Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Just when I thought I was in a position to finally catapult my way above 5.11, I went out and injured my thumb. This is my first injury since the winter of 2006, and I am bummed.

It happened Friday afternoon while paddling across a bay in Maine to an island that I and several friends were to camp on. The camping weekend was a great weekend, but on one of the traverses across from the mainland to the island I walloped my thumb in between my paddle and the boat. I didn't really feel it at first (well, that's not true, I totally felt the impact, but I didn't feel the sprain until much later). The initial impact certainly hurt, but I didn't notice the swelling until much later in the evening. At first, I thought I had broken it, but I was relieved to be able to move my thumb, which told me it was probably just a sprain. Still, the swelling was pretty severe. I think my sprained thumb was three times as large as my healthy thumb, and I believed that couldn't have been good.

I iced it a little Friday evening and took an ibuprofen to ease the swelling, which I was told I shouldn't have done. Apparently for sprains, ibuprofen should be avoided in the first twenty-four hours. Oops. The swelling did go down with each icing, however, which I did a lot of on both Saturday and Sunday. In any case, I could hardly hold items in my hand all day Saturday. If I wanted to open my water bottle then I needed to place the bottle between my knees and twist the cap with my healthy hand. It was so bad that I needed someone to open a package of chocolate for s'mores Saturday night.

But by Saturday evening I was able to pick up things and open my water bottle, even if there was a little bit of pain. The overall soreness had decreased a little as well. By Sunday morning, I was able to open my bottle without wincing, and also pick up moderately heavy or awkward items (logs and sticks for the fire, orange juice, etc). The swelling had pretty much gone away yesterday, and it has stayed away today. I'm still taking ibuprofen and have iced it a couple of times the past two days as well, but the soreness is still there. Mobility is returning slowly, so that is a good sign, but I'm really concerned I could be out for a couple of weeks. "Jello" is coming back to climbing for a week or so this weekend, and I'd really like to get outside with him. I'd also like to get an indoor session in before going to Rumney, Cannon or North Conway (depending on where we decide to go), just to test the thumb and get some of my form back (which I'm sure I'm missing by not climbing since last Thursday).

Anyway, I've had a good stretch and I can say that this injury was not because of overuse or because I was too heavy. I've taken good care of myself the past eighteen months and am really starting feel as if I am in good shape. This kind of injury isn't because of overuse or being overweight; I hit my thumb. It's the same as slipping on ice - and that could happen to the fittest of athletes. Still, I'm concerned I'll be out longer than I want to be. Only time will tell how I get through this. Here's hoping I don't do something stupid and start climbing earlier than I should. One never knows with me...

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