It took 58 days, but I finally climbed again.
Those two months went by faster than I thought they would, and I surprised myself (and I think some of my friends too!) with my discipline in not climbing. I spent the time being as productive as possible and enjoying a schedule that wasn’t completely dominated by climbing and training. I still spent plenty of time in the community and at the gym, but I actually had evenings that I spent at home.
It’s been three weeks since I started climbing again, and I’m happy with my progress thus far. At the start, I was only climbing big jugs – and I was very tentative and unsure on those. Since then, I’ve climbed a handful of times, and I’m starting to feel much more confident, comfortable, and fluid on the wall. And it feels nothing short of amazing to be moving again.
The finger still feels stiff and sore sometimes – but it’s improving every day, and I barely even notice it anymore. I’ve regained full range of motion, and it’s definitely getting stronger too. I went for two sessions of physical therapy, but after the second visit, my therapist told me that I no longer needed to come in. Excellent news, and I’m stoked to be heading in the right direction.
Even now, I’m still not 100% sure what I did to my finger. My doctor says a partial tear of the A2 and most likely involvement of the A3 and A4 as well. I’m suspecting that I did something to the collateral ligament, too.
Regardless, the exact diagnoses doesn’t matter to me. The treatment and recovery would have been and continues to be the same: ample rest, therapy (which I’m continuing to do on my own), and not being stupid.
So far, so good. I haven’t suffered anything resembling a setback to this point, even after bouldering. My first time in the cave, however, didn’t really go so well. I was just too hesitant and felt too weak, and it was discouraging. I felt that I had to pull too hard, even on the biggest holds on easy problems.
I tried again a few days ago though, and the improvement is definitely noticeable. I managed to squeak out a few V4 flashes, and I even gently held a few crimps with an open-hand grip. All with no pain during or after. Though I don’t plan on resuming bouldering training immediately, I’m glad that I can continue wrestling pebbles, even if they’re easy ones.
So for now and the foreseeable future, I’m just working my way back into it, enjoying being a full-fledged member (mostly, at least) of the vertical world again. I don’t have plans to begin training hard again, and I’m not planning any competitions or events for the rest of 2013; instead, I’m going to focus on being a better climber and better person, and I’ll hit the ground running in 2014.
I’m stoked to spend time reaffirming (and possibly reshaping and reforming) my passion for climbing. There are big changes coming in my life (see: moving to California in August), but I know climbing will remain a constant.
Really, I’m just happy to be back.
(Also, sorry for being off the grid lately. It’s been difficult to find the time to write when I’m motivated, and it’s been difficult to find the motivation when I have the time. I’m going to try to get better with being consistent, but it may need to wait until after I move to California. But then, grad school may get in the way. We’ll see. Regardless, thank you so much for reading. And I’d also like to thank my sponsor Skratch Labs for sticking it out with me through an injury-filled 2013. Stay stoked and climb on!)