|A near-home view of Denver, the city where I was born|
I was annoyed about dozing off on the floor while working on projects, so I decided to go for a run on Monday evening. Usually when I'm feeling low on power, an outdoor excursion boosts my spirits and my energy levels. Beat was running home from work, so I planned to meet him on the saddle of Green Mountain, about 3.5 miles away. Just getting there proved to be more than I manage — my legs were weak, I became dizzy, and had to sit down on the trail twice to clear my head, even though I was hiking at a relatively low-exertion pace. It was going to be a long hike back, so Beat agreed to run ahead and meet me at the trail junction with the car. While continuing to attempt a jogging pace, I must have looked fairly pathetic, because a fast-moving runner stopped and asked me if I needed company. No, I replied, my boyfriend was coming to rescue me. It was a most horrible run — the kind where you wonder if you're permanently broken.
Tuesday was my appointment with the hand specialist, who basically performed the same examinations that my doctor friends conducted in Nome, then referred me to a physical therapist for a nerve conduction test — just like the one I had in Nome seven weeks ago — one week from now. Any further appointments will likely sprawl out for weeks or even months.
Effectively, I'm in the same position I was in mid-March. I haven't made that many gains in the healing process since then. I do have better dexterity and strength in my hand, but a lot of that is just becoming more adept at working around my limitations — using my ring and pinkie fingers to carry the bulk of the workload, and strongly favoring my left hand, which has led to muscle atrophy in the right. I can't put pressure on my hand without pain, and every so often it sends out sharp electric shocks that cause me to fumble dishes or drop my camera.
To be honest, I'm really frustrated with this injury right now. I acknowledge that it's minor in the scheme of things, but the near-constant low-level pain, its impact on nearly everything I do, and the fact I can't ride bikes, are all beginning to grate on my mood. Beat and I had dinner with Joe Grant Thursday night, and he joined the chorus of long-distance bikepackers who assured me that nerve damage is normal, and one day, suddenly, it's going to feel a lot better. It may take months, but it will happen. Don't get surgery, he urged. I remain a skeptic. To be honest, if I could find a doctor willing to cut into my wrist tomorrow, I'd probably sign on. I also considered deciding that since this injury is never going to heal on it's own, I'm just going to ignore it so I can ride bikes again. But I doubt I could ignore it. I'm too much of a sissy when it comes to pain.
|Beat running at Walker Ranch. Can you find him?|
Today the head fog seemed sufficiently lifted so I ventured out, relishing the warm sun even though my skin was coated in a thick paste of sunscreen — because that's another thing it's going to take to survive at 7,000 feet. But somehow, the miles came effortlessly today. For the first time in Colorado, I didn't feel like there were lead weights strapped to my ankles or a sling tied around my neck. For the first time in Colorado, I almost felt like a runner. Of course, after looping around the trail, I failed the find the turnoff to my own street, and had to take the long way around. All the better.