Ahab on Two Wheels

April 25th, 2009 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

Ten weeks — near an eternity to the impatient — after the surgery to repair my tib/fib break, I was on a bicycle. This was not the stationary bike-like object in the gym, rather my splendid Motobecane Grand Sprint.

By way of encouragement to others healing from titanium rod insertion, I did okay, although I could feel the unsureness of being back in traffic and wondering whether I could kick out and put a foot down as needed.

As I benefited from reading how people deal with their recovery, I urge working the muscles, both to strengthen them and to keep the blood bringing minerals, oxygen and other goodies to the broken and maimed internal parts.

My empirically based judgment on a single trip was that it was enough of a push to feel I had done something meaningful. Emotionally, it was huge to expand my functioning.

With a nod to Dave Barry, this was Ahab on two wheels (a good name for a rock band). I have set aside my cane. That is, I admit, a bit of a pretense. I could as easily continued using it for the sense of stability, but I prefer thumping along without it. Plus, I get to hear acquaintances exclaim how great I’m doing in my recovery, particularly those show last saw me with a walker or two crutches.

For the info of those recovering, I had a pretty slow paced ride of moderate length, 14 miles. It includes some rolling hills and one very steep one of about a mile. Before starting, I made a deal with myself that a lot of pain would trigger a turn around.

Going up the big hill on Unquity road, I slowed considerably. I probably fell back to 10 or 11 MPH up the steepest section and dropped to my middle crank wheel and lowest back gear.

A 20-something Spandex prince passed me on the steepest incline. I figure he was doing maybe 4 MPH faster. Figuring also that he is 30 to 40 years younger and not recovering from leg surgery, I was amused rather than annoyed or competitive. This has been a good side-effect from the break and recovery. I am picky about what upsets me and I am in control of what I react to now.

The speedy guy was a very look-at-me sort too. He was riding one of the $4,000 or higher Tour class bikes. His jersey and shorts were high-priced models covered with professional sponsor names. I hope for his sake he never slows enough for someone to pass him.

Back home, I showered, letting the hot water work the knee. It is a bit sore, but not really painful. I slathered the knee with Tiger Balm. It appears there’ll be no penalty for this little push.

Moreover, Bay State Bike Week (née Boston Bike Week) starts May 11th, with the festival on City Hall Plaza May 15th. Then, there’ll be a series of Bike Fridays with their own mini-festivals and group rides.

Back here in Woodbourne, cost center two returns from college in a few weeks. I had warned him that we would likely not be able to resume our father/son bike rides. After all, until last week, the surgeons predicted I wouldn’t be on a bike until September and wouldn’t really feel like pedaling until December.

My first physical therapy session won’t be for three weeks. They surely will be able to show me exercises to increase flexibility and decrease my remaining limp. I intend to bike over though and set the starting point.

So, if my little universe of one is any indication, I urge those recovering to push the possible and make it likely.

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4 Responses

  1. Uncle says:

    Good on yer! Of course, I can’t predict 100% how you’ll do in getting engaged and responsive physical therapy, but be sure to lay out your priorities. I let my PT know that my plans for my repaired shoulder included archery from the start, and she incorporated that into the plan. She even invented a couple of task-specific exercises. It has all paid off…in fact, I believe I’ll scribble about this myself on my patch.

  2. Harrumpher says:

    That was smart. I have a couple of weeks to consider goals. I was so thrilled when the resident surgeon said that kicking out of a pedal clip was not a problem, even for the still shattered fibula. I found I am walking with the left foot splayed a bit to the left. I’m trying my own gait therapy by walking more slowly and keeping it in the same angle as the right. This is toddler stuff, I suppose, but I’ll add that to my list for the PT.

  3. Uncle says:

    Toddler stuff? Not really. The splay-foot posture is a classic example of the body thinking it knows best. It’s the sort of challenge that gets the PTs rubbing their hands with glee. Oh..did I mention that the therapy hurts? Never mind, it’s worth it to get all the relevant body parts on the same page.

  4. Harrumpher says:

    What did Tank Girl say — I like pain! ?

    A neighbor ripped the ligaments and tendons in a foot at the same time. She has been doing PT from the same crew I shall. She says they are very militaristic and like to say after a typical painful session, “But it’s a good kind of pain.”


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