Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Guessing at BBC's Sports Personality of the Year shortlist

Unlike 2012 where it was really difficult to fit all the appropriate people into the shortlist after the London Olympics, I'm struggling to find ten names that can be nominated for BBC's Sports Personality of the Year award. Of course there were many highlights but getting the number of deserving people to double digits is a tall order.

To help with coming up with a list, I've analysed the situation by looking at each sport to see if they can come up with a nominee:

Football: Even though England qualified for the 2014 World Cup, hardly anybody stands out to deserve any plaudits. No British player lit up the domestic or European scene either. The only British footballer who can even merit a mention is Gareth Bale, who won both Player of the Year awards and became the world's most expensive footballer.

Motorsports: With Vettel dominating Formula 1, Button & Hamilton were left to feed off the scraps. The only world champion of British origin worth mentioning is Tom Sykes, who won the World Superbike Championship. Hopefully he will get a mention, considering the likes of Carl Fogarty and James Toseland have previously been nominated before.

Cricket: With England winning the home Ashes, it is most likely the team as a whole will be nominated in the Team of the Year award. Individually, there isn't really anybody who stands out. Stuart Broad and James Anderson might get a mentioned but I would like Ian Bell to be featured, since he was the best player in the Ashes with three centuries.

Rugby: As it was a non-World Cup year in union and none of the British Isles teams couldn't reach the rugby league World Cup final, it will be difficulty for a single player to be nominated.

Tennis: Really there is only one person who can be nominated. Andy Murray should win this year. He won Wimbledon for crying out loud! No British man has done that for 77 years. He also won three other tournaments, got to the final of the Australian Open and helped get Great Britain back into the main group for the Davis Cup. Plus he's appeared on Mock the Week again - what's not to love about him?

Golf: I honestly forgot about Justin Rose winning the US Open back in June. Everybody thought Rory McIlroy or Luke Donald would dominate the scene but Rose finally fulfilled his destiny after bursting onto the scene back at the 1998 Open Championship. Another leading contender for this year's SPOTY award.

Athletics: As it was a world championship year, there will be a number of athletes in the short list. Most prominently will be Mo Farah, who equalled his achievement from London 2012 by winning the 5000 & 10000 metres in Moscow. Another champion who should be mentioned will be
Christine Ohuruogu, who won the 400 metres with another dramatic finish, which surely will be mentioned when her nomination is discussed.

Boxing: The most likely man to get mentioned will be Carl Froch, having won the WBA super-middleweight title against Mikkel Kessler in May and retaining his titles (in much controversy) again George Groves in November. 

Cycling: Chris Froome will surely push Andy Murray for BBC SPOTY this year. He followed up Brad Wiggin's Tour de France win last year by keeping the title on British soil. He will definitely be nominated but may not win since Wiggins just won last year. Plus the black cloud overhanging the world of cycling thanks to Lance Armstrong's drug confessions may not help his sport's image.

Others: It would be nice to see Ronnie O'Sullivan being nominated, to recognise his status as the finest snooker player since Stephen Hendry. Whether or not he will play ball is another matter. I'm sure AP McCoy and Phil Taylor might get mentions.

As you can see, there is a lack of female & disabled sports people in my list. I'm sure there are many champions who can fit those criteria, for example Hannah Cockcroft and Richard Whitehead, but they need more media coverage - surely a nomination for SPOTY can help?

Monday, November 04, 2013

Just a minor medical ailment

Up until now, I have been relatively healthy physically. Like everybody else, I have had the odd share of the sniffles and the runs. Yet nothing too drastic warranting a major intervention. The only major medical ailment I had was as a child, when I was hospitalized for five days for a fever. The doctors had difficulty finding out what was the cause. In the end my predicament was due to an urinary tract infection and there was no permanent damage. Since then I have been relatively lucky

(I'm glossing over the factor I have major depression, since I'm talking about physical complaints and most people have difficulty comprehending psychiatric illnesses as being major conditions.)

So some part of me was glad when I got injured in September. I know that last sentence sounds weird but something inside wants to boast I had a scar or a major surgery performed. I haven't even had appendicitis before and most people seemed to suffer that.

I was volunteering for Hong Kong Dog Rescue, a dog charity I frequently help out. I was about to finish up, when one of the dogs (I cannot remember which mutt was responsible now) had escaped from his pen. I was trying to retrieve the dog and I thought I had him cornered. He suddenly rushed passed me and, in an attempt to stop the canine, I reached out with my left hand. He banged quite hard on my hand and he was eventually caught.

The dog was guided back to his pen eventually but there was a problem with me. My left ring finger was twisted and was pointing towards my left little finger. I knew I had either dislocated or fractured my finger. If the digit continued to be in that position, I was worried that was going to be permanent damage.

