“I was on the bench and I felt a shooting pain in the side of my foot,” recalls Dunfermline defender Lewis Martin. It was the pre-season of 2020.
“Then it went into both of my feet and, around Christmas, to my hands and fingers.”
It has been a while since the former Scotland under-19 international has helmed a press conference.
After all, he has not played a competitive game of football since a 1-1 draw against Partick Thistle in March 2020.
But Martin is admirably articulating his absence to the assembled media; the excruciating uncertainty, the spreading, creeping pain.
Since that outing at Firhill, he has endured a tortuous battle with a mystery illness which threatened to end his career. With almost constant discomfort in his extremities, a return to football seemed fanciful.
Physios, doctors and specialists alike could not even agree on the diagnosis, let alone a cure.
“That’s when my head was all over the place,” Martin continues. “I didn’t really have a clue what was wrong. I didn’t know if I was ever going to get better.
“I couldn’t do anything at the gym, I couldn’t go to training. I was just in my house.
“I was sent to see people that I maybe shouldn’t have been seeing, but it was just about ticking everything off the list to find out what was actually wrong.
“My family were great with me and my girlfriend’s been really good. They kept me going and kept my head right.”
After myriad examinations, blood tests and failed treatments, Martin was finally prescribed tablets which solved the issue.
He is now entirely pain free and, such has been his progress in training, was handed a contract with Dunfermline until the end of this season.
The news was greeted with fanfare by the Dunfermline faithful; universally desperate to see one of their own in action once again.
“When I was in the match-day squad [on Sunday against Raith Rovers] I saw a lot of people Tweeting and messaging me,” he smiled. “It’s good they’ve not forgotten about me!”
Martin is fulsome in his praise for Tommy Scanlon and Paul Green, two new arrivals to the Dunfermline medical department from Hibernian this season. Physio Karen Gibson, now with Cricket Scotland, also receives a nod.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been training — well, proper training,” continued Martin. “I’m delighted to be back involved.
“I’ve played two bounce games, too. I played centre-back in the first [against Hibs]. Then against Livingston, I played in central midfield and did well.”
And he could be afforded the opportunity to illustrate that versatility when the Pars visit Morton on Saturday.
For believers in serendipity, Cappielow is where Martin made the first of his 158 Dunfermline appearances in April 2013.
How sweet number 159 will be.
He added: “It was a great to just be on the bench on Sunday. When I do get a game, it’ll be a special feeling.”