Monday, March 23, 2009

An Accumulation of Injury

February 20, 2008 -- Ruptured tendon sheath and A1+A2 pulley on my left ring finger. Over a year later this requires taping and care to prevent re-injury. I haven't done much in the way of therapy, although now I am stretching it and trying to strengthen it with exercise and vitamin I. This is an extremely common climbing injury, and it would have been really nice if someone had told me this could would happen if I tried to hang my weight on my ring finger. I have suffered a catastrophic tendon injury in the past requiring surgery and months of healing. I can tell when it's going to rain, even 30 years later. I know that I will continue to use my finger and it will hurt, and swell, and as long as I continue to use it, it will continue to work. And hurt.

January 3, 2009. I fell on the ice in the parking lot of my class in Flagstaff, AZ. It hurt at the time, but not the way it does now. Although I struck the outside of my elbow during the fall, the real injury affected the inside of my elbow and now the tendon seems to hurt under usage, in a way like tendonitis without the sandpaper feeling.

December 7, 2008 -- I pulled a hamstring on my right leg while climbing up Trousdale Ave, during a 30 mile ride with the Mushroom Girl. It still hurts, but only if I try to ride a bike.

September 2008 -- I stepped out into the front yard barefoot and crunched my foot down heavily onto the brick surrounding the lawn. The clicking noise probably wasn't a break, but was rather an adjustment of some of the metatarsals. They now are capable of rendering sufficient pain to a stop a good run. On the last hike I made in the Superstition Wilderness (December 30, 2008), I took some Ibuprofen and hiked through the pain, which seems to have helped stop it from happening. Psychologically, however, it is a factor limiting the extreme boundaries of my performance. I am afraid and unwilling to plan longer hikes or runs because of this.

Today, Lance Armstrong broke his collarbone, and there's a lot of thinking he won't make it to the Tour. The truth is, as you get older, it's all in the journey (it's not the bike). You don't heal as quickly. Fortunately, we endure pain better. Losing some of the function of our finger may not be that important. Ibuprofen works, and it doesn't matter as much that it might damage our livers. It's more fun to climb anyway, eat Vietnamese food, enjoy our friends. To climb gracefully, without complaining. For me, enjoying the moment is infinitely valuable.

Aside from that -- I am thinking about hiking a piece of PCT. Maybe in a few weeks. Despite my injuries.

1 comment:

Steve Skinner said...

I think pain’s real purpose is to remind us to enjoy the journey to the fullest and to stick to the path! Maybe that’s what Captain Cook meant when he said “Ambition leads me not only farther than any other man has been before me, but as far as I think it possible for man to go.”