In less than 10 days, I get to see how life without a splint on my left hand, wrist, and thumb goes. I imagine I’ll still be wearing the splint at night for a few weeks as I transition back into using my left hand and continue rehabilitating it. For things that I do away from home, such as driving and leaving home in general, I’m going to wear it just for protection. It is a touchy injury and must be guarded carefully against re-injury. I have to get back to climbing as soon as I possibly can! I’m suffering from some type of lethargic madness as a result of not being able to climb for four and a half months. It’s a strange depression – one that renders me unable to do anything if I can’t do the one thing that my heart desires, which is to climb.
I want to climb and write. That’s what I want to do with my life. I want to climb mountains and write about it. I want to climb sandstone cliffs and granite spires. I want to climb all four seasons, whether with axe in hand or my hands jammed in cracks and my rubber-clad feet searching for that elusive and critical foothold stance that will give me the relief to place a piece of protection. I want to feel the sharp jab of the limestone pockets against my finger joints and sharpen my ice tools when I’m experiencing a setback or an illness. I’ll oil up my cams and check my gear when I get a spare moment before flights here and there in the world to climb. I’ll meet friends, international and domestic, to crush some first ascents in little-known and unspoiled areas of the globe. I’ll name those first ascents after what strikes me at the time, whether it be a set of weather conditions or a random thought of some feature of the climb. I’ll climb every mountain, every crag, every steep natural thing on the earth that I’m able to, all the while perfecting my craft and slaying the negative thoughts and demons that PTSD would otherwise be plaguing me with. I’ll dread some approaches and welcome others. I’ll see the beauty of the earth from the tops of the mountains that I climb and think, “Now I have to get down somehow…” Sometimes I’ll want to get back down and sometimes I won’t ever want to come back, but when I get back, I’ll write about it…and you’ll read it. I’ll write page-turners with short, manageable chapters – mixtures of deep thoughts and adventures and questions to make you think about what you’re doing with your own life. That’s what I want to do.
I’ll start again today with my dietary choices and some core exercises that don’t involve using my wrists, hands, or thumbs. I’ll get some cardio in and spend some time with family, and my mom will say to me, like she said to me yesterday, “Why don’t you just write about it? Just let other people climb the mountains and you can write about it.” And I’ll say, “No, Mom, I have to climb the mountains.”