Sunday, July 20, 2014

Back on My Feet Again (11 Weeks Post-Op)

On my last day of crutches, a really sweet lady at work approached me with a look of sincere concern and asked, "So how much longer until you are all better again?"  I told her that it was my last day on crutches along with a few other details and then added, "The worst part is that the doctor says I'll never be able to wash dishes again or fold clothes or do stuff around the house."  She just looked at me with a blank look and then said, still concerned, "I am so sorry.  I feel really bad..." Uh oh.  She's buying this.  To let her in on the joke I added, "But I'll be able to run and swim and bike and stuff, so that's good, but I just won't be able to do chores ever again....."  Still that blank look, then, "Well, bless your heart.  I feel so bad for you!"

After 11 weeks of barely lifting a finger around the house, today I finally got some things done and scored a couple cool points with the wife.  Some of you won't believe anything in that last sentence that happened after the comma.  To that..........well, I've worked hard on this reputation and I'm not about to ruin it now.  The way I run my house is that women should know their place........and just because I'm sitting in the corner in the fetal position doesn't necessarily mean that Angie's just put me in mine.....
Viewing on an iPad?  Hold this up to your chest, look down and spell "attic." Heh!

I got back on the bike this week!  The first ride was not at all how I remembered it being:

- Did my belly always scrape the top tube?
- I've never been out of breath before right after coming out of my neighborhood.
- Something is definitely wrong with the bike computer.  For a while there I was flying!!!  Yet the computer said 12 mph.  I need to check that it's it's reading the satellites right.
- 11 miles at an average of 15 mph.  Good thing my bike is really aerodynamic.

Back on the roads putting in some mileage!

Actually, I managed to get 108 miles in this week (The Strava screen capture above includes the 11 miler from last Sunday) and there's been great progress.  Today's ride was 31 miles at 18 mph.  I've got a lot of work to do, especially on this gut thing.  If you knew nothing about me and I walked up to you completely naked, handed you a picture of me from a year ago, and said, "I had surgery.  Guess what they did," you would probably guess, "Evidently they gave you a belly implant.  But why did they go in through the knee?"

Physical Therapy continues, but now with New and Improved Methods of Finding Pain since I am weight bearing.  Kevin and Lauren of Young's PT have been good about accompanying the pain with appropriate music too ("Where the Bullet Meets the Bone," "Bad to the Bone," "I Would Walk 500 Miles," and my favorite one during the ice cool down, "Ice Ice Baby").

Walking once again, I'm back to where it hurts to do so, just like after the Microfracture surgery I had last October.  But they tell me this is normal and that I need to suck it up and tuck the string in, and I can live with that.  But walking around the factory at work is a bit much for me so I try to wear comfortable shoes (Hey, Hoka One One people, how about make one of your goofy pairs of shoes that go with slacks and a polo shirt?) and rely on the crutch on the longer treks.

What a High Tibial Osteotomy does.....comparing the blue line of the new tibia to the red line of the old one you can see about a 5 degree difference in angle.  So, I'm not as bowlegged as I used to be.  The cartilage allograft (I call it "My Precious") from Mr. Peabody the Unknown Donor is just above the gap that the arrow is pointing to, but you can't see it.  That's where the pain is, and all I have to do to feel it is take one measly step.

I'm happy where I am on this road to recovery.  The road is long.  Really long.  But I can do stuff now.  Cooking and biking will keep me sane for a while.  I have no goals or races I have one eye on.  I'm just focused on getting better, finding my fitness of old, and I'm really, really interested to see what running will be like when the time comes.  It appears that will be on August 26, sixteen weeks post-op.  And I'm fully aware it probably won't look like running either.  But for now, baby steps cuz every day I'm shuffling........

 I'm the one with the big butt.....

 On a separate topic, Angie and I were delighted this morning to run into Jose and Anita that used to run the Taqueria just up the street from our house in Simpson.  We've missed their authentic Mexican cuisine for several years, and were so excited to hear they opened up in a mobile unit on Greene St in Greenville.  Please stop by their stand and give it a try.  The food is amazing and they are the sweetest couple, always ecstatic when a gringo stops by for a bite.  It's right on the Thursday night group ride route, just past the grain elevators, so call in before the ride starts, order a chalupa, and surprise your riding buddies when you get the hand-off while they're all ripping into their boring vanilla bean gel packs......

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Week 9: Gentlemen, We Can Rebuild Him. I'm Just Not Sure Why We Should Bother.....

