I got up this morning at Pioneer Mail camp and realized I needed to completely rethink everything. My knee hurts. It's 6am and it's Saturday. I have to get to a hospital and get my knee looked at. I packed up my gear, ate a poptart and said goodbye to my new friends, Patty and Allen. They want me to keep them updated on my status. Patty said she hopes to see me passing her up on the trail in a couple weeks. Hah. Hikers are so encouraging, but I feel like they are just saying this to me to be nice. They know I'm fucked…at least for now.
I hitch hiked off the highway and got picked up by a dude trying to go back towards Mount Laguna. I didn't want to go backwards, but beggars can't be choosers. He dropped me off back at the post office and I immediately saw another hiker from earlier in the week who has a stress fracture on his foot. He lined up a ride from a trail angel named Jan back to San Diego. She pulled up and offered to take me too. I called Kaiser and found a urgent care in La Mesa. She drove the both of us down the mountain and dropped me off first. Im sitting in the waiting room now.
A million thoughts are swirling through my head. Feels like I'm being choked out. The idea of being set back or even having to quit sickens me. For years I've joked with people that I'm a mild sociopath - I never feel things. I rarely cry. Today I'm all emotion, no brain. With everything I've spend the last year yearning and planning for to be put at risk this quickly basically makes me feel terrible. I hope that I move past this phase, process what is happening, and make a plan to continue. We'll see what the doctor says.
The doc ordered X-Rays right away. Unfortunately, they don’t have an MRI machine here. Images show all of my bones are in tact, and she ran a couple physical tests on my knee and determined that I'm basically in-tact but have a nasty ITB (iliotibial band) flare up (the first in my life). My ass (glutes) and my quads are too fabulous to handle all the long distances, so they started giving out and causing my IT band to contract, which was then causing my knee to hurt like hell. She told me that I needed to rethink my trip timeline.
Feeling a bit defeated, I did what any sad person would do: I limped myself and my backpack across the street to McDonalds and ate 2 big macs, large fries, and a large coke. They also had wifi. Wifi helps with the knee pain of course. I hung out there until my partner was able to come pick me up and take me to San Diego.
I feel extremely supported and encouraged by other hikers, family, and friends. My brother called me to remind me that this was part of the journey, and that I need to keep my head out of my ass if I want to recover and get back on the trail in a short amount of time. The best thing I can do right now is try and see a physical therapist, extend my insurance coverage (COBRA) and keep my body clean. I’ll take these 3 weeks off, and then get back on the trail with a readjusted schedule. I posted on my Facebook what was going on, because rumors started to swirl and I wanted folks to know I was cool, just a little bruised. What a day!