Just Nudge || Road to Recovery

Random boulders in northern New Mexico.

I am so happy to be here on the boat, sitting with a cup of a green tea, the heater caressing my shins, checking stocks, checking the sunset time, checking the weather for the next few days, and thinking about what I’d like to do with the rest of my life.

It is joyous.

Sometimes when you’re struggling or down a bit or not sure what to do next, or somehow unhappy with your current circumstances, the only thing you can do is get in your car and drive 7,000 miles. I’m kidding, of course. Sort of. Is it ironic that I needed to drive 7,000 miles to realize that I would be better off not driving anywhere at all. Unless that place is Gold Bar, WA, of course, where I will of course have to drive as soon as I can climb again. Oh, and Leavenworth. I must go to Leavy. But the climbing season hasn’t really started in Leavy yet. It won’t really start until March or April, when things stop being snowy.

The appointment with the physical therapist yesterday was incredibly fruitful. For the first time I feel truly optimistic about my recovery. My goal when I talked about this a couple weeks ago was to be climbing sometime in April. But now I might even move that up again. I think I could be back in the climbing gym in March. If I eat well, if I inject the shit out of my knee with BPC-157, and if I really go to town on rehab and physical therapy exercises, I think I could be back in the gym sometime in the next month. Which would be incredible. There is nothing I want more. But of course it will be the gym — climbing outside will have to wait longer. Climbing outside = gnarlier landings, more unpredictable landings, more unpredictable everything, really. I could go climb a yellow in the gym today. But that’s not really climbing. That’s more: Can you get up a ladder without falling? I could probably climb a green today, too. But I wouldn’t feel comfortable falling. I wouldn’t feeling comfortable being up high. I never realized until this injury how important falling is in bouldering. Generally I feel really good falling, I almost like it. I take pride in my falling. But now falling is terrifying. Somehow I will have to get my body ready to fall again, and fall hard. And from places on high.

In other news. I feel like there was other news. Oh yes, I have started implementing certain lifestyle changes that are already paying sweeping dividends. I have implemented some diet changes, and I don’t want to give too much away here but they basically involve having less caffeine, or having less of a certain kind of caffeine, and also having less sugar. And by less sugar I mean less SUGAR, less CARBS, since carbs are basically sugar. Also, I think I’m realizing that different carbs affect me differently. I ate a bunch of tortilla chips yesterday and didn’t really feel inflamed. But other kinds of carbs do make me feel inflamed. I can feel it in my knee. I desperately need to buy a blood glucose meter. AKA they sell pure oxygen canisters at Fred Meyer now.

I am trying to nudge myself in the right direction. Every day. Every day, just nudge myself a bit. Don’t push! Don’t force! Just nudge. You don’t get anything done by forcing. Whatever you force will rebound upon itself with an equal force. But if you just nudge. If you encourage. Then you can do anything. Like wake up at the same time every morning. Which is actually kinda huge.

Another cup of gree tea. Barcelona play PSG at noon. I hope Kylian Mbappe scores a hat trick but Barca still somehow destroy them. I would murder for a matcha latte right now but don’t want to leave the boat. I can’t eat Go Macro bars anymore because they have 39g of carbs. Damnit. I just finished the book News of the World and it was incredible. Now to watch the movie. The preview looks terrible.

I am sending love to you all and wish you all a wonderful day,

Wetz

Somewhere in the American West.

Treachery and Nicotine | Leg 3: Burns, OR to Fallon, NV

Waking up in Fallon, Nevada and the first thing I notice is that my knee is swollen and stiff. Fuck. And yesterday I was bragging about how I’d gone on my first hike since my injury and how I’d be surfing in another month and bouldering in another two. Maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about? Maybe the injury is worse than I thought? Or maybe I just overdid it. Maybe I need to finally take some damn ibuprofen.

(*Puts 4mg nicotine gum in.)

Good morning! Here I am in Fallon, Nevada, and it snowed last night. The Subee is covered in a thin white layer of gossamer fluff. Highway 95 beckons us, but for some reason I’m not eager to jump in my car. Is this because of my knee? Is this because of the weather? Part of me wants to just stay another day in Fallon, but I know that staying in Fallon would consist of me paying too much for a hotel and eating burritos from Safeway. Not exactly a recipe for happiness. So I’ll probably press onward, to Bishop. Probably.

My first hike post LCL injury, in the Steens Mountain Wilderness.

Or maybe not! Part of me just wants to get in my car and drive to Mexico right now. Cross the border. Be in a land where the sun continually shines and the hotels cost $30 a night. A land where I can eat for a third of the price and be more at large in the world. But aren’t I at large in the world here in Fallon? Must I always be somewhere else? Is my green tea done steeping?

Third state of the trip and then onward to California.

Yesterday I drove from Burns, Oregon to Denio, Nevada, stopping for a short hike on the way. It felt so good to hike, though I’m paying for it now with a swollen and stiff knee. Still, I would not take it back! Oh, to be alone in the wilderness, wondering if you’re going to be attacked by a wolf or a mountain lion. I don’t think I’ve ever hiked anywhere so remote. This last summer I went backpacking in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in the Cascades, and even that, after an eight mile hike in, didn’t feel so remote, mostly because we were surrounded by goddamn humans. It’s hard to get away from humans, and sometimes you need to. Yesterday I needed to. And I did. I hiked probably a mile in on a trail called “Three-mile Trail” or something similar, and the only sounds I could hear the entire time were the brook babbling next to me and the wind caressing the trees. Which I think were juniper trees. But I have no idea.

Mordor.

