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A critical error has occurred: Operation Fail. - Rock Crawler
A critical error has occurred: Operation Fail.

A critical error has occurred: Operation Fail.

I’ve been meaning to post in here for ages.  I’ve been doing quite a bit of climbing recently, bouldering twice a week and getting back on the leading band wagon.  Frankly, it’s been great.   Even better, I’ve booked another climbing holiday:  10 days out bouldering again in Fontainebleau taking advantage of the long Easter weekend and that random wedding thing.

It’s getting close to the end of the financial year and I had 8 days of holiday to take, so I booked it!  Ends today actually…. uh oh.    I planned to chill out, do some climbing.  Book a couple of one-on-one bouldering lessons at The Climbing Works.   So.. I did.

My first coaching session was on Wednesday.   I turned up early, did some gentle warming up and met up with Dave.   I’d mentioned that I was going to Font so Dave thought it would be good to do some arete climbing.  Brilliant I thought.

We started on a Wasp route, which I’d tried a couple of times before and never puzzled out how to do it.  After a couple of attempts and Dave demonstrating, I was able to start to work the last move.  It was, rather interestingly, using a heel on a hold around the arete as a foot hold.  I’d never even considered it.  It was really nervy, but I got to the point where I could place and weight it properly and start to make the move.  I didn’t actually complete the climb, but it was enough for us to move on.

We then went onto another climb, this one a purple climb with three little foot holds and a ripple like starting hand hold.  After sizing it up a bit, I worked out what I thought was the right foot order and sequence, hopped on and completed it smoothly.  Dave was happy and asked me to try it again, this time reversing the foot orders.

I squared up and pulled on.  Part of the sequence for me involved inverting my left hand on the ripply starting hold, pinching it between thumb and forefinger, thumb facing downwards.  I moved my hand left into position, leant back on my right on the arete and….


My feet slipped off the little foot holds.

It wasn’t a fall.  It was one of those little slips you do all the time.  I was hardly off the ground at all.  However, gravity decided that the appropriate direction for me to fall was directly onto my thumb.

There was a definite cracking noise/sensation.  I’ve no idea if it was actually audible, or if I just felt it.  It hurt for a few seconds as I hopped a bit and then settled down.
Strapped up with sticking plaster
Dave asked me if I was already.  Yeah, I replied.  Just need a moment as that hurt.  Dave nodded and started to point out ways of making sure my feet were better placed.    I looked down at my hand and realised it was starting to swell up significantly and decided that I should get some ice and have a sit down.

Getting the ice on helped, but it definitely didn’t feel right.  Dave called the lesson closed and told me that he wouldn’t charge me for it.  We’d only been doing about 10mins.   After my climbing partner, who was in the centre doing a few circuits, caught up with me had a chat, we decided that it made sense to go to the drop in centre to get it checked.  I was going on holiday in 4 weeks after all.

So, after about 2 hours of sitting around at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, they told me that I’d broken it.   An Avulsion fracture more accurately, where the force of the fall on my thumb had caused the ligament which stabilises my thumb to pull off a bit of bone where it attaches.  The guy strapped it up with sticky plaster and arranged me a meeting to do to talk to the “plastics doctors” at the Hand clinic the next day. Great!

By now I was totally gutted. I’ve screwed the holiday.
Hand in plaster
The next day I got a lift to the Hand clinic. (Thanks Steve) and sat around for frankly ages before being seen. Once I got in there, the Doctor took off the strapping and gave my thumb a good kicking around trying to work out what was going on. He pumped a lot of anaesthetic into it to allow him to move it as without me yelping in pain to he could see if work out how bad the ligament was. To my eye, that thumb would move a lot future to the right when push than I’d usually seen. Urk. We talked a bit about it, and he send me to have it plastered and x-rayed again. He declared it was fine and sent me off, arranging for a check up on this coming Friday. Whether I’d be able to climb on my holiday? “We’ll see….”

I’ve never broken a bone before. This was my first time in plaster and it was my dominant left hand. What a pain. I can’t even brush my hair aaah! And getting Marmite out of the jar to put on my crumpets is a nightmare!
Nice bruises
The next morning I got a phone call from the “trauma review team”. They’d been looking at my x-rays and had decided that I needed to come in again for 9:30 on Monday morning after having fasted from at the least 11pm the night before. Oh dear, that didn’t sound good. Would I need surgery to reattach bits of bones and ligaments? Will this make the whole thing worse? Or better? Perhaps it will heal faster if someone physically reattached bits?!

Eventually Monday morning rolled down and I was again sat in the in the waiting room for a couple of hours. Eventually I saw a new doctor, who took the plaster off and again had a bit of a play with the thumb, although it didn’t hurt as much. Much of my hand was a nice yellowy green colour. Urgh!
Thumb Spica
Eventually he decided that I didn’t need plastering up again and sent me to the physio people to get a splint, or a “thumb spica” as it’s called. He told me that it wouldn’t be strong for at least 6 weeks and he “strongly” advised me that I shouldn’t climb on it as it should heal really well in it’s current state.

So, that it I guess. Font is a bit of a wash out. I’m still going; I’ve already paid for accommodation and the Eurostar tickets are un-refundable. My climbing partner who is also coming really needs the holiday! I think I’m going to look at getting myself a nice Digital SLR and learning to use it. At least I can entertain myself then while everyone else cranks up those problems!

Hmm. what am I going to do now to stop myself increasing the size of my waistline? Damn, I guess I need to dust off those running shoes again :/

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