The day started out great... The wet weather had finally cleared and I was stoked to be at the cliff again with my buddies.
I was warming up with the psyche flowing...
Then the weather got really cold, so we had to start a fire to keep our hands warm, and to cook my lunch: a can of soup.
After I started a little fire, I tossed my can of soup in the fire to heat up. Like an idiot, I didn't open the lid of the can before I put the can in the fire. I belayed my buddy on the warm-up route about 10 feet from the fire. After belaying, I came back to the can of soup in hopes to crack the lid, give it a stir, and finish heating it up. It looked quite a bit hotter than I had expected, but I had my belay gloves on, so I picked it up and set it down outside of the fire for a few moments. I bent over to crack the pop-top lid, and as soon as I started to pull up on the pull-tab, BLLLAAAAAAAAMMMMMOOOO!!!!!!!! The can of soup exploded under high pressure sending molten projectile hot soup over my entire face and right arm. The blast nocked me straight backwards. Then I proceeded to roll around on the ground like I learned in pre-school: Stop Drop and Roll. Then I realized I wasn't actually on fire, it just felt like it. I got up and felt an indescribable burning flesh feeling that just kept burning and burning while at the same time it felt kind of like liquid nitrogen freezing and burning simultaneously since the wind chill made the temperature dip in the 30's.
I sat down on a rock to straighten my mind out, relax, rationalize, and think about what had to happen next. At that moment the pain turned into that sick-stomach feeling after you really hurt yourself. Then it slowly crept up to my head making my visual world darken as my body prepared for shutdown sequence. Sure enough, lights out, passed out, and done. I rolled forward off the rock I was sitting on and hit my head on the rocks below. I woke up in the fetal position about five seconds later feeling pretty damn good other than being slightly traumatized.
I called my girlfriend at work to ask what I should do. She told me to keep it wet and cold, and to come straight to the medical clinic she manages. I could feel a piece of fried skin dripping from my lip, and I knew that wasn't good, so Spencer took these photos so I could see what my face looked like.
I started down the hike back to the car with a jug of water and a pillow case. I would pour water into the pillow case, then wrap my face with it. It felt sooooooooo good! The consistently cold and wet cloth dabbing my burns ended up being my life saver for the next 2 hours back to Vegas.
The worst part about the whole thing is that it happened the day before my surprise birthday weekend with Jodi. My birthday is coming up soon, and for the past month she has asked me nicely to keep the next 3 days open for a surprise. After we got home, she let me open my presents early to find out what it was going to be. It turned out to be 2 tickets to San Francisco leaving the next day to go see a Donavon Frankenreiter concert and chill out for 3 days in SF. I was BUMMMED. There was no way I was leaving the house for quite a few days, let alone flying to go see a show. I felt REALLY BAD. But these things happen, and we were forced to cope with the circumstances. Last year we flew to New Orleans to go see the "311 Day" Show, so hopefully the tradition will continue on next year despite this hiccup.
The good news was that Jodi and I had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do for the next three days, so we were able to stay home, and she doctored me up with love and tender care. Having her there to treat the open wounds helped tremendously for the initial healing phase. She works with burn patients and open wounds all day long at her hand therapy clinic, so she is really good at what she does. I just bought health insurance recently, so the doctor that Jodi works for kindly prescribed me an expensive topical creme that I was able to get for a reasonable $10 with my new insurance!
I really owe her BIG time for this. Not only did I screw up her entire weekend for me, I made her stay home and put creme and Saran wrap on my face for three days.
Luckily for me, she was able to give me my other birthday present that I was able to put to use. I got a BASS GUITAR!!!! I've never played one before, but I'm a huge fan of the instrument and of a few musicians I think play it pretty damn good. Les Claypool is one example.
Here are the first couple days of progress.... many more days to follow unfortunately.