„Would it it be okay if you couldn’t ride a bike in the near future?“ – Her english isn’t perfect, but it’s sufficient for communication. Not that mine’s any better… And the doctors question is hard to misunderstand.
As we arrive in Prague, I’ve been having this stinging pain in my right knee for two days. We decide to rest for two nights (because time heals all wounds), but as I get even worse, waking up with a glowing, swollen knee, we head to a clinic.
The visit is quite weird; while the clinic seems to be professional at first glance, the doctor answers her private phone while doing check-ups to have an extensive conversation with a friend, and since the phone’s already in hand, why not finish the round of Candy Crush?
After finishing, she gives me a first diagnosis: I should take a long break from biking. To find out more, a very friendly receptionist guides me through a shopping center into a building complex looking like my soviet nightmares; Behind barred windows hide cold and simple tunnels, reminding me of a spooky psychiatry. No one here speaks english anymore: In fact, the woman who is supposed to x-ray my leg doesn’t seem to speak at all. No greeting, no goodbye, not one friendly look (Come to think of it, most of the supermarket cashiers we met in the Czech Republic were like that too, but they at least smiled).
After being guided back to the clinic by the talkative receptionist, I am told to come back the next day to see the surgeon. When I do, he does an ultrasound check-up and diagnoses that water has built up in my knee – a reaction to overly heavy usage. That’s good, because nothing’s broken or otherwise seriously harmed, but no one can tell me how long it’s gonna take to heal, and the surgeon’s advice is quite drastic: He suggests to completely quit biking for now. When leaving, the receptionists tells me about him having the same injury a while ago and him playing soccer after a couple days of rest, which makes the situation seem less grim.
Anyways, while I will listen more closely to my body (and especially my knee) in the future, theres no way I’m cancelling my plans and this trip now – if my knee wants a break it’ll get it, but I won’t stop biking for good.
For now, I’m staying in a hostel for four more days while Daniel and Vince power through the Czech Republic to Vienna, where I’ll join them by train. That feels like cheating, but in the current situation it seems to be the best way to go.