British pioneer swimmer Lewis Pugh underwent emergency surgery on Friday after losing all feeling in his right leg. A vertebrae had shifted and a piece of it was removed.
Pugh spoke to sarie.com from his bed at the medi-clinic in Constantiaberg, Cape Town.
“I wish I could say a polar bear was chasing me!” He said. “Nothing dramatic. One morning I woke up and my leg was slightly lame. The next morning more so. The third day, there was no feeling. “
Pugh will spend six days in hospital followed by six weeks at home in bed. The full recovery time will be anywhere between 9-12 months, and he confirmed that it was in fact quite painful.
In the interview he speaks of his doctor’s siberian husky, also named Lewis, who has come by his bedside and been of great comfort.
Thank you to Dr Melvill and his superb team. It's been a tough 48 hrs. But Lewis (his husky) keeps my spirits up. pic.twitter.com/3T3pElAtZp
— Lewis Pugh (@LewisPugh) May 22, 2016
Here’s a tweet from Pugh with Lewis the dog in his hospital bed on Thursday. Check out his full twitter profile here.
Pugh is the first man to ever complete a long distance swim in every ocean in the world, and frequently swims in vulnerable ecosystems to bring attention to their condition.
Some of his more notable swims include swimming across the North Pole in 2007, a glacial lake on Mount Everest in 2010, and in 2014 became the first man to complete a long distance swim in all seven seas.
The North Pole swim was to bring attention to the melting of the Arctic sea, and the one on Mount Everest was to alert people on the melting of the glaciers in the Himalayas. His mission to complete a swim in all seven seas was fuelled by his desire to urge surrounding nations to create more marine protected areas.
In 2010 Pugh was named a ‘Young Global Leader’ by the World Economic Forum for his “potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world through inspiring leadership”, and he was also inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 2013.
Find the full article on Pugh here.