At the end of the tunnel
There’s that feeling, a downward spiral. It’s normally accumulation of excess, sometimes it’s mental deterioration, in this case it was excess which led to physical exhaustion.
Apelike activities finally caught up with me a few months back. On attempts at ascents I would find myself falling, not through big pushes at new reaches, instead through simply my hand just let go. It became a problem when my confidence was impacted. The irritation of this was amplified when at night I would wake with pins and needles in my right hand. The frustrating numbness became a regular bolt on to my nightmares.
In a drawer I found the wrist splint Cici had used following the wallpaper/gravity/tiled floor fracture of Halloween 2011. Initially I wore it at night, but it did very little. It then became an accessory to my winter wardrobe. I’d wear it during the day and when the pain became worse I would press my forearm firmly on a desk, squashing the nerve on the metal support of the splint.
The pain increased to new levels each week. Sometimes it would be a dull ache, then it would be sharp pinches. The pins and needles crept from my nightmares into my daily activities. At times the numbness would spread, and combined with the pain, for a brief moment as I determined whether it was coronary failure or simple pain, I would secretly wish for coronary failure.
Painkillers did little bar induce a dull ache in my kidneys. If diet could cure genetic faults in my cholesterol production, I believed they could cure pain. Foods high in natural aspirin became a staple on my plate. Quantities of tomatoes exponentially made an appearance, yet still, improvements remained void.
Two months in I surrendered to the fact that climbing was out of the question.
In alignment with this, Andrew had badly damaged his knee. Perhaps it was a sympathy gesture, perhaps we were just tired broken humans. With a lack of obsessive ascending generating a hole in the daily schedule, the gym seemed a last resort.
Anticipating recovery we signed up to a gym with membership which subsidised phyisio therapy sessions. Often lifting remained out of the question for me but leg work was a feasible choice. I found a great personal trainer who worked with me to find workouts which were achievable. This led to a great boost in confidence. In parallel, new footwear choices introduced me to barefoot running.
With confidence increasing through strength returning, we got the go ahead from our specialists to hit the slopes in Courchevel 1850 with a great bunch of buddies.
A week practicing extreme snow plough in alignment with Andrews slightly more competent approaches to technique led to improved health. Maybe the whole commute and 9/5 in an office environment had finally pushed my body to catch up with my downward spiral of consciousness.
The mountains yet again paved a way to a cure. Arriving back, my specialist advised trying out a cortisol injection into my carpal tunnel. So, armed with mental preparedness, I sat in the practice and endured a steroid shot.
Sleep was aided by the accumulation of three months of varying doses of painkillers bar morphine, and as had become nature, I woke in the night to sensations in my hand. This time, I tapped my index finger with my thumb and noticed something had changed. Bolting upright I continued the tapping with my middle finger, then back to index. It wasn’t a dream, the feeling of numbness had dissipated into that of normal touch. For the first time in three months I could feel my finger tips.
The next morning I beat the sunrise, opened up my laptop and started typing. I opened photoshop and finished a series of images I had put on hold for a client while unable to fully utilise a Wacom tablet.
Overwhelming excitement engulfed me, I picked up my camera knowing that this hiccup has failed to halt my journey behind the lens.
Months away from these pages and my camera has reiterated my passions. The mental space, while frustratingly dull at times, has led me to evaluate where I am.
There's no punchline or plate shifting conclusion here, just the promise to myself that I will find a positive path in the direction of my passions.