So I twisted the finger back into place.

There was a large crunching feeling to accompany it. I really don't know if that movement caused my finger to become even more broken but I wasn't going to risk it. Whenever I tell people I set my finger back into it's original position, there is always that reaction associated with being kicked in the genitals. People wince at when I say I twisted my finger back into place, thinking there was a large amount of pain. To be frankly honest, there was so much adrenaline pumping through my body, it was less painful than I anticipated.

After making sure my finger was as straight as possible, I drove myself back home so my dad could drive me to the hospital. The drive home was just full of constant swearing and making sure I didn't crash, causing further injury. My father thought it was just a simple finger sprain but I knew something was wrong when I started to feel numbness in that finger. Never argue with a doctor regarding medical conditions!

I waited for about 45 minutes in the Accident and Emergency department before I was eventually seen. Before people harp on about the long waiting times at Casualty, I accepted I would be seen a little later than expected. I was in pain but I wasn't dying. There are more pressing patients requiring attention. Sometimes you just have to accept the situations that arise.

I was eventually seen by a doctor who let's just say his bedside manner wasn't the greatest. He was surprised, bordering on impoliteness and rudeness, that I knew I had to explain my condition in medical terms and that I was a doctor. He didn't even examine me at all. All he did was give me a provisional diagnosis of a sprained finger, order an X-ray (the first thing he did right) and said if there was nothing wrong with the X-ray he would just give me some painkillers and a few days sick leave.

You know there is something wrong if the radiographer who takes your X-ray says, "Your finger is completely shattered!" The Accident and Emergency doctor, after seeing my X-ray, finally physically touched me and admitted me into hospital - the second thing he did right.

I got to see the doctor on-call, who didn't recognize me but I did recognize him as an old medical school classmate. Probably I've gained so much weight since we last met he didn't notice the change in appearance. When he told me I might not need surgery, I would be put in a slab and will be seen by the specialist on Monday morning, some part of me was a bit disappointed. I wanted to have surgery to show I had something physical wrong with me. I know I'm weird thinking these thoughts.

So I was put on a slab, attended my "Diploma for Advances in Internal Medicine" lectures the next day before returning to the hospital on Monday. After I was assessed by the specialist, they said performing an operation wasn't going to help much, so they decided to let the finger heal by itself and I was put on a splint for the next ten days.

Woohoo! Time off work! Not that I spent the free time lounging around. My professional examinations were just around the corner and I used the extra time studying. Yes, doctors are boring since they used their spare time in books. I had already planned to take a few days off to study anyway, so I was thankful towards my department secretary in cancelling that scheduled leave.

The specialist followed me up ten days later, saw that I was healing nicely with minimal displacement of the fracture and very little rotation of the finger. She thought I could go back to work. At first, I was a little shocked I was going back to work so early. It usually requires four weeks for the fracture to start properly healing. I was still in some considerable pain. On second reflection, it was better that I returned to work as soon as possible. I still had nine other digits which still functioned normally. All I had to do was adapt my routine, take regular painkillers and ask my supervisor to cut the amount of patients I needed to see.

I'm grateful I have a sympathetic supervisor, who cut my patient quota more than the recommended amount that was set by the occupational medicine doctor for the first few days I was back at work. The main worry was typing, which most doctors in the general outpatient clinics do. Initially there was a great deal of pain, having rested that hand for ten days and having to move the left hand around the keyboard to compensate for the lack of use by the ring finger. I forget my painkillers on the first day back to work. After just half hour of typing, there was considerable amount of pain warranting an immediate prescription of ibuprofen from the clinic.

There was a lot I couldn't do apart from typing. Whenever I had to examine someone's throat, I had to switch the torch and the tongue depressor around, since I could press the tongue down with my left hand. Examining major joints was a bit of hassle, since I couldn't grip the limbs properly without wincing. Driving was mildly hampered since I couldn't pull the handbrake. So I had to keep my foot on the brake when waiting at the traffic lights. Cutting anything was a knife and fork resulted in an ouch, since I couldn't properly grip the fork in that position. It resulted in me having to ask my mum to cut my bacon - not the proudest moment of my life.

Eventually life has returned to normal. I took my professional examinations without too much of a problem. I don't need to see the orthopaedic surgeon anymore, since I'm no longer in pain and there is nothing they can really do. There is a mild bending in the finger, since the affected area has been shortened, and a minimal of rotation of the finger. Otherwise most functions I can do normal. I'm still on a reduced patient quota, which means I don't have to be as frantic seeing patients.

Being ill can be a disturbing experience. Yet sometimes is not as dramatic as you think.