Monday, March 19, 2012

Three Months Later

Most of you know that in December I fell “just the wrong way” in a Cyclocross race and ended up with a shiny new hip! I had that surgery three months ago today, and while it seems like yesterday it also seems like a lifetime ago. So much has happened in such a short amount of time. There are a few things that I still cannot do at present – many yoga poses and long distance running – but those of you who know me also know that I did not spend too much time working on either of those pursuits before I got hurt!

When this first happened I thought that my convalescence would open up lots of free time in which to write a book, blog regularly and catch up on correspondence with long-lost friends. I soon learned that there were still only 24 hours in each day and seven days in each week. Being “disabled” meant that everything I did took longer, and what time I had left over was overtaken by the things that I needed to do to get myself back to “normal.” Two-a-days for in-home physical therapy were the norm. And then there was the exhaustion associated with recovering from the surgery and the ensuing PT. Nap time was a must the first three weeks or so.

Before I collapsed into the recliner, though, I still needed to get my work done. Fortunately I can coach my athletes from where I am located, be it in the hospital (yes, I did this) or on the beach (no, I have not done this lately). My athletes were an understanding lot and most of them got to do whatever they wanted over Christmas – what a lucky bunch! Work got done, writing was put on the to do list.

Of larger importance to me was to do the things that would get me better the fastest so that I could get back to doing the things that I normally did. All that PT was one. Another was to get onto the Computrainer, and do what my body loves to do – pedal my bike. With a lot of help from Phil I was doing so 2.5 weeks after the surgery. The first few days were not pretty, but I grew stronger and soon would quip that I could ride a lot better than I could walk. Eventually, I could even reach the handlebars and shift my bike, and the more I rode the stronger my hip became. My coach Mark Fasczewski has been pushing me since week four, and I am now back to doing Level 4 intervals. Wow, my old Level 4! Some of these recent intervals have been almost respectable, but even when they are not I attack them anyway, knowing now what it is like to just sit in a recliner and wonder if I would have the strength to get up and push my walker into the kitchen.

When this accident happened I was in some of the best shape of my life. (Yes, you can work long and hard and get better as you get older. Hire a good coach and work at it!) I was, of course, dismayed when I was given word that my hip was fractured. However, I also know that cycling, like life, is not without risks. At least I did this while racing and not tripping in a parking lot! I quickly resolved to put all my energy toward healing. I’ve since worked harder than I ever did on my cycling, with some personally pleasing results. I’ve worked hard mastering again the everyday tasks at home, in what Phil calls “being independent.” I learned about all the things we take for granted while we are all temporarily able-bodied.

I would not, however, be even close to where I am today without my family’s constant help and support. Phil was the go to person for everything that happened in our home and for everything that I needed. I was able to accelerate my rehab because Phil would drive me to PT, assist me with in-home therapies and, of course, get me onto my bike. Meals got made, laundry got done, the house was pretty clean, all while I was busy getting better. Just when he needed a break, MK made the trip from Colorado to spend a week taking care of her mom. Melissa Skyped whenever possible from Vietnam and Thailand, regaling us with stories about world travels. My sister Alison dove into my dad’s care-taking when he fell and broke his pelvis. Friends came over with food and smiles and even a Kindle! I was left to focus on recovery.

While there are things that I will put into the back of my mind when I stop to think about the goings-on of the past three months these are the things that I will always strive to remember. Thank you friends and family for giving me your precious time. This blog post is for you.