The Art of Ignorance

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El Cajon Mountain, The Wedge: The Mountain I’ve been Climbing Most Recently

I wrote a really long post, about 1000 words, that I just deleted. It pretty much described my incident again, but most of you know what happened. If you don’t check it out here. What followed that initial fall was a brainless march back into my regular routines, trying to climb as hard as I had previously, and not respecting my injuries. The result was a very slow recovery, and some of the most intense days of active pain I’ve ever experienced. When not physically, emotionally, and the only way I could cope was denial. Denial that I was hurt, denial that I needed help. All I’ve ever known is how to cowboy up, so I never went to the hospital, I never sought medical help from a professional. I just trudged forward in my simple stubborn way bound to overcome my situation.I remember my ex-girlfriend turned me onto this movie called Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, she thought I’d like it based on one quote that comes very late in the movie: “You embrace the suck, and you move the fuck forward. What other choice do we have?” I liked it then, and I’m glad that I found it, because it means a lot more to me now. One of the reasons I didn’t go to the hospital after I fell was because I knew they were going to take the slight rock to the head as reason to keep me overnight. They were going to charge me for MRI’s, and CAT scans, and X-rays. If I was lucky I’d have walked out a quarter of a million in debt. I decided to embrace the suck and take my chances.

When I sat there in the free health clinic at SDSU today looking at the X-ray of a healed fractured femur, a fracture sustained in the fall, I couldn’t help but feel, sad to say, PROUD AS FUCK! I had one person in mind when I wrote that, and I know she’s just shaking her head right now saying, “Why do I even talk to this guy?”

I fractured my femur. So like I told everyone, it wasn’t that big of a deal. It was just a small little fall, nothing worth seeing a doctor over. Upon further inspection of the X-ray the doctor just looked at me in awe, and he said that the missing piece of femur was pretty much just an aesthetic flaw at this point, and will have absolutely no effect in my functionality. We checked the head of the femur, and the ball joint in my hip, and there was no damage. The only other thing there was a big dark spot, dried up blood and fluid, below the healed fracture. That’s the hematoma. He felt around on the hematoma, had me do some weird old person exercises and concluded that I was good to go. He said, “Just don’t be climbing on that fractured knuckle.”

And there you go… I downplayed a fractured femur, and then I played hard on it 6-7 days a week for two months following the accident, while working 5-6 days a week. People looked at the hematoma, the ones who asked to see it, and they looked away gasping in disgust, “Dude, you seriously need to go see a doctor.”

“Oh, it’s not that bad,” I’d reply, “It will just take some time for the swelling to go down.” Then I’d go out and slackline for hours, or I’d go walk twenty miles around the whole city, or I’d go climbing walls in East County.

I should say that the support from my climbing friends has not been optimal, because they’ve dangled climbing objectives in front of me like baiting a wolf. It’s taken so much discipline for me to rein myself in and contain my urge to hop in my car bound for some grand adventure. I’m fuckin wrecked, and I’m really understanding now that I won’t heal unless I chill.

All in all I’m pretty pleased with how this all went down. I was sitting here beating myself up the other day, considering cutting off my finger (just kidding?), and to find out that I got super wrecked, like fractured the strongest bone in my body gives me a little bit more hope. I didn’t express my pain, but the pain sure did wear on my psyche, and the fear that I was seriously wrecked was always in the back of my mind. Knowing that I cracked a piece of bone off my femur puts the pain into perspective.

Can you believe it? A fractured femur. STILL NOT AN EXCUSE!