Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Recovery update- 4 weeks on

Just over 4 weeks ago I was lying in Belford Hospital with a profound sense of deja vu. Almost 2 years ago to the day, I was in the exact same position with almost the exact same injury after a car accident. This time it was after a climbing fall. Compression fracture to T12 was the diagnosis ( it had been L4 previously). As I contemplated the long road to recovery that lay ahead, I briefly thought about the fall. It was nothing spectacular really, just a few metres up the route before reaching the sparse protection about halfway up it, I mucked up the moves, tried to lower down but landed awkwardly. I immediately felt a searing pain in my spine and the numbness from my mid chest downwards certainly suggested I'd done something serious. Thankfully the loss of sensation only lasted a few seconds. I felt my back muscles go into spasm and I was pretty sure I'd been here before with this type of injury.
Photo by D. Scott

Photo by D. Scott
After survivng Kev and Davie's exruciating banter for about 40 minutes, my extraction off the hill got underway!
I'd like to offer a big thank you to Mike, the rest of Lochaber MRT and the crew of Rescue 177 for getting me off the hill in a quick and painless fashion! Also, to my climbing partners on the day for sorting things out in a timely manner, cheers!

Back in the Belford Hospital, after a CT scan, it transpired that the fracture was much less severe than last time. There was no need for bed rest for 2 weeks and no rigid back brace for 3 months. I was on my feet after 2 days and home by the third. It definitely felt like a shorter road lay ahead this time. Again, thanks go out to friends and family for the visits and support whilst in and out of hospital.

Keeping Robin entertained in the Belford!
So, 4 weeks down the line things are going pretty well. The physiotherapy to strengthen the core muscles is going well and my general mobility and movement feels almost back to normal. Today was my first day climbing at the Ice factor with Kev, which was a bit of a test of things. As with any injury, I think it's normal to try and protect the area so whilst I felt my arms and feet were doing ok, the general body movement felt a bit stiff and awkward. Still, the small victories have to be enjoyed at this stage. It's too easy to feel good, push things too far and push the recovery back.

Next week I'm hoping to head back into the mountains and once the magic 6 weeks are up in terms of bones healing, I'll be keen to push on a bit further with the training for Winter. Until then though, slowly and genlty does it...