You probably can’t tell from the picture, but at that exact moment I was experiencing a wee bit of pain. A few moves prior, I had slipped and bashed my left knee into the rock. By the time I was back on the ground, it was hurting enough that I considered spending the rest of the day belaying. But it was my first outdoor climb since last summer, the day was gorgeous, and I had really, really, really been looking forward to this.
So I sucked it up and kept climbing.
After my fifth climb, I was noticeably limping.
“Let me take a look at it,” a friend offered.
“I think it’s better not to know,” I told him.
I probably should have gone straight home to ice my knee, but instead I went out for pizza with another friend.
“We’re climbing tomorrow, right?” she asked me.
“Absolutely,” I said.
(At this point you may be wondering how I have managed to stay alive this whole time, and also who let me have kids. Excellent questions.)
I couldn’t avoid looking at my knee when I took a shower. It was swollen and a terrible shade of purple. I immediately freaked out, sent a ton of pictures to a medical friend of mine and called him, shrieking, “It’s broken!”
Spoiler alert: My knee is not broken, since I can both bend and straighten it, and it bears weight. It’s just super banged up.
“You’re getting older,” my friend told me. “You can’t do this shit anymore.”
I thought he meant climbing, so I went on a good five-minute tirade before he stopped me, because what he actually meant was all the stuff that came after climbing, i.e., the part where I pretended I wasn’t in god-awful amounts of pain.
Obviously, injuries are not just for old people. Accidents can happen to anyone. But if I want to be climbing and running and skiing and whatever else when I’m seventy, then I need to take care of my body now. That means maximizing my health and safety to prevent injuries, and minimizing the damage when I do get hurt.
So I cancelled climbing for the rest of the weekend and spent Sunday on the couch with an ice pack. When I woke up on Monday, the swelling was gone and my knee was a lovely shade of green.
That’s good enough, right?