Vroom again

August 2nd, 2012 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

Nine weeks after my apparently spectacular single-bike crash, I am back in the saddle again. With trepidation, I took a moderate (18-mile, pretty flat) ride to see if my bones disconnected again and if agony made me call the uxorial unit for a lift. It was OK.

For those who have not obsessed with me over my big boom, I had a great, at-speed spill, resulting in a severely busted clavicle (comminuted in medical lingo) and a half dozen cracked /broken ribs. That meant hard drugs, sleeping upright on a sofa corner for three weeks and absurd pains in performing such tasks as breathing.

So one would wonder, when can I get back on the bike, when can I hit the free-weights again, and are there absolutes to consider? For the latter, the ortho surgeons offered a singleton — don’t fall down for at least a year (with pause and emphasis).

Although I’ve had only a single surgery in my life (that 14-plus-inch titanium rod in my shattered left tibia), I did learn a bit about ortho surgeons in my hospital stay. For example, according to the regular doc, physical therapist and ortho nurses, following my major surgery, it would be three days or so before I could even move enough to stand or leave the hospital, the surgery team thought that since I had a pin in my leg, I was stable and should be fine. As the nurses said after the first surgical team visit the morning after the operation, “Fucking surgeons!”

Regardless, they have the advantage of being able to see and touch and physically diagnose a patient’s problem, conditions denied to most docs in most cases. Yes, in general, surgeons are schmucks, but they are in a position to fix problems by the mechanical nature of their jobs.

From that operation and follow-up, I did learn to ask the right questions and ask them several times to different surgeons.

After two months, I did get some answers I liked to ameliorate those I did not. This week, I got the OK to hit free weights again and to get on the bike, as long as it didn’t hurt too much…and again, as long as I did not fall for the next year.

My left clavicle will never again look like an illustration from Gray’s Anatomy. It’s in two very separated pieces. There are, in the pic right, white lines illustrating new bone growth along the edges of the two pieces, as well as an amorphous area between the separation that the overseeing surgeon says is new bone in the works — works that will take up to two years. Meanwhile, I have a tangerine-sized lump, most of which will remain forever. Yippee do dah.

So today I felt the twinge that justified Scientology. I got back on the bike, the same yellow marvel from which I fell to the pavement at 22 MPH.

I thought of the dichotomy of experience. There are the once-burned-twice-shy (or in Scientology terms, once-burned-forever-shy [unless you give us all your cash]) versus the fall-off-the-horse-get-right-back-on camps. I clearly am in the latter. Do you deal with your issues and problems or seal up and seal off?

I confess that with the don’t-fall-for-a-year dictum cascading around my skull, I did a moderate ride on city/suburban streets, roads with 30 to 45 MPH speeds, a.k.a. 35 to 60 MPH vehicles passing and approaching.I was less concerned about the regular Boston-area loonies than whether the pull and vibration of steering and climbing would separate the clavicle pieces.

It turns out, it wasn’t so bad. The ribs hurt more than they had in weeks. I guess I was breathing deeper than I had even on the stationary bike-like-object and the elliptical machines. That’s OK. Some climbing reminded me to let the right side pull on the bars only. That’s OK too.

I’m back in the saddle again.

I am aware that my uxorial unit is less than pleased by the concept. She has been reminding me of the years I took and years I taught spinning classes. Wouldn’t it be swell (and smart and safe) to get off the road?

Well, no. Y spinning is wimpy. You are hard pressed to work up a sweat. I was taught by Martha, who often said you were dogging it if you didn’t leave a puddle under your bike.

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2 Responses

  1. Uncle says:

    It does strike me that getting up and honking, on any sort of grade or on rough pavement, might pose a unhappy stress for your comical clavicle. Might give your ribs a nasty jerk or two as well. On the latter I speak from experience.

  2. Madeline says:

    Enjoy the breeze whistling through your helmet, caressing you as you move through space. There is nothing that compares to riding a bike. That being said ‘don’t get hurt’.
    They said the same thing about Callista’s concussion “not another within a year”. Must be some interesting yardstick they use.

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