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Re: Recovery from serious injury?

Postby Presto » Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:59 pm

What an amazing thread this has turned in to ... I'm getting a bit weepy just reading other people's stories (and putting mine in perspective).

It makes me wish I had posted here when my injury happened, instead of living for months without sharing it except with a few close friends on this site (and "shutting down").

I think I would have bounced back mentally and emotionally quicker had I done so.

Thanks for posting awilbur77 ... I hope this will be as cathartic for you now as it has been in hindsight for me.
As if none of us have ever come back with a cool, quasi-epic story instead of being victim to tragic rockfall, a fatal stumble, a heart attack, an embolism, a lightning strike, a bear attack, collapsing cornice, some psycho with an axe, a falling tree, carbon monoxide, even falling asleep at the wheel getting to a mountain. If you can't accept the fact that sometimes "s**t happens", then you live with the illusion that your epic genius and profound wilderness intelligence has put you in total and complete control of yourself, your partners, and the mountain. How mystified you'll be when "s**t happens" to you! - FM

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Re: Recovery from serious injury?

Postby awilbur77 » Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:11 pm

Presto wrote:What an amazing thread this has turned in to ...


Seriously, these stories are awesome. The PMs and emails with heartfelt words of encouragement that I've received are amazing. One thing I've already learned from this injury, is that people on this forum are generally awesome, and caring. It's teaching me that maybe I should be less anti-social in the future.

Thanks to all of you, you've helped me (and likely others) more than words can express.

Keep the stories coming too...
"Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." - Hellen Keller
http://awilbur77.blogspot.com/

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Re: Recovery from serious injury?

Postby broncotw » Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:34 pm

In 2010, I had double fusion surgery in my cervical spine (C-5/C-6 and C-6/C-7)... Years of competitive water skiing had taken a toll on my neck.... The neurosurgeon went in through the front of my neck and replaced the two (2) dilapidated discs with artificial ones, and then installed two (2) titanium plates with six (6) screws.

I had the same speech by my neurosurgeon -- "that I would have to alter my lifestyle and all"....

I completely recovered and have climbed several 14ers since, I still water ski, run, lift weight, and pretty much do anything I want to...

Hang in there -- you WILL recover and make it back! Keep us posted.....
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Re: Recovery from serious injury?

Postby Rarefied » Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:35 pm

ap snow wrote:I spiral fractured my tib and fib skiing in Argentina ... I had to crawl miles to get back to the resort


Shades of the book/movie "Touching the Void"! :shock:

Speaking of climbing books, I seem to recall one of the mainstream ones describing a legendary 8000 meter mountaineer who had sustained some sort of terrible injury and then had gone on to climb still more ultra-high peaks. I don't recall the specifics now but perhaps someone else does. If I have that right, it might be a good read for the original poster.

R

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Re: Recovery from serious injury?

Postby Buckeye-Annie » Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:15 pm

awilbur77 wrote:
Seriously, these stories are awesome. The PMs and emails with heartfelt words of encouragement that I've received are amazing. One thing I've already learned from this injury, is that people on this forum are generally awesome, and caring. It's teaching me that maybe I should be less anti-social in the future.

Thanks to all of you, you've helped me (and likely others) more than words can express.

Keep the stories coming too...


And please keep your story of progress coming as well! I think when you're ready for that first 14er hike you should let everyone here know. If it sounds good to you, we could organize a group hike for all of us "written-off, shattered-boned, and dislocated-jointed, smashed-up adventurers" and join you for a victory summit! \:D/ Of course it's up to you.
The measure of a person's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.
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Re: Recovery from serious injury?

Postby Wyoming Bob » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:17 pm

Presto is right, a great thread . . .

Did my ankle last year, a "lucky break" that did not require surgery. Took 5 weeks to get out of the boot, 9 weeks to the first post break 14'er (Bierstadt) and 21 weeks to the first completely ache and fatigue free climb. My doc (Cheyenne Frontier Days' orthopedic) asked how I did it (climbing), what did I want in the way of recovery (more climbing) and after the boot came off gave me a verbal PT prescription "use it and don't do anything stupid."

I wondered. . . is the climbing gig up, does a 52 year old bone mend, am I going to get out like I once did. The standard questions. Hang in there and next year when you are out climbing and this is a fading chapter, you just might find that you came out on top, more confident in both climbing and other parts of life. Somehow after these type of events and recoveries, those little nits that used to mess up your day, just don't rate like they once did.
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(and btw, are we all running around with our X-rays in electronic form, I thought only a serious engineer geek would do such a thing :o
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Re: Recovery from serious injury?

Postby photog » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:50 pm

SummitKathy wrote:
“Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"” (Author unknown)


I believe this quote comes from Hunter S. Thompson. I am truly amazed at all the stories of tenacity and perseverance. The mountains we love have clearly created some tough characters.

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Re: Recovery from serious injury?

Postby anasarca76 » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:28 pm

My worst injury is a broken clavicle, which doesnt even compare to your injury; however the limits imposed by the injury made me realize how much I love what we do! I used it as motivation to be more careful and attempt to be more health conscious overall, it ended up being a positive thing in the end :) I agree with everyone else that if you put your mind to it and rehab hard within the limits of rehabilitation you'll be back at it in no time! And since you will likely have a bit of time on your hands in the initial stages of recovery, might I suggest hitting up the "what are you reading" thread.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=22724&hilit=what+are+you+reading+endurance#p271307

I think that some of the adventures in these books show the awesome things we can accomplish when we put our minds to it and they always seem to motivate the hell out of me! I just finished reading Endurance and WOW, that is an amazing story to stay the least! And as mentioned elsewhere in this thread, Joe Simpsons tale, Touching the Void is more along the lines of what your experiencing and is also truly amazing! May as well take the down time to enjoy some of the better stories out there :) I wish you a speedy recovery and keep positive!

