Friday, November 26, 2010

My Black Friday Purchase: The Twin Six Rando T-Shirt

Finally! After waiting for what seems like an eternity, the Twin Six "Let's Tour" t-shirt is finally in stock in a full range of sizes, including medium. The "Let's Tour" was first previewed last season as one of Twin Six's shirts of the month. When I saw the word "randonneur" printed on a commercially available t-shirt I nearly fell off my chair, but it's been over six months of checking in on their website to reach this moment. Order today form the Twin Six website for that special randonneur on your holiday shopping list!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

So much for which to be thankful!

There is so much to be thankful for this year! Health, recovery, family, friends, love, community, school, perspective. The list goes on and on.

Yesterday, on our trip to Maryland to spend the holiday with my sister-in-law's family, we stopped off at St. Luke's hospital (where I spent the first two weeks after my accident) for a stretch, a visit and a cup of coffee. Jessie pointed out that it was merely 5 miles away from the highway on which we were driving and the allure was too much to pass up. Jessie surprised herself by being more shaken than expected the closer we got to the hospital, but this dissipated as soon as we encountered the familiar faces of those who had cared for us after the accident. Apparently, one of the disappointments of trauma nursing is that folks rarely come back after they've healed to say "hi." Needless to say, I look a bit taller and cleaner these days, but we were recognized immediately as we walked off the elevator and onto the ninth floor acute care wing. The highlight of our visit was catching up with Liz and Lesette, our two dear friends who have made such a difference in our lives. Their humor and warmth was as welcome yesterday as it was the last time we saw them.

So, while surgery lies ahead in a few weeks, I'm optimistic and tremendously thankful for all that I have. Thanks to everyone for all of the support and encouragement!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Some great news!

I got some great news today from the orthopedist I was working with at Helen Hayes during my stay there.  After taking a look at an x-ray of my hip during a follow-up visit, he said my femoral head looked very good and that it was "unlikely" that I will run into trouble down the road. He suggested that the lingering pain, sensitivity and mobility struggles in the left hip are muscular in nature, which is normal. I will not need another follow-up exam until next August unless there is increased pain. With a break such as mine, in 30% of the cases the bone develops avascular necrosis (death through lack of blood) and needs to be replaced. While Floyd Landis won the Tour de France after his hip replacement (and dosing on hormones) I'd rather not have one at age 45, all things considered, so this was great news. It was really reassuring to hear that my bone seems to be healing properly. 

The most reassuring thing, though, is the continued and miraculous support I get from Jessie on a daily basis. Jessie is an absolute wonder as a wife, mother and friend. Despite all of the challenges, she continues to inspire me daily with her determination and good humor. I could not be a luckier guy.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Well, it couldn't all be good news.

I met with my shoulder specialist this week to review the results of my recent tests and found that her initial suspicion was correct. I have a previously undetected, displaced humerus fracture which involves a piece of my greater tuberosity and the associated rotator cuff muscles swimming around in my shoulder. No wonder I can't raise my arm. The only solution is surgical and the likelihood of repair hovers around 50%. It all has to do with how pliant my muscles are at this point and how cooperative they are in the process of reattachment. So off I go to surgery in mid-December to get this business repaired. I was clear with the doctor that the most important outcome was getting my left arm to "handlebar height;" anything else is extra. The surgery is possible on an "outpatient" basis (can you believe it?) so I will not require a lengthy hospital stay and should be back in action with my arm in a sling within a few days.

On the more positive side, I spent a few days at work this past week and I was thrilled again and again by the warm and caring reception I received from students, teachers, staff and parents. What a great school we have! While the recent medical news is somewhat discouraging, I have great confidence in my surgeon and am optimistic about a complete recovery and return to 
randonneuring and ultra racing. I have done a little recumbent research, so I have a better sense of what might be available in the worst case scenario, but I hope to be able to place an order for a new Independent Fabrication Club Racer later this winter after healing a bit more to enable my friend Paul down at Signature Cycles to do an accurate fitting.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Back on the (a) bike!

After 9 weeks, I’m finally back on the bike! OK, it may be bolted to the floor at the gym, but it’s a bike nonetheless. That’s right - I’m back, baby! Yesterday I renewed my lapsed membership at the local gym and began the next stage of my recovery that involves additional weight machines, the treadmill and, of course, a stationary bike. After a 15 minute warm-up on the treadmill, I rode 7 miles on the bike topping out at 20 mph. It felt so good to sweat as a result of hard work rather than a restless night’s sleep, heavy medication or the unseasonably warm temperature of a hospital room. I also noticed that the tightness of my left hip flexor muscle which leads to a limp, if I don’t stretch it out adequately, is not an issue on the bike at all. I found that I’m able to pedal smoothly and quickly which feels like pure freedom even when bolted to the floor. I now know for sure that I will ride again.

This is a big week coming up. I will have both an MRI and CT scan done tomorrow night at Beth Israel and then follow up with my shoulder specialist on Wednesday. I was pleased to find out last week that I’ve not suffered any significant nerve damage from the accident. The EMG test was a thrill – electrodes, shocks and needles – yet the results were outstanding. The doctor was able to ascertain some lingering trauma from two herniated discs I suffered several years ago, but I was glad to learn that my current shoulder weakness is not tied to a nasty nerve problem. The growing consensus seems to be a rotator cuff tear of some magnitude, so we’ll see. Hopefully, the MRI results will not be invalidated by all of the metal in my shoulder. I should have a much better sense of what lies ahead on Wednesday. I’m also excited to be returning to work on a part-time basis this week. Onward and upward!