Tuesday, July 24, 2018 12:42 PM

So I've learned some lessons in the last 381 days.

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Back in January, I wrote a blog post related to the surgery that I had as a result of a bicycle accident on July 8, 2017. But before I get started, I'll warn you that this post has nothing to do with technology, so skip it, if you don't want to read about road bikes and physical therapy.

First, when you cross a rail crossing on a road bike, make sure that you do so with your wheels at a perpendicular angle to the tracks, or get off and walk it.  If you do not do this, it's at least somewhat likely that you will crash.  Best case, you look bad.  Worst case, you get hurt.  Really hurt.  Or run over by the car that is following too close behind you or trying to pass while you're crossing. 

I admit that on July 8, 2018 (the one year anniversary of the crash), I didn't walk it and I crossed the same crossing at a better angle, but it was one of those things that I wanted to do for myself.  I had ridden by on the rail trail path 20 times since the crash and even paused for moments of silence a few times. 

In the last six months, I have enjoyed 40 visits to the physical therapist, endured home therapy 3 times per day, and have worked hard to get back to normal in life and at work.  PT can be a 15-20 hour per week part-time job that you pay to do, and that's no fun in either respect.  At the end of June, I was released from physical therapy, in early July, I was given best wishes from the surgeon, and I appear to be on my way to a full recovery.  

I still have aches and pains, and some days, it feels like I'm playing catch-up on the work you've asked me to do for you, but I can do most of what I want to do with that shoulder.  I'd say 90%. 

An additional lesson is that if you have surgery and followup PT, to do your physical therapy just like the therapist tells you to do, and make sure to find a good one.  Early on, I decided that I had to have a full recovery and committed myself to whatever it was going to take.  Those sessions with pink 1-pound dumbbells were embarrassing, but then you realize that, in the PT clinic, that everyone has been where you are, so you just put in the work starting with 1-pound (or no-pound in my case). 

Today, I'm back to the point of doing full pushups, dumbbell curls at about 70% of what I could do before, and am approaching 1000 miles ridden this season.  I still haven't thrown a softball at all, let alone hard, but I'm in no big hurry.  I've been told that the general weakness and some smaller aches and pains will dissipate "one day very soon" but they're still there.  And when you don't work out regularly for about a year, previous gains get erased  pretty quickly. 

By the grace of God, I was assigned to a good physical therapist who pushed me hard.  If you're an athlete, find a therapist who works with athletes.  If you need surgery, select a surgeon who specializes in your type of injury and who has done lots of them with good outcomes.  If you want to know which surgeons have good outcomes, talk to physical therapists.  All of that made a big difference. 

At the initial consult, the surgeon said, "If I do my job on Day 1, and you do your job 100% for the Days 2-120, it won't be easy, but you'll have a full recovery."  Friends who have had shoulder surgeries tell me that I have about 5 months to go in order to pick up that last 10%.  I'm still working hard on that part, and on adding some more crash-free miles on the bike this season.  

Listen to the experts.  Do what they say.  That's why they get paid to do what they do.   

Last modified on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 01:36 PM
Dave Horn

Dave Horn

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