Long Time No See
It’s been a while since my last post and so many things have happened in that period of time, but the biggest thing is that I had to take a whole lot of time off the trail.
Outside of the Partnership Shelter, after a huge lunch of Chicken Alfredo pizza, my ankle began to experience serious, sharp pain. I walked eighteen more miles on it and by the time I made it to our campsite for the night, I was in so much pain I could barely put pressure on it. To my horror, my ankle was blown up to three times the size it should have been. I decided to assess it in the morning and go from there.
In the morning, the swelling had significantly decreased, and while it was still tender, I thought it would be alright to walk. I reasoned with myself that yesterday had just been a weird fluke and that everything would be fine.
Long story short, it wasn’t…
Not even ten miles into the next day, I was limping down the trail. By the fifteenth mile I could barely put weight on it. I was in so much pain that my tramily noticed and offered to take my pack from me. I’m a tough cookie, so this was unusual for me. I hated that they saw how hurt and weak I felt, and refused to let them help me (which irritated the both of them).
We stopped at a hostel for the night and when I took off my Altra, my ankle was even more swollen and totally purple. I knew there was something wrong. I took six days off the trail staying in hostels, before finally admitting to myself that it wasn’t getting any better.
Luckily, one of my tramily members had a house nearby, and he offered it as a place to stay. The three of us took a trail vacation to Virginia Beach for four weeks. Being away from the trail was hard, my life changed so dramatically. Going from walking all day every day to being totally sedentary definitely took a toll, and while it was nice to play video games and get takeout all the time, I missed the trail deeply.
I was so excited to get back to it after the month off, but unfortunately, I only lasted two days and twenty miles before my ankle told me it couldn’t take the heat. At that point, I knew it was time to give into the universe, get off trail, and actually go and see my orthopedist (something I didn’t do for the first month due to weird insurance restrictions).
Some Thoughts About Karma.
My orthopedist couldn’t find anything that was causing such extreme pain. He thought that there may have been an instance of Tendonitis in the front, or perhaps a healed sprain, but other than a little swelling, the ankle looked okay. He told me to take two more weeks off and then try the trail again. I was thrilled, of course, to hear that I could get back on the AT (even though nobody else around me thought that that was a good idea), but the spontaneous pain really haunted me. I couldn’t help but think back to my previous post, where many of my fans (read: haters), told me they hoped that the trail and Karma would punish me for what I did to Kaleb. I wondered if Karma really was to blame for the pain that I was in.
I still haven’t decided, really. I do believe in Karma, and I do know that I made a serious mistake and hurt somebody I loved. But at the same time, I think maybe the universe understands what it’s like to be young and to make mistakes. Maybe that’s why I only had to take six weeks off, maybe that’s why I am not broken and in need of surgery. In any case, I am thankful that my ankle is healed and hope that it stays that way. I hope that I can finish this journey at Katahdin as intended. Keep it together, ankle!
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