I woke up after surgery and looked down over my mummified body, and then, just barely, I was able to move my little toes. I heard a loud relief from Nathan and nurses in the room who had feared that I had been paralyzed.
I learned I had three compression fractures in my back. I had broken my pelvis, both my ankles, and many small foot bones. The ligaments in my ankles were stretched and torn and had ripped small pieces of bone off the bones they were attached to. My right elbow was broken into many small pieces and my triceps tendon was torn halfway off. I’d also smashed up my front teeth.
For days I laid there in a haze
I was a healthy and strong athlete, and had spent the last few years climbing around the world, yet there I was, bound in by a body that didn’t work, and in tremendous pain. I couldn’t go to the bathroom alone, I couldn't wash myself, I couldn't even roll over. I’m right handed, so I couldn’t do much of anything with my left.
Even still, I had an enormous sense of gratitude that overshadowed everything. Every small thing that I normally would take for granted became a huge gift —to have my back scratched, to have my hair washed, just to lie on my stomach. It was like all the colors were slightly stronger and all emotions were more intense. I was taking a journey to my very core.