
- and what cannot be reused or repaired is then upcycled or recycled and in turn is again reused

...Thus reducing the poisons we release back into our environment; our demand on resources and our impact on our precious rain forest resources. Some will go for the baby steps provided with the B.Y.O attitude, and others in the school will guide the way to help their home, school and society become totally sustainable.

The dream is possible with a bit of determined effort....just as a "gal" drags a tyre in a marathon.

Thank you to Martin, Frances and Clare, the brilliant teachers who have supported this cause and will continue to guide the change makers to be more sustainable.

 
 
PictureGerbil ready to run as cat comes a calling
Week 8: 56 days

Have stopped salt washes and still applying aloe vera straight from the aloe vera leaf. However so many people have told me my finger looks scarey and ugly. Poor finger was getting a complex so I thought I'd improve it's image.

Part of the scab helmet fragmented off, so am calling this first art piece "Gerbil ready to run as cat comes a calling"


I am expecting the scab to run away as time ticks on.

PictureSharking on the ocean floor
This second piece has been inspired by part of the scab having cracked later on in the afternoon and slowly turning into a Wobbegong Shark. I have called it

"Sharking on the ocean floor" is it reflects the menacing appearance of the finger to others, but actually is pretty harmless.

Feel free to provide comments with your own captions.

 
 
Update on the right finger: All is good and by week 6 have full use of it and can type on the keyboard.
Reflection
As I sat in a car to head to an airport in Rome, I was fretting as time was marching on and we were in thick traffic. Although I had left in good time (18:00 for a 45 minute drive; my flight was at 20:20), it was soon apparent that time was going to be an issue. My driver apologised "It is crazy! A little bit of rain and Rome comes to a stand still!" My driver would inch a little forward in an attempt to change the perception that we were moving forward, other times we would jostle and fight with other cars to move into other lanes that appeared to move forward but really was due to cars abandoning the lane. As time ticked by, I prayed silently that the flight would be delayed.

I got to the airport by 20:00! A quick check of the airport departure boards indicated the flight had been delayed to 20:45. Prior, I had done an online check-in, but had been unable to print my boarding card. So I ran over to the check-in counters and found them dark and abandoned.  A sense of foreboding washed over, I might have to stay overnight in Rome and I really wanted to be home. I talked to God, asking what to do.

I spied an information counter and sidled up to talk to the man who was dealing with a customer inquiry. I waited patiently and by the time he had finished with the customer, it was now 20:17. Calmly, I asked in my best Italian if he could speak English and was so happy when he said he could. With pressing urgency, I convinced him to help me print a boarding pass that was sitting in my emails, after all the flight had been delayed. Seeing the look of desperation in my eyes, the lovely, beautiful, wonderful customer service man helped me. I thanked him, I thanked God and continued asking God for help.

20:23 - I ran to security and there before me was a long line of passengers. Security inspected my boarding pass, and indicated I was too late. I quickly updated them on the flight status and then asked the passengers in front of me if they would help me get to my flight. Like the red sea parting, all the passengers stepped aside to let me through. I could have kissed every single one of them.

20:30 - One final barrier was passport control and one lady tutted and wagged her finger at me, so I waited patiently behind her. Once through, I ran, overtaking the "tutting" lady, and crossed the airport to dive onto a train that was leaving for the gate. I arrived at the gate at 20:35 and gave God a visual hug.

My finger is on this same journey. I had arrived late for treatment and now is to believe and trust that God will guide me through the best path. But what ever happens, I have learned that being proactive is a far better approach in life than the passive, laid back one I have sometimes been taking. Andy Chadwick's toes compared to my fingers were in a far worst state. He increased his chances of "survival" by proactively getting treatment. My initial passiveness has meant that I have put in far more effort to ensure the integrity of my finger.
Progress Update on Left Finger:
Day 28: Saw the hand doc for a review. As Gollum (Lord of the Rings) stroked the gold ring, the hand doc did the same to my finger. He stroked and squeezed my finger commenting on how hard it was. Then he decided to stab the pad of the finger with his nail. He got a yelp out of me and I snatched his hand away from my finger. He was surprised at there still being life there and I was annoyed. Despite this, he still felt it would need to be amputated. I think he has a stash of differently types of injured fingers/hands pickled in a hidden library somewhere. Decided to not return!

Was told by another competitor who had frostbite, that in Minnesota they don't consider amputation for at least 8 weeks into the injury. Additionally the doctors who I have been consulting via email have encouraged me to leave it for at least 8 weeks.