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Re: Recovery from serious injury?

Postby Rarefied » Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:11 pm

Rarefied wrote:Speaking of climbing books, I seem to recall one of the mainstream ones describing a legendary 8000 meter mountaineer who had sustained some sort of terrible injury and then had gone on to climb still more ultra-high peaks.


It finally came to me. Doug Scott broke both of his legs on the Ogre in the Karakorams in 1977. Clearly it was not a problem going forward as he continued to put up world-class climbs over the next 20+ years. Here's an account:

http://www.markhorrell.com/blog/2013/touching-doug-scotts-void/


R

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Re: Recovery from serious injury?

Postby audiotom » Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:49 pm

Wow, what an awe inspiring thread!

Photog. - it is a miracle that you survived the crash looking at the remains of your car.

What huge obstacles you have overcome, mine pales by comparison.

I went to grad school in Golden in the mid 80s at School of Mines
Getting transferred shortly after starting my career in geology / oil exploration was heartbreaking.

My intent was to come back to Colorado - today that would be switching to oil shale companirs or early retirement

Oh the bliss to be climbing again

Unfortunately my knees are getting the best of me. I took up running at 50, lost 40 lbs doing 5 miles a day. Then tore up my knees.

Two meniscus surguries and a third coming up end of March. I booked our summer climbing trip for july. Might only get one mountain. But I'm taking my son and we will have the time of our lives regardless.

First surgery I climbed Quandry 3 months later - without treking poles and strong prayer circle it would not be possible. The spectacular October climb in lightly dusted snow made for a good distraction from the pain.

Since, i've had very acute pain, can't run. Arthritus. Not bone on bone yet, thankfully but it feels like it. Dr says no running, and I wobble on my knees as it is.

Can't play heated games of basketball with my son, volleyball, etc. I'm going easy on them hoping I can at least be able to climb at some point. I need to lose weight to help the situation, vicious cycle. Perhaps I will really need to religiously push the therapy.

I realize my concerns are trivial in comparison, and until recently would never have slowed me down. Anyone with similar issues who is back up on the mountain? Breakthroughs in therapy.

Your conquests over incredible adversity are inspiring

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Re: Recovery from serious injury?

Postby MountainMedic » Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:43 am

I am so sorry to hear about your injury. It's incredible (and tragic) how a single moment can come to define your life for so long. Unfortunately, I can relate to your situation very well. I moved out to Colorado right after college to take some time off before applying to medical school. I ran competitively in college, and half of the reason I came out here in the first place was to climb/run/ski/hike - do all those Colorado things.

In August 2011, I was hit by a car and broke my left ankle. The break itself wasn't bad, but my initial care was crappy and it healed funny, resulting in a chronic tendon tear. I'm now down 1/2 a tendon that's key to running. It took a year of rehab, but in August 2012, I was well on my way to getting my mileage back up to 60 mpw (highest I did was 30-something), and I climbed 29 14ers from May-August 2012, including some pretty big days, all sans pain (would've tried for 'em all if not for the next paragraph).

In August 2012, I was in a rockslide on Hagerman Peak. My right ankle was but a minor casualty, as one of my best friends was killed in the accident. I had a minor disruption of my syndesmosis and related ligaments, along with several broken bones in my foot and an avulsion fracture to the peroneal tendon sheath on my fibula. Certainly not as bad as your injury, but pretty darn bad. I was on crutches for 3 months. Six months later, I'm in CT doing rehab all over again. I go out drinking with my physical therapist. It's crazy to think I could run a 16:00 5K a year and a half ago - I just learned how to walk for the third time. In a strange way I'm almost glad I broke my left ankle - if I hadn't learned how incredibly depressing an injury can be but that there is indeed hope, I don't think I'd be holding it together right now.

I have a friend here who was paralyzed for two months after a T12 burst fracture from falling off a ladder. He's now a personal trainer, can run just like he used to prior to his accident, and is planning on starting medical school to become a spinal surgeon next year.

Your ankle will probably never be quite the same, and you'll likely have some considerable pain for the rest of your life. But if you do your PT, and, once you get the green light, really push it, there's no reason you can't recover even from an injury as nasty as this one. If you have a doctor who tells you you'll never hike again - find another one who will work with you. The surgery done on my left ankle was a non-standard procedure performed by a doctor who was willing to take a risk to get me running again. The first doctor I saw told me I could walk forever without pain, but that running more than a couple miles would kill. Just remember there IS a light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, that tunnel is long, uncomfortable, and puts you out on a side not quite as bright as the one you came from. But it's still worth going through.

While I am a complete stranger, I sympathize with you and would be happy to talk ankle injuries whenever. I know how crazy you can go. Your family will be a godsend. Shoot me a PM if there's anything I can do!

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Re: Recovery from serious injury?

Postby awilbur77 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:13 am

Buckeye-Annie wrote:And please keep your story of progress coming as well! I think when you're ready for that first 14er hike you should let everyone here know. If it sounds good to you, we could organize a group hike for all of us "written-off, shattered-boned, and dislocated-jointed, smashed-up adventurers" and join you for a victory summit! \:D/ Of course it's up to you.


I like this idea, and I will certainly post something when and if I get to thinking of trying a summit. It'll likely be summer by then though.
"Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." - Hellen Keller
http://awilbur77.blogspot.com/

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