I have to say I’m not thrilled about being in Nevada. Is anyone thrilled about being in Nevada? Why would you ever move to Nevada? Are there people out there who are like, “You know what? I think we should move to Nevada?” As soon as you have a thought like this you should be locked up and the key thrown away. Though what am I talking about. If you’re the kind of lunatic who wants to move to Nevada, that’s precisely where you should be. Far from everyone else.

Nicotine gum for cognition.

At Wal-Mart in Winnemucca I bought some 4mg nicotine gum. This is supposed to be for smoking cessation, but I don’t smoke so I’m using it for cognitive benefits. Plus it’s just kind of a fun thing to have on road trips. I also bought some turmeric gummies to hopefully help with the swelling in my knee, but I should really think about just taking some ibuprofen. I’m loathe to take NSAIDS. I know your body swells for a reason, but also due to our shitty modern-day diets we probably exacerbate the swelling with the insane amounts of sugar and crap we ingest. Continued swelling, according to one website I consulted, “destructs and distends the tissues, and distorts the anatomy.” I feel like in my case I might’ve done this all wrong. I RICED the crap out of my knee at the beginning, and so maybe now the swelling I’m experiencing is just my body healing. I don’t know, and I don’t know how many doctors I would trust on this one, because almost all doctors would just push NSAID’s on me immediately.

Doctors like to push stuff.

Crimson and clover, over and over.

As the title of today’s blog suggest, treachery abounded yesterday in the form of me…getting on an interstate. Yes, you read correctly. I am a fraud. The road trip is ruined. But also there wasn’t really a way to avoid it. The google map directions had me almost literally driving on train tracks on a railroad service road. I had to do about an 18-point turn underneath an overpass just to turn around. And then I realized all of the roads Google wanted to take me on to avoid the interstate were dirt roads. So I hit one of the onramps, and never turned back. And got to Fallon in about half the time. And didn’t exactly feel bad about it.

And now here I am in Fallon and it’s still snowing and my first nicotine gum has run its course. I don’t know if I felt anything. Am I doing this wrong? Does this stuff even contain nicotine?

My tea is done steeping.

“Please” aka Green Tea | Road to Recovery

Today was a red-letter day in my recovery. Why was it a red-letter day? Because today I figured out a plan to get me back to bouldering, or at least back in the direction of bouldering, and today I completed the first step of that plan, i.e. I drove out to the Reiter Foothills, parked my car, put my climbing shoes in my backpack, and walked halfway up to the boulders.

I didn’t climb, of course.

Actually one of the reasons I didn’t climb is because there was a ruby-throated tanager (I have no idea if this was the actual bird) at the trailhead that seemed to be chirping some sort of warning signal. It was as if the bird was saying, “Mark! Mark! Don’t climb Warm-Up Slab V0 without a pad! You’ll fall! You’ll fall!”

Indeed, that was sort of the plan, if I made it up to the boulders, to climb Warm-Up Slab V0, just to get my hands on the damn granodiorite. But I haven’t climbed in awhile, and the granite can be slippery, and with my knee how it is it wouldn’t take much to make the injury worse — much worse. So I held off. I hiked halfway up to the boulders in the glorious sun, and at the summit (aka summit for me), I started formulating a plan:

Step 1) Hike halfway up to the boulders.

Step 2) Hike all the way up to the boulders

Step 3) Hike halfway up to the boulders with pad on back.

Step 4) Hike ALL the way up to the boulders with pad on back.

Step 5) Hike up to boulders using semi-sketchy trail from main gate.

Etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.

Etc.

So today I completed step 1, which felt like a fucking triumph, and it also felt like a triumph because I was bathed in sun for most of the hike, the vitamin D coursing through my belly, licking my neurons, and it just felt good to get out, even if getting out meant driving through Monroe, quite possibly my least favorite city in Washington.

On the way back I suffered a slight slip, buying some caffeinated beverages from Trader Joe’s. Oh no! A week of caffeine cleanse and now I’m back on the wagon. Aka off the wagon. Aka last night I had some GT’s Adaptogenic Tea and had trouble getting to sleep. And today I’m having green tea. Black tar heroin could be next.

Speaking of things you inject, I also decided on the hike that I’m probably going to order some BPC-157 peptides on the internet and inject them directly into my knee. This healing process is just going too slow. I mean, I walked out of a bouldering area (see: hiked) with a pad on my back FIFTEEN MINUTES AFTER ORIGINALLY HURTING MYSELF. And now three weeks later I’m seeing hiking with a pad on my back as some kind of achievement? It’s insanely frustrating. I mean, there has been improvement, but it’s at a banana slug’s pace. I’m not used to being injured like this. I’m not used to forgetting what it feels like to crush. I’m not used to not bouldering (except for the first 36 years of my life when I didn’t know what bouldering was or at the very least scorned it). I’m not used to this desperation, damnit!

So that’s why I might inject some shit into my knee.

The green tea I’m drinking tastes faintly of licorice root. The Yogi label says, “The world needs your unique gifts, don’t leave with them still inside you.” I like this saying, though it would’ve been a wicked opportunity to use a semi-colon properly, though I imagine semi-colons are a little too aggressive for a brand like Yogi. Stick to your periods and commas. And your burdock root. God, this tea is actually really good.

What’s on tap for this week? Tomorrow I have therapy at 10am, which I’m super hyped about. On Wednesday I have my appointment with sports medicine at Swedish and I’ll be damned if I don’t get some answers about my knee. Please, just tell me if you think it’s seriously injured, and if you think it’s seriously injured refer me for an MRI. If it’s not seriously injured, immediately start speaking to me in Spanish, because my brain will already be heading south in my ’97 Subaru towards Mexico, possibly with a stop in San Diego to get peptides.

Please, tell me what’s going on. Please help me.

Please.