Day 30: The scab peeled a little, and I helped it along....carefully and did not disturb any part that was not lifting off.

Day 51 (when this post was written): The finger pad sometimes itches and have been giving it a salt bath as infection is still a concern and can spread. The whole scab moves, although parts are still stuck down. Am tempted to pick it off as am concerned about the rubber band effect (shrinking scab restricting blood flow to the injured areas), but have been warned to leave it for the moment.
Have been applying a moisturiser to reduce the scab from splitting up and potentially causing infection to the parts that are still healing.

Treatment from day 28 onwards has been a good dose of vitamin D3 to help skin/tissue repair, Gingko to aid circulation, thyme and oregano as an antibiotic, fresh aloe vera applied twice daily as it has vitamin E and some other healing stuff that has been found to help frost bite injuries.

For anyone affected with frostbite, this is a great document to read about the healing process of frostbite with all the gory pictures.

My guess is that there is a good chance of the finger healing completely and a small chance of part being amputated. If it has to be amputated then will look for a cool "swiss army" prosthetic finger attachment. Until that time, I need to protect it's suit of armour until the tissue has fully healed.
 
 
PictureFingers after rewarming action by Dave the Medic
Extreme cold temperatures mean you cannot afford to make a mistake, you need to pay attention and be aware of yourself at all times, because frostbite can catch you in the matter of minutes. Raynauds syndrome gives you a higher predisposition to frostbite as your hands (and feet) will shut down earlier than "normal" people even if your core body temperature is warm.

I did not pay attention in the 14th hour, distracted by trying to get a sled moving, and when I realised that a couple of my fingers were still not working, I did not take evasive action believing it was perhaps Raynauds causing the numbness and not the extreme cold (it was probably -50 at this point). I thought I would get to the checkpoint before anything "bad" would happen.  It is said that in extreme cold weather, frostbite can take hold of your extremities within  minutes. I could have put on a pair of over gloves, but thought I would get to the checkpoint soon. It was about an hour. I took off my damp gloves - probably damp from sweat and from having residual sweat that I had wiped onto the gloves earlier in the event to ensure my face did not have any water on the skin. Having experienced -30 before, sweat can freeze on the face even if it is covered...though it might be a damp covering as Al experienced! So at least I had no cold injuries on the face :-)  I had expected an injury to the right pointing finger as had spilt a bit of water on the glove and the glove around that finger was covered in ice. There was a bit of frostnip on it but all was fine.

First the "good news" finger. The right middle finger had a little bit of frostbite on the top and was quickly diagnosed as being first degree. Meaning although it was sore on thawing out (no worst than thawing out numb fingers), the damage is superficial, there was no blistering and it has an excellent chance of healing. As you can see from the following images the tip of the finger started restoring itself within a week. There is a bit of blackness on the tip of the finger and will expect that to peal off over the next couple weeks/months. In the meantime the skin of the frost nipped fingers have been peeling off. Plenty to chew on!
The other hand is a different story. The left middle finger was white, waxy and hard when it came out of the glove. Dave had warned it appeared to be a 2nd-3rd degree burn, even though it had not blistered. I thought I was lucky, though on thawing there was more pain from it than the right middle finger.Later on that night,  I continued to put the finger in warm water that Mar (a fantastic lady who took pity on me and looked after me) had provided. However, that night (8 hours later) as I tried to sleep with it under my armpit, it was throbbing and felt like it was being sliced apart. The finger tip blistered and became knarly. Checked into the local A&E who put me in a wheel chair (even though I showed her my finger) to take me to the A&E room. The nurse came round and did the normal: checked my vitals; checked my tetnus jab was up to date and offered me drugs if I was in pain. There was some throbbing but I declined the offer four times. I like to feel my pain so that I can respect the injury. By the afternoon the pain had subsided by itself (or perhaps it is just because I'm a gal and therefore have a high pain threshold!).

Advice: Leave the blister intact! Do not pop or pick the blister as this will increase the likelihood of infection. The blister will keep blistering to form a clear demarcation before any action can be taken. Call back in 4 days time (Saturday) to assess the finger. Doc also prescribed a cream in case the blister burst and thus to reduce the risk of infection.
Question: Should I keep it raised to reduce the swelling in the finger?
Answer: No, as you will reduce the blood flow to the finger
Question: Should I take anti-inflammatories to reduce the swelling in the joint?
Answer: It won't make any difference (however I found it did make a difference, see later)
Question: Should I keep moving the finger?
Answer: It might help

As I was unable to call back into the centre in 4 days time, it was recommended I checked into an "urgent care" centre. So I went away with a prescription for a burn cream, that I did not pick up.

