I’ve had some really bad days these last few days. I can understand why people do drugs and commit suicide…PAIN!!! I have gone 5 days without a shower and am lucky to get my teeth brushed once a day. Those who know me may be shocked by that, since I am always brushing my teeth. Yesterday I weighed in at whopping 109.4 lbs and that is with 2 pints of ice cream in my belly from Jim trying to cheer me up. I feel like I have hit the bottom of a shit hole and I am ready to get the F out of here.
I had a visit with my Dr. yesterday and he told me that the pain I’m having is from the tourniquet that was placed on my upper arm during surgery. The pain is not in my wrist. It’s in my upper arm. It feels like I have a dagger sticking in my deltoid muscle along with muscle twitching and numbness. I also found out that along with my plate I have 9 screws in my tiny wrist. How is that even possible?
On the bright side I will have the splint and sutures removed tomorrow. This makes me so happy. The sutures are starting to itch and the splint is terribly uncomfortable. Plus I haven’t washed my hand or arm in 2 weeks. I also have an appointment to have a removable splint fitted tomorrow, which should make it much easier to shower. I believe I will have to wear this for 6-7 weeks and I should be starting physical therapy soon as well.
Ok I am done with my pity party. I would like to say how thankful I am for my wonderful husband, Jim. He has been amazing, always trying to put a smile on my face and doing so much for me. He has mastered making organic juices for me and he makes my raw cookies just as good as I do. Thank you, baby. I love you.
Each day has been getting a little better. My fingers no longer look like sausages and I can fully strighten them without much pain. I have been keeping the wrist elevated and am continuing to ice it. So hopefully I will be back to normal in 8 weeks.
Mom sent me a picture today of the color up in North Carolina and it is really getting beautiful.
I made it around the block this morning without seeing any sparkles. I still felt a little high, but have been reducing the pain medication and hope to be off of it soon.
I would like to send a shout out to Jonathan, owner of Designs for Health. Designs for Health is a top of the line supplement company. I have been taking their supplements for years and they are the only supplements that I have taken that have made a difference in the way I feel. Jonathan recommended some supplements for bone and tissue repair and I have started on those today. Thank you Jonathan! Hopefully with these supplements and Jim’s organic juices and raw food diet I should heal quickly.
The anastetic block I had in my arm for surgery wore off well before the 24 hours they said it would last. This made yesterday pretty rough. Well truthfully it was very painful and reduced me to a crying baby.
This morning I woke up feeling much better and in a lot less pain. I rested most of the day keeping my wrist elevated and icing frequently. This evening I decided to join Jim while he walked Berkley. It would be good to walk a bit. Well by the time I made to the end of the driveway I said to Jim “WOW look at all those sparkles” everything was shimmering kind of like Edward from the movie Twilight when he steps in the sun. I think I should cut back on some of the pain medication!
Monday October 19, 2015
Jim and I decided to drive back home Sunday night after we were able to get Dr. Rosenbaum an orthopedic surgeon from home to look at the x-rays of my wrist and he recommended survey. So we left NC at 9 pm last night and called this morning to see if we could get an appointment with Dr. Gay. He get us right in. The wrist is fractured and displaced which will require surgery with a plate and pins. I am scheduled for surgery tomorrow at 1pm. It should be about a 8 week recovery period. The first 2 weeks in a cast then the last 6 weeks in a removable splint. I will continue to keep you posted.
Yesterday I managed to get in 11 miles even with the late start. Today I plan to do 18 miles. It didn’t get as cold last night as we thought it would. I actually had to take some layers off during the night. It may have dipped down into the 30’s, but it definitely was not in the 20’s.
As I am squatting on the sleeping platform in the shelter packing up my gear I fall backwards off the platform onto the ground about 30 inches below and hurt my wrist. It is swollen and looks out of shape. I think this is not good. I try to pack up the rest of my gear but really can’t use my right hand and if I can’t do that I can’t be out here alone. The other hikers help me get packed up. I call Jim and tell him what happened and that I am headed back to the Dam. He comes to my rescue again. I love that guy. He picks me up and takes me to the nearest walk in clinic for xrays. It’s fractured! SHIT! I really didn’t think it was because it’s not that painful unless I try to use it. The doctor at the clinic recommends that I see an orthopedic surgeon. So on Monday we will make some calls and go from there.
Well Mom came and picked us up this morning and I am really thinking I made the wrong decision. It is a really beautiful day and I think I have enough warm stuff to survive the cold nights. I like challenges and I knew this would would be a challenge. Now the hike is over and I feel like a failure. I did a lot of planning and prep for this trip.
I know I made the decision to come off the trail, but no one is supportive about me hiking, especially alone. Well you know what shit happens every day and if it’s your time to go it’s your time to go nothing you can do about it. I would rather be happy hiking than riding home from the trail feeling like a failure. I mean I have beat Lupus, I am an Ironman, I am strong and I like challenges. A little physical exertion just make me feel right (I know so strange in today’s world with lazy, over weight, junk food eating and sick people). I know people love me and just want me to be safe so why not teach me how to be safe in the elements rather than shelter me. A sheltered me is not a happy me.