My last day of a week's worth of vacation squandered away.  I would have much rather waited to take this vacation when I'm back to being a true biped and can bike, run, jump, and pirouette, but our factory shuts down for a week every 4th of July and it is what it is.  In my boredom, my biological clock seemed to align with our cats, Maverick and Goose, as I found my daily schedule morphing to theirs:

7:00 am to 7:00:05 am: Try to scarf down breakfast before my brother can so I can get a few bites of his.
7:00:05 am to 9 am: Self grooming followed by staring outside the window.  I wonder what's for dinner...
9 am to 12 pm: Nap.
12 pm to 1 pm: Chase the fly that got in the house.  Myeh, I'll just go poo.
1 pm to 4 pm: Nap.
4 pm to 4:02 pm: Hack up a fur ball on the carpet.
4:02 pm to 7 pm: Stare outside the window.  Reflect on that awesome fur ball.
7 pm to 7:15 pm: Try to trip mom up and meow at her repeatedly until she feeds me.
7:15 pm to 7:30 pm: Self grooming.  Perhaps a poo.  Nope, my brother's in there.  I'll try later.
7:30 pm to 9 pm: Knead dad's leg until it's soft enough to sleep on.
9 pm to 7 am: Pounce on mom all night. Put my butt in her face. Meow a lot.  I don't know why she's sleeping.

We were all pretty bored at times.  Maverick and Goose, having more experience, were far more creative about what to do with their boredom though:


Last weekend I realized I hadn't tortured myself near enough after watching both Raleigh and Eagleman 70.3 triathlons, so Angie and I went to watch and support the racers at the nearby Washington Oly and Sprint races.  It turned out to be one of the more exciting triathlons to spectate at with dog fights and people fights in the crowds.  The Tricredibles were well-represented on home soil and I secretly hated every one of them for sweating it out there on the course, but by the end I found my torture tank thoroughly filled with jealousy and was ready to go wallow in my misery at home again.

Various Tricredible sightings at the Washington Sprint and Oly.

Tuesday the wheelchair and one of the crutches were fired and I started to enjoy a tad more freedom than the last 8 weeks had afforded me. 

Could you please hold the door for me?  I'm deformed.

I could now tote my own wine glass, so that was pretty important.  No longer did I have to slide it along the kitchen counter, go into a sort of "drinking giraffe leg stance" with the crutches to transfer it to the top of the liquor cabinet, grab the fireplace mantle and balance while moving it from the liquor cabinet to the coffee table, then ease it to the couch while sliding on my butt across the living room carpet.  It was like reaching a new level in a video game where the goal is depleting yourself of dignity.

My left crutch and I enjoy the breeze through our leg hair.  Neither of us wanted to bring up that the right crutch, once always within reach, was now amongst the rest of the junk in the garage. 

I did get some swims in this week, and that felt great.  The imminent shift towards cycling is causing a bit of a struggle internally though.  I've been cleared to pedal easy - let's quantify it at about 100 watts - but the consensus seems to be indoor pedaling only.  I like my odds of staying upright on a bike ride on our Eastern Carolina country roads but the consequences of getting brought down by something (a couple dogs and one elusive but incredibly ferocious cat seem to be the latest culprits within the confines of Pitt County) would be pretty devastating if it dislodged the late but revered Mr. Peabody's cartilage donation from surgery.  And Mr. Peabody - I imagine watching from his cloudy perch in Heaven - would be very upset if I disrespected his generous donation.  So, I'll be a good sport and try to confine myself to pedaling nowhere on my horribly ancient trainer in my pain cave in the least until I can stands it no more.

I love cycling, but this is just plain boring.  What you can't see on the computer screen is a real-time graph of how much I suck, artfully detailed out in units of wattage, speed, cadence, and amount of useless drivel I may have written about on my blog.

I've got to suck it up and mount that ugly pink stationary MBK steel turd though.  I had to buy a couple new pairs of shorts yesterday as my gut is threatening to bust through the threads of my old favorites.  Since Kona last October, I've gained 15 pounds through all this in and out of surgery stuff.  Still a long road ahead, but progress is progress no matter how tiny the baby steps I suppose.

 The amount that the right leg is now skinnier than the left is inversely proportional to the amount that the gut has swelled up since pre-op.

Well, there's still a little time left in this vacation to go stare out the window with Maverick and Goose.  I better go make sure I'm not missing out on anything.  See ya next time!