PC #72 – Would I, had I known?

My knee injury didn't happen on the Camino.

It happened over a period of nearly 35 years.

In 1978 I was a passenger in a horrific car crash in which my spine was broken, my right leg was smashed, my teeth were smashed, and I received internal injuries.

It was touch and go as to whether I'd ever be able to walk again.

I was in ICU for 10 days, and Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital's Spinal Unit, in a full plaster body cast, for three months.

I had been a keen long distance runner, and shortly after my recovery I began running again. But because of the accident, I'd lost a bit of length off my right leg.

My biodynamics were all out, even with orthotics, and so with doing about 80-100kms per week, I gradually screwed up my knee, to the point where I could no longer run.

So the injury has been there a long time.

Yesterday I wondered – if I had gone to a doctor before my Camino, and if I'd had x rays done, then the doctor would have told me that a) it would not be possible to walk 800kms on my knee, and b) if I tried, I would do serious permanent damage.

So what would I have done?

It certainly would have affected my Camino, had I seen the doc beforehand. I would have been less confident, and it might have weakened my resolve – my determination.

I know for sure it wouldn't have stopped me doing the Camino. I was so fixated with doing it, nothing would have stopped me. But it would have dented my sense of entitlement of completing it, that's for sure!

That's why, when my knee gave me pain in training before I left Australia, I didn't seek medical advice.

I'm so glad I didn't!



41 thoughts on “PC #72 – Would I, had I known?

  1. Bill,

    I have learned there is always a purpose for the events in our lives, we may not always see that purpose at the time, but surely its purpose will be revealed to us sooner or later.

    If you had sought medical expertise before Camino, the result might have been different than it was the other day – that is something you will not ever know.

    Although you believe you would have walked the Camino any way, you might not have received the same outcome you experienced.

    Nor might this loving PGS family that you singlehandedly created have come into existence.

    “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.”
    ~ Ecclesiastes 3

    Love and Light,


    • Dear Arlene –

      you are absolutely right.

      The car accident I mentioned happened for a very definite purpose, I know that now.

      What is, what was, what will be, is meant to be.



  2. Do you believe your intuition/PGS stopped you from going to the doctor beforehand? You said you were so determined that nothing was going to keep you from the journey, I have a feeling that those thoughts crowded out any last minute doctor visits. I have arthritis in my SI joints and they can become almost frozen at times. An exercise physiologist from Cleveland Clinic said I shouldn’t walk. Yet when I do, I feel stronger and the joints don’t bother me as much. In fact, as long as I walk every day I don’t feel any pain. Not walking just seems to go against every bit of PGS I have!


    • Hi Julie –

      yes, I think you’re right.

      I did everything to do with that trip following my PGS, and it definitely told me not to go to a doctor, even though it became obvious that my knee was going to give me some strife. I think your PGS does definitely want the best for you – and it will guide you towards that.

      Good that you’re walking!



    • Of course you will!

      You’ve made the decision. You’re going, and you know it.

      If I were you right now, I’d do it too. But I’d do fewer kms each day. I’d probably restrict it to about 20kms a day, rather than the 30km+ I was regularly doing.

      I don’t think that helped things for me



  3. Hi bill,
    go to see a chiropractor, they are the best to help to improve the biomechanics, so that your other knee and your spine slow down the degeneration.
    I am one of them and I help many patients having had car crashes.
    marie the basque


    • Dear Marie –

      So you’re a chiropractor!

      (I hope I don’t need your services on the tour!)

      It’s good advice though, thank you. I will see if I can find a decent one here in Mudgee.



  4. I think caution is the guide post and anything else I say will put me in front of a lynch mob, I fear. Pushing through the pain is not always the wise choice. Listen to your body. Nothing macho about pushing the limit and causing further injury. I’ve said enough. 🙂


    • Steve, thank you for saying this.People seem to think if they push through pain the have heroically conquered the fact of damage. Pain is the body’s way of alerting you to something being wrong. So someone saying they listened to their body and went on, anyway, is a contadiction in terms. A doctor is going to make a recommendation, that’s his job -but its not the word written in stone for cripes sakes. You can seek another opinion, choose what you feel is right- butif you are going to go by listening to your body, then LISTEN TO IT.No one can have it both ways. Stop pretending your will.knows best when you have no medical training. Its like me picking up a camera and shooting away without looking through the lens. IMHO.


      • Sister, I am in no way opposed to listening to one’s body, but as you say, listen to it. It speaks to us, namely through pain. Having spent the last 30 years in the gym and the last 20 as a competitive bodybuilder, and being a certified personal trainer, I know something about the body and when to push it and when to back off. I have torn my calf, my quadriceps, my supra-spinatus, my anterior cruciate ligament, and my medial meniscus. With the medial meniscus, the orthopedic surgeon insisted on surgery and would not even prescribe PT. So, I got another doc to prescribe PT and have not had surgery on any of them. I am, however, a little deformed. 🙂

        But, in each case, I have backed off on my exercise routine and started at the beginning and built back up. Today, I am contending with what I believe is tendinitis in my hips from the strain of walking when my quadriceps were already too tight from working out and not enough stretching. If I had to go back to the Camino today, I would not do it. I could probably make it but frankly, it was no fun walking with pain in my hips and it would not be fun next time either. I am a whuss where pain is concerned. So, I am on a course to rehabilitate my hips and not make the same mistakes again. Yesterday I walked a whole mile and one half on the treadmill at 3 mph pace. Thirty minutes. See how that feels in a day or two and then maybe increase it, or maybe not.

        The Camino does not necessarily “provide” where injuries are concerned. Spirituality does not always trump physicality where injuries are concerned. If so, there would be more ministers and less physical therapists assigned to professional athletic teams.


        • You are so right, Steve, and I couldn’t agree with you more. It seems to me we only have the one body, for life. If we wreck it, we are resposible for healing it, or making it worse by ignoring the consequences. Being “brave” or ignoring the body’s messages is just foolish. If wishful thinking was a viable solution, there would be no pain, starvation, war, poverty, climate change etc etc. But wishing doesn’t seem to make anything perfect, at least as far as I can see.
          The mind has a huge role in healing. When I was 24 I had cancer. Waiting for surgery the next day, the anesthetist said to me ‘”But you’re so young!” And I replied, “I’ll still be young”. I believe that helped in my recovery -but I didn’t get off the operating table because of my positive attitude – I stayed, had the surgery and treatment, and eventually recovered.


  5. Geez… I’ve missed you guys – and gals. The Australian outback is extraordinary and I saw more stars that can be imagined, but I love being back catching up with my PGS world!!!! 🙂


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