Below is the left hand side of the left middle finger. It has been a great conversation piece with everyone I meet. Of course I showed it to a queue of people and the lady at the till, who were waiting for me to pay for an item and at the same time staring at the finger and thus opened up more conversations.
The top of the finger joint continued to swell and blister as the days went by and I got to show off my finger to some of the finishers and DNFers at Fortune Bay. One of the finishers (3rd attempt) told a story of how he got frostbite last year and all of them blistered and then the skin would peel off itself. It was great hearing the stories. Heard also about Andy Chadwick, cyclist, who had black toes when his foot came out of his shoe and had blistered immediately upon warming. Again I thought I had gotten off lightly.

Day 3: Got to my friend's place on the Friday. She took one look and suggested an antiflammatory. Took it because thought I had nothing to lose!

Day 4: The swelling in the lower finger joint had significantly gone down and the blister itself felt a little softer. I decided to take advil for 3 more days until the base finger joint looked normal. I jumped into an Urgent Care centre. Unfortunately they did not look after
wounds and advised me to go to another place, but I would have to call them early. It felt an effort, so I talked to the local pharmacist who gave me some advice to keep the blister clean and also talked to the triage nurse over the phone from the local hospital. Both the pharmacist and nurse suggested getting it checked by the doc. I took that as an option so didn't bother as there was no pain, no redness, though had a slight trickle of blood into the blister.

Day 5-13: Had to travel to different states for work so monitored for infection, and talked to everyone who saw 'the finger". I
believed everything was fine since no redness, and only the odd bit of discomfort occasionally. I believed it was draining nicely and drying out to become scabby.
Day 14: Arrived back in the UK and Uncle took one look at it and took me straight to A&E at Kingston Hospital. Doc 1 looked at it, said it would need debridement and would have to see the plastics team. Nurse came in, took my vitals and said the doc will see me after. We waited for 3 hours in a little cubicle. Doc 1 had signed off without seeing me again. Doc 2 looked at the finger, was concerned about how necrotic the finger was and sent me to St George's to see the plastics team. Perhaps Doc 1 wanted a second opinion. Just wished there was more communication rather than being left in a cubicle waiting and wondering.

Checked into St George's and 7 hours later was seen by someone from the plastics team. Hadn't seen frostbite but took photos to consult with other docs. Sent me away with antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection (wet gangrene).

Day 15: Was called to see the hand specialist at St George's. The registrar decided to explain what frostbite was to me. None of them had much experience and more photos of the finger were taken and more docs came to have a look at a frostbite injury. The consultant said it would probably need to be amputated but would give it the "benefit of the doubt" and see if there would be any improvement in 2 weeks time but he would take it off rather than it withering on the bone. He also recommended not to take the antibiotics as I would be on them for a long time. It felt that he wanted to "have" my finger in 2 weeks time. Couldn't believe it as although I might be able to feel anything when it is touched, it feels I have a thimble on the end of my finger protecting the healing tissue underneath. And as more docs came to have a look and more photos were taken, I wondered if I
could put on a bikini and pose with my finger!  Andy's feet were in worse condition than my finger and thankfully he had taken evasive action when he had returned back to the UK that week, so improved his odds. See below.
I, on the other hand, appear to be playing Russian roulette and been far too blaise. Hand doc got me thinking. Although I might be late, I needed to raise my game and talk to doctors who had experience treating frostbite. Al (Candian who took pity on me at Gateway) recommended I talk to Dr Mark Seaburg, an Arrowhead racer who likes cold races and works out of Minneapolis, USA. Another friend recommended I talk to Professor Christopher Imray, a vascular surgeon, who is also a rock climber and works out of Coventry, UK.

Both have gratefully provided me their opinions and although there are some slight variations with regards to drugs to use, both of them said amputation should be the last resort and that it should be left for as long as possible. I trust both of their opinions as they both have experience treating frostbite and because it sounds better. If it is not infected why chop? The finger will never grow back....although a bionic finger might be cool! Also from research provided by Chris for me to read, frostbite can appear worst than it really is, so the body needs to be given a chance to heal the injured area. And if it does die and there is no infection, the finger top will self amputate. Hope am not eating when that happens....might think it's part of the dish.

Review session with the hand doc is scheduled for 24th Feb. All going well (no infection), I expect to be walking out with 10 fingers and reassessing at the end of March or mid-April.