After getting back to the vacation rental having cried all the way, I was really depressed. It is so beautiful outside. Then Jim comes to my rescue and offers to take me back to the trail. I think I gave him the biggest smile ever.So we add some extra warm layers to my gear and head back to the trail. He dropped me off back at the Fontana Dam and we both walk across the dam together then I hit the trail alone.
I am officially in the Smoky Mountains. To camp in the Smokies one must have a permit. So I drop off my permit and away I go.
Lions and tigers and BEARS oh my. OH SHIT there is a BEAR in the middle of the trail!!! It looks like he is eating nuts that have dropped from the trees. There are lots of walnut trees lining the trail. I kept some distance so the pictures are not that great. You will have to ask me to see the video on my phone. I yelled to the bear to let him know I was here. He doesn’t acknowledge me. I banged my trekking poles together and on rocks, but he just kept eating and didn’t pay any attention to me. It wasn’t until I stomped my feet on the ground that he finally gave me a glance, but just continues eating. I have such a high now watching him eating, seeing him in his natural environment and not behind bars at a zoo. I am not scared at all, I’m thrilled! I continue to follow him up the trail and when he moves about 20 yards off the trail I just walk right by him.
I am so happy right now it is beautiful outside. I am making my way up the trail all by myself. I am not just following Jim. I am doing it myself. Another first for me. I feel strong, I am making good time, my pack is very comfortable since I am carrying all the gear that Jim and I split up.
I make it to the shelter at 7:30 and there is already a campfire going. I am glad to see that since it is supposed to get cold tonight. I get settled into the shelter blowing up my sleeping pad and spreading out my sleeping bag. This is my first time staying at a shelter. In the Smoky Mountains you are required to stay at a shelter to minimize the environmental impact camping has on the environment. I cook and eat my dinner. Tonight it was spaghetti made with spaghetti squash rather than pasta since I don’t eat wheat. After dinner I hang my food bag on the bear cables. This is also a first for me and I did it all by myself without having to ask one of the guys at camp for help. The bear cables are provided at all the shelters. They raise your food or anything with a smell in the air so bears can’t get to it. It is actually a practice to protect the bears not humans. The rest of the evening is spent enjoying the campfire and the company of other hikers.
Yup! My calf muscles are still sore, but feet are doing really well. I’m so thankful for my new shoes.
We slept in the tent on not so level ground last night and I felt like I was going to roll down the mountain and Jim was above me so if he rolled too I was going to get squashed! Also one of the tent poles on my side of the tent collapassed so it was hovering just above me. It reminded me of a cartoon character sleeping and while breathing in the tent would deflate and when they would breath out the tent would blow up like a balloon only this one stayed in the deflate state. This was our first time setting up this tent and it uses our trekking poles to support it. So we’ll just chock this up to another one of our comical hiking errors. Yes there is a long list of these! No picture of this one don’t want everone to see just had bad it was.
I had a number of first experiences this day. We were up early today to start hiking before it was light out because we needed to make it 14 miles to Fontana Dam by 3:30 for our shuttle pick up. We started out with a strenuous climb up what is called Jacobs Ladder and since I am faster on the up hills then Jim he let me lead and he never lets me lead. So this was my first leading as well as hiking in the dark with a head light on. We started hiking at 6:40 and the sun started to come up about 7:15 so we weren’t hiking in the dark for long. The sun rise was amazing! Beautiful pink sky over the mountains.
My next first experience is not so plesent. We were finishing up our last couple of miles hiking down in lower elevation where it was much warmer when all of a sudden I get this feeling like someone is pulling on the hairs in the crack of my ass. Yes I have hair in my crack. Now I have read about hikers getting chafing and some of my friends who have run long distances have experienced this, but it is a first for me.
Since we started hiking so early this morning I have this great picture from a mountain summit of all this fog in the valley below. Spectacular view.
I know most of you would think going up hill is the hardest part especially carrying a pack, but let me tell you how painfull down hill is. It really hurts the calf muscles and the knees. Especially when there are stairs that are so wide that you are always stepping down with the same foot rather than alternating feet.
10.14.15 15 miles
After waking up this morning and taking note of all the body parts I felt surprisingly well. I have some soreness in my calf muscles and my hip bones are slightly bruised from my hip belt but I think I have figured out the hip belt problem. I am really happy with how well my feet feel. I have to give a shout out to Jonathan at Outdoor 76 for getting me some great hiking shoes. Jim and I went in before starting our hike with some questions out foot problems that we’ve been experiencing and realized our problems were our current shoes. Thanks again Jonathan. Jim has some sore muscles, but his feet are good and that’s what we were worried about.
I’m glad I felt so well this morning because we had a lot of elevation to climb this morning. It was an ass kicker. Parts of the trail were all rocks and you were just walking from one rock to the next. Which makes things pretty slow going. Take a look at the profile below to see what we did.
We were rewarded with some great views. My camera on my phone doesn’t take the best pictures so these don’t look as good as seeing it here.
The trees are just starting to get some color and walking along the trail is really beautiful. The trail is covered in the leaves that have fallen. That also means you have to be cautious because you don’t know what is under the leaves and the leaves can be really slippery when wet.
By the end of the day I was feeling pretty good after everything we had done today. I felt much better this afternoon over yesterday.