DIY knee suspension
I wanted to do a suspension for a while. I hadn't suspended in a couple of months and was dying for some hooks. So I decided to take matters in my own hand and suspend myself. I tried it before, a 4pt resurrection, and failed. Oh well. Shit happens.
So I decided on 4pt knees. I had done a couple of knee suspensions in the past and they went really well. I was up for almost an hour, but had tearing. The first time I had sutures, the second time we didn't have any, so I bled all night at a hostel. I have scars now, but they aren't that bad. I knew I'd have to carefully place the hooks because if I went through scar tissue I'd face even worse tearing and that would be bad. We did have sutures on hand and I have sutured myself before, when I did a chest pull, tore a bit, and the bleeding just wouldn't stop. I've also sutured up my wrists (not an easy task) and legs to avoid going to the ER. Self injury is a bad habit, but onto the experience.
I had sterilized 8ga hooks and needles. I've thrown hooks in myself before and my skin is like butter. Comments about my knees on past suspensions were that my skin was like butter. This may have contributed to the tearing though. I knew I was risking tearing and knew to have Chris keep a good eye on my knees for any signs and to come down if it happened.
So I got everything ready. Disinfectant, gloves, hooks, needles, pulley, rig, rope. I donned gloves and disinfected my knees for 60 seconds and then carefully marked them, taking care to bend my knees and check the marks when they were bent. I was going to throw the hooks with my knees straight for the easiest route. I marked between scars and found enough room on each side to easily throw the hooks without nailing scar tissue, which would be bad and detrimental to the experience.
I took the first 8ga needle and the outside of my left knee and pinched the skin until it was flat and pierced. It was easy, the needle went right through, like butter, and the hook followed easily with a chunk of fat hanging out on the other side. Too bad we didn't take any pictures, it was amusing. This is normal for me, for my 6pt knee, 2pt chest suspension I had gobs of fat hanging off of my knees.
I changed my gloves (I change my gloves a lot and am not mentioning every time I do it, but cross contamination is bad and if you're going to do anything yourself make sure that you avoid it at all costs. Infection isn't pleasant.) and got to the inside of my left knee. This one hurt a bit more, but went through easily and I had the hook in no problem. I moved onto my right knee and threw the hook in the inside first and then did the outside, which was trickier and I had to pretzel myself up a bit to do it. I got the hook through, no problem, and was on to rigging.
We had bought a 2:1 pulley and decided to use that. For the resurrection suspension we just looped the rope through a D-ring in the roof, so my entire weight would have to be supported. Not easy. I am small (120lbs) but thats still a lot of weight to handle without assistance of a pulley. Chris got the rope ready wile I attached myself to the rig. It was relatively easy, but my knotting isn't the best, so I tied a lot of knots and then tested them out. Everything was stable and I was ready to go.
I tied the rope used for lifting to the rig and checked the strength of the knot. It was good. It was time. I had Chris add tension while I adjusted the ropes in the rig and had equal weight on all of the hooks. He pulled me up a bit, and I decided to pull myself up. I took the rope and quickly pulled myself up. It was easy, but I did feel some tearing. Knees are a relatively "pinchy" suspension, and they also burn a bit. I got myself off of the bed and swing around holding the rope for a few, and then handed the rope off to Chris, who tied it to another D-ring and I hung alone. The burning faded.
Chris noticed I was tearing a bit. There was very little blood. I was still wearing gloves (fresh ones to pull myself up) and my hands were sweating like crazy. I decided to abort at this point, after about 5-10 minutes and had Chris take me down. This hurt, for some reason, every time I went down and the pressure was taken off of my knees, it burned. I hit the bed and untied myself from the rig. I took the hooks out, one at a time, and 'burped' the holes. As usual, very little air. I disinfected, checked for bleeding, waited a bit for blood, and was satisfied that I wasn't going to bleed all over the place.
The tearing wasn't too terribly bad. The upper holes were bigger than the bottom ones, but I wouldn't need sutures, a good thing. My knees burned for a while, and it faded down. I checked for bleeding periodically after putting my pants back on, and there was very little, just some small dots on my jeans.
The next day, there was no bruising or anything. I put polysporin on the holes and let them heal themselves.
I wouldn't recommend suspending yourself, it could potentially be dangerous. We use a piece of mountain climbing equipment for the rig, which works well and I found on suspension.org. We used rope made to hold much more than my weight. We used a pulley that could support hundreds of pounds, and not crack under me. We also used locking carribeaners.
There is always the possibility of going into shock, which could be a major medical emergency. I've never gone into shock before, so I wasn't worried, but I had eaten a big meal before and made sure we had sugary drinks on hand. I was a bit shaky, as usual, after, and drank some pop to get rid of that. I also had a nice adrenaline rush.
All in all, it was a good experience. Would I do it again? Yes, but I'd make some changes. Another pulley to take the load off. Lifting 60lbs is easier than 120, but is still a lot of weight for my little arms to handle. We'd also get proper mountain climbing equipment and a static rope so that we wouldn't have to worry about tying it off, or getting up and going down because the rope slipped in your hands. A mountain climbing harness is also a good idea.
Be careful, don't cross contaminate, and good luck!
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 01 Sept. 2008