Monday, July 30, 2007

Thumb Update

As I've mentioned before, I whacked my thumb in between a paddle and canoe a few weeks ago whilst paddling out to an island on a camping trip. That was on a Friday, about 17 days ago. That night, my thumb was HUGE - about four to five times larger than normal. It was still very swollen the next couple of days, but I iced it and took enough ibuprofen to calm the swelling down and allow me to actually use my thumb for simple tasks such as holding a water bottle, standing up from a seated position and, at times, opening a bag of chips. But after a few days, the soreness remained, and so I sought out my doctor.

He sent me to get a wet scan and thankfully told me that all I had was a contusion (bruise) and not a hairline fracture (phew). Still, this was somewhat troublesome because "JoJo" has had a contusion on her hand since this past winter (just from bumping the back of her hand on a staircase railing), and that has kept her out of climbing since then. This, as I have heard, is despite the fact that her doctor has told her that she should be fine to climb on a couple of occasions. I think she even had a cortisone shot or two in there somewhere.

My doc told me to buy a Spica splint and take enough ibuprofen throughout the day to keep it in my bloodstream, and so I have. The splint really helped keep my thumb in a good, resting position when I wasn't using it. This, in my mind, meant that things were on the up and up. This was so much so that I decided to test my thumb by climbing yesterday, and I'm not sure if that was a mistake or not.

I jumped on some pretty easy climbs to start, and, for the most part, the thumb was a little sore, but not so much that it would keep me from putting weight on it. There were a few, specific-type holds, however, that kept me from putting too much weight on my thumb, but on the easy climbs, I was able shift my feet so that the weight went to my feet instead of my hands (don't think for an instant that I haven't thought this is a good thing. I typically have great footwork, but I could always get better). But when I got on a 10b that I have led well in the past, the thumb hurt like hell.

Anyway, I guess i have a decision to make - climb easy grades and extend my recovery period out several months or shut everything down for a month or so to see if I recover more quickly. I can climb. I can probably even climb hard routes, but pinches and thumb-wraps are painful; not just sore, but painful. If it really is a bruise, it's in a damn-unfortunate place. I'm climbing again Thursday. We'll see how it goes.

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