2.5 Months Ago: Not the Best Day

April 18, 2014 / by / 0 Comment

Hello! I have decided to bore ya’ll today with an embarrassing moment of mine 2.5 months ago. It’s one of my more vulnerable experiences and certainly not the best day of my life so far, but feel free to point and laugh.

I had a (hopefully my last) physiotherapy session yesterday and I’m almost 90% recovered (or so I think, and hope). I twisted my ankle more than a couple of months back and realized I never really told anyone exactly how it happened. So, here’s my recount:

30th January 2014 (Lunar New Year’s Eve)

The bell rings at 12.20pm, marking the end of Thursday’s lectures as everyone packs up to go home for the New Year Eve’s big family reunion. Since I don’t have a reunion to rush to, I wander around and eventually find myself heading down to da Verm (check it out!), the nearest bouldering gym for HKU students. Might as well get some last minute practice done before the gym closes for the New Year Holidays as well.

Maybe it’s the holiday mood. Maybe it’s the fact that I haven’t improved an ounce since I got back from home 2 weeks ago from winter break. Or maybe I’ve just had too much to eat over the holidays, weighing myself down as I try to hoist myself up to the next hold. I’ve tried this route a hundred times. So many times I’m too embarrassed to try any other routes, because this is the easiest route there is. And if I can’t even complete this, maybe we should just stick with this one, eh?

The gym’s more crowded than usual. And I don’t like it because that means more eyes will be on me as I take up a wall. A couple of friends are around too, shouting suggestions up at me as I struggle to stay on longer than I can and save myself a little humiliation from falling so soon. I try, reaching up as far as I can for the ending hold and feel my fingers scrabbling frantically to get a grip. Screw my height and my climbing skills, or lack thereof for both. I lose balance and fall, yet again. But before I reach the crashmat, I know my posture is wrong and I’m going to hurt myself. I try to adjust my position but it’s too late. Rather than falling on my feet, I hear a large “crack” and feel my entire weight press down on my left ankle.

Thanks to my immense and worthless self pride, I manage not to cry out loud in response to the pain that is searing through my ankle. I can feel many eyes on me, for some of the other boulderers had seen my awkward fall, but as I force a smile and discuss with my friends about why I couldn’t complete the route, I feel their attention move elsewhere, reassured that I should be fine. I cannot move for what feels like ages. But I sit upright, trying my best not to show that I can’t even fall down properly.

I’m the kind of person who doesn’t want to inspect my own injuries. The more painful it is, the more I tell myself I’m fine. I muster the courage to remove my socks and inspect the damage when I finally manage to get back to my room. My ankle’s swollen. As big as an egg. And it’s green. I feel myself turning green and almost fainting. Then I remember that I’m a St. John Ambulance adult member and can’t believe my first-aid knowledge hadn’t hit me earlier.

I jerk open the freezer, and find half a pack of frozen Korean rice cakes that I hadn’t been able to finish. Perfect. I limp back to my room and elevate my ankle, icing it tenderly.

There goes my Chinese New Year holidays. I have never encountered more perfect timing. Partly because I can’t go anywhere, but mainly because most clinics and pharmacies are closed and will not re-open for several days. I go on the HKU website to book the earliest appointment at the UHS which is on Tuesday.

Four days. I go into Survivor mode. I scan my rations. A pack of biscuits, 3 packets of instant noodles, the half pack of rice cakes resting on my ankle, and oh some chocolates. I think of who can bring me food, and my heart sinks as I remember most of my friends staying in the same block have gone home. Even my floor is nearly empty. But a couple have stayed behind. And I rely on their good hearts to keep me alive for the next few days. They bring me McDonald’s, they cook soup dumplings, Korean rice cake soup for me, etc.

In my room, I hear fireworks, lion dances, and Facebook shows all my friends having the time of their lives either in Hong Kong or back home, and I’m stuck right here, resting this green ankle.

My twisted ankle does, however, show me how many friends care and are willing to go out of their way to make sure I stay alive and I cannot thank them more.

I spend the next four days sitting around cross-stitching, watching movies, finishing assignments, and sleeping with my ankle propped on all my winter coats for elevation as I await my Doc appointment.

2.5 Months Later

After god knows how long of wincing when I wake up with my hurt ankle pressed up in yet another weird position, stretching in the shower (because I can never remember to do it in any other place), walking up the stairs but limping on the way back down, I have finally cast aside the ankle support that has given me an overwhelming sense of security every time I do any form of sports but have not yet mustered the courage to visit the gym again. I haven’t developed a sense of trauma but I’d rather not risk it.

I have also gained more weight than ever as I temporarily refrained from doing intense sport and binge on snacks late into the night whenever I stay up finishing assignments. All input and no output, no wonder both my mom and my coach have expressed their great concern for my recent gain in weight.

What I’ve learned from this injury: Get out, dare to lunge and risk a few falls, get injured (lightly), find out who really cares and who doesn’t, discover how independent you can really be because in the end, you’re your own best bet.

P.S For those who’re looking for something fun to do over the summer break, you might want to try out bouldering! There’re quite a number of bouldering gyms in Hong Kong that have all sorts of price rates (student, one-day, monthly, half-year, etc. You can rent shoes there as well!). Here’re a couple of other gyms worth checking out: GoNature, Boulderland and JustClimb. But the nearest one to HKU would be da Verm. Don’t worry, I’m sure you’re not as big of a klutz like I am. ALSO, the HKU Sport Climbing Club (which I am a part of *blush*) is organising an outdoor natural rock climbing day on the 1st of June (Yep, first day after finals!) so check your mass emails or our Facebook Page for updates!!!

Stay tuned for more of my climbing escapades (or fails) =)