Climbing buddies to the rescue!

Yesterday, my world got leveled.  I put in a call to my doctor, who’d said he’d be out of cell range on Friday when I saw him, so I didn’t expect to actually get ahold of him, but he needed to know what was going on.  I left him a message.  I also shot him an e-mail.  I tried calling my friend Russ in Iowa twice, then texted him once, letting him know I needed to talk to him.  I didn’t know who to call.  The Doc wouldn’t be calling back that day.  I didn’t know if Russ would get my text that day or not.  I needed somebody whom I knew would be available to at least hear what was happening – just to have someone else, another person, know that my life was falling apart.  I called SteepWorld, where all my local friends are, hoping that McKenzie was working.  It was McKenzie who answered the phone.  I asked her if there were a lot of people working and if she had just a few minutes to talk.  I told her about the crisis that was going on.  She was working, so we made plans to meet at a coffee shop this morning at 0700 hrs.  Good.  Plans.  She immediately called Emily, who immediately called me and asked if she could come meet me at the coffee shop I was at right then.  I said sure.  As Emily was on her way over, Russ called and I talked to Russ for a while.  Emily showed up and spent the next four and a half hours with me at the coffee shop.  I was so glad to have a friend to just discuss life in general with and be safe with while I tried to wrap my head around the situation and the initial shock.  I went home eventually and Emily made sure that I was okay and that her folks were cool with me crashing at her place if I needed to.  Awesome.  Plans.

I hardly slept last night, but woke up to my alarm, so I slept a little bit.  I left at 0615 hrs for the coffee shop and McKenzie met me there with a coloring book and some Crayola crayons.  We both had something to drink and McKenzie tore out the page of my choice so that I could color a wild-looking octopus on one side of the page and a colorful-looking walrus on the flip-side of the page.  It was calming to talk to her and color.  Just concentrating on coloring in the lines and choosing colors took my mind off of the crisis while we talked.  I didn’t realize it, but McKenzie was to fly to Alaska to spend a week with her family today.  She came and spent her morning with me, even though she still had to pack and get on that flight this afternoon!  We walked over to Walmart, which was close by, and got me a coloring book identical to hers and some Crayola crayons so that I could color when I got upset.  McKenzie signed one of the pages she had colored and gave it to me when we got back to our vehicles.  She went home briefly to pack and then we planned to meet at the climbing gym.  I went back into the coffee shop after she left for a bite to eat because I felt dizzy and nauseous.  The food helped a bit, and I drove over to the climbing gym.

I sat in my truck, having parked in my customary spot, unable to summon the strength to get out of my truck and go inside.  Emily showed up and came to talk to me.  She encouraged me to come in with her and I followed her inside.  After I had put my valuables in my locker, I was warming up on the bike while Emily ran on the treadmill and Diane asked how I was doing.  Diane and Chad are close friends, too, so I told her what was going on.  She’s been through it.  I hadn’t noticed, but Chad had gotten on the bike on the other side of me and overheard what I had told Diane.  Chad’s been through it, too.  He and I had a good talk while we pedaled away.  McKenzie showed up and as I was getting ready to wipe down the bike I’d been pedaling on, Dr. Nicholson called.  He and his wife were on a plateau where he had a patch of cell service and he’d gotten my message from yesterday.  I lost the call once, but he called back and I told him that nobody was taking climbing away from me and what I was doing to deal with the situation.  “You’ve worked hard and you’ve got friends – real friends.  Your friends are taking good care of you.  Okay.  I’ll see you tomorrow.  Glad you’re taking care of yourself.”  They had to get off the plateau, as a thunderstorm was forming.  I went downstairs after wiping the bike down…

I had to go outside and get some air.  The smoke hung thick in the air today and it looked like fog.  I called my husband and told him that my doctor had said he needed to get off the steroids as soon as he safely could because they’re messing with his thinking.  I spent quite a while outside.  I went back inside, then went back out to get my 40m rope, just in case I felt like mock-leading.

After going to the bathroom, I got my climbing shoes, harness, and chalk bag on.  That was honestly as far as I thought I was going to get.  It took everything I had left to get my climbing gear on.  I looked at the wall.  It seemed impossible.  Emily came over and said she’d climb next to me on the auto-belays if I got on the auto-belay at the end so she could get on the one in the center.  I reluctantly agreed.  “You’ll feel better once you’re on the wall.”  All the way up, every few moves, she’d say, “Okay.  Shake out.  Breathe.  Take deep breathes.  Don’t give up.”  I just focused on the next hold, one hold at a time, and resting and shaking out and breathing every three holds or so.  At one point, Emily said, “Now, doesn’t that feel better?  Keep breathing.”  We neared the top.  “Okay, finish it!  You’ve got like, literally, five handholds to go and you’re finished!”  I finished it!!!  I finished the route!!!  “Now let go.”  I let go and allowed the auto-belay to lower me to the mats below.  I gave McKenzie a high-five and a huge hug, telling her over and over again that I did it.  I unhooked and gave Emily a huge hug, thanking her for climbing next to me.  I was shaky and sat down.  Emily got my water for me and I drank the whole bottle.  I breathed hard and deep, my forearms so pumped and solid that they were like steel.  I’d made it.  I’d made it when I thought I had nothing left.  Slow, but sure, with the encouragement and coaching of my friends, I’d made it.  I sat there for a long time.

Emily and McKenzie had to go because Emily had to take McKenzie to the airport.  I gave them both a huge hug and thanked them.  I took my iPad Mini up to the mezzanine and logged my single route send as a 5.6 redpoint on MyClimb.  When I came back down after a while, Chad and Diane were packing up.  I gave them each a huge hug, too, telling them I’d probably see them on Thursday.  They were very encouraging.  I packed up and got my valuables out of my locker.  Upon arriving home, Jerrold was gone.


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