Tuesday, 8 September 2009

The Only Way is Up

Well, after thirty years of climbing, it had to happen. On Sunday, 6th Sept I was soloing some easy routes at the far left end of Stanage when a hold broke and I fell 6 metres , landed awkwardly, dislocated my left elbow and broke my left wrist.

We were at the the far left end of Stanage soloing some easy routes at the start of the day to get warmed up. I had backed off the top move of a route because I wasn't happy with the sloping holds and moved into the top of the neighbouring route and was pulling on a boulder in a crack and moving my feet up when the rock broke in two, a piece about the size of a laptop bag came away. I flew outwards about ten feet and landed on the edge of a small step formed by small boulders. My feet slid from under me and my body twisted to the left and my elbow and wrist hit the rocks, then my back landed on them.

Once the initial panic died down, my climbing partner, Mike, checked my arm for breakages but couldn't find anything. Since I was able to walk, I headed slowly back to the car, about two Km away. The low point was having to ask a group of off-roaders to help me over a stile! They weren't interested in offering further help though. Once Mike had caught up with me (he'd had to tidy up and carry both sacks) he drove me into the A&E at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield.

Sat for what seemed like ages in the admissions room watching people with minor cuts and the like being turned away - what some folk think of as an emergency beggars belief. When it was my turn with the triage nurse, within two minutes I was trussed up on a stretcher and being whisked into the treatment area.

Once admitted, I had lots of x-rays, the worst bit was when the x-ray recording plate fell onto my arm, even though I was on morphine, the screams were loud enough and horrible enough that those outside were turning pale. I ended up having two attempts at resetting the elbow before being taken into surgery and having the elbow set and the wrist pinned on Sunday night. I was due to have another op yesterday but it was cancelled - the first I knew about this was when they said they were discharging me - because I'd been due in theatre I hadn't eaten or drunk anything since coming out of the first op - a total of two pieces of toast in thirty hours.

The arm is better today but wiggling my fingers still hurts, it'll just take time I suppose.

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