As I mentioned in a comment, I removed the splint early Tuesday morning. It was causing great discomfort. I went to work yesterday, worked a full eight hours, then even spent a couple of hours at Car-Free Happy Hour, but I rode there in a car. 🙁
When I got home in the evening yesterday, my Knee Rover had arrived. I put it together and got it adjusted. So far, it’s only been around the house. I haven’t taken an pictures yet, but it comes with a front basket. I added headlight and taillight. I’ll be taking it with me to work today. I’ll write more about it once I have a little more experience with it.
Yes, I’ve been getting restless. I’ve been allowed to do a little work from home, but sitting up with my leg propped is not exactly comfortable.
Last night, I really wanted to go out for a beer. I also wanted some exercise so I didn’t want to take the car.
I used the crutches to get down the back steps. This is a white-knuckle experience for me. I’m lousy with crutches and the stairs have no rail. I joked with Diane about wearing my bike helmet for the steps.
Once down, I got in the wheelchair. The weather has been bad. The roads and sidewalks were covered with ice and snow. Taking the wheelchair was safe – I wasn’t going to fall. Diane did fall once on the ice, but wasn’t hurt.
It was slow going. I pushed myself along until I got stuck, then Diane would give me a push. I did most of the work, but I was traveling at less than a walking pace.
Once at Four Pegs, Diane handed me the crutches she’d been carrying for me, and I made my way in the door. We had several beers (to hell with the beer tickets for now).
The return trip seemed to go faster. I slept really well last night due to exhaustion and alcohol. This was my first good night’s sleep since the surgery.
I do need to stay off that bad leg for months. I need a better solution for getting around. I found something that will go over mixed-terrain a bit better. It’ll be more fun. I ordered it today, and I should get it next week.
This is not an insurance-provided device. I’m paying out of pocket for it. I figure I’ll use it until I don’t need it, then I’ll sell it.
This will make it possible to “walk” longer distances. I could even go all the way to work on it. I could avoid the bus, or car-pooling.
I’m going to be silly and put lights and a bell on it. 🙂
I like my family physician. He’s a genuinely nice guy. When I tore my achilles, he recommended an orthopedic surgeon. I researched the surgeon before my first visit.
He’s a well-known orthopedic surgeon who specializes in knee and hip replacements. His (mostly older women) patients love him. Some say “he’s hot”. He speaks three languages. He rides a Harley. He runs a karate school. He’s the Chuck Norris of surgeons. He also a really nice guy. I hope his skill is up to the hype. As I heal, I’ll know more.
Regarding that, I’ve quit taking the pain medication. I’ve dialed it down to Ibuprofen now. The leg/ankle area barely hurts, at least until I stand up. Strangely, my big toe is extremely sore. There shouldn’t be anything wrong with the toe. I’m guessing it’s just general inflammation in the area causing that. I have to wait until the 30th to get this splint off. Maybe the release in pressure will make it feel better, if only briefly, until they put the cast on me.
I’m starting to get bored. I’ve read four books since Friday. I’m getting ready to start number five. Sitting up enough to use the computer is still uncomfortable. I do it for short stretches. I can lay down and read a book for hours with no issue.
Diane’s mother had a wheelchair in her garage. I figure I can use it to get around the neighborhood if I choose. We’ve had bitter cold temperatures, so I haven’t bothered. It also doesn’t allow adjusting the footrest to keep my foot elevated. I can still use it, but it would be more comfortable with my foot up. I’d like to get out if the weather warms up.
Okay, I’m going to dig into another cup of coffee and my book.
I’ve been home since Saturday afternoon. We stopped at Four Pegs for a beer before heading home. That was probably a mistake – I had trouble navigating through the door with the walker and I banged my foot. I hurt bad enough that I didn’t feel well enough to drink the beer.
Getting up the back steps at home was worse. I had to sit and scooch myself up backward. Trying to stand after that was difficult and painful.
The spare bedroom has become the main bedroom. It’s closer to everything. I have no reason to go to the front bedroom, office, or living room. I stay in bed most of the time. I shuffle with my walker to use the bathroom or let the dogs out. When Diane is home she takes care of most things for me. When she’s not I sometimes have to get creative. I keep a full coffee pot here in the bedroom with me. If I run out, it’s problematic to carry a full coffee pot back – and a full cup is out of the question. I need a basket on the front of the walker.
I’ve updated my weight page, but I’m not weighing at this point. It’s not worth the extra movement. Although I can move, getting vertical causes blood flow down into the legs, which really hurts the bad one. I try to stay horizontal as much as possible – with the bad leg propped on a pillow.
I have Percocet here for pain, but I’ve found it does little good. I’ve never had luck with narcotic pain killers. I’ve been taking ibuprofen throughout the day, and I save the Percocet for bedtime so I can sleep. I’m having mixed results.
I have my laptop, phone, and Kindle all with arm’s reach. So far I haven’t been too bored. Some cheesy sci-fi material keeps me interested. I surf the web when I’ve had enough of reading.
Today, being Monday, has me making phone calls. I set up my follow-up appointment with the surgeon. I rescheduled a dentist appointment that I’m just not ready to go to yet. I’m having issues with my HSA account since switching insurance plans, so I spent considerable time on the phone with Humana. Unfortunately, the bank that holds the account is closed for the holiday today, so I’ll have to try again tomorrow. I hate the bureaucratic bullshit that goes with dealing with any large company. Their mistake becomes my problem to solve.
Although I’m grumpy, the peace and quiet of downtime has been kind of nice. I know that won’t last before I get stir-crazy though. Hopefully moving around will be less painful by then.
This hospital stay is much different than the last one. This one was planned. The last one began with a trip to the E.R. This one I went in feeling decent. The last one I went in with excruciating pain.
I arrived at the hospital at 5:30am for the 7:30am surgery. They had me undress, prepped me, and shaved my right leg. They asked the same questions several times – in several different ways. They stuck an I.V. in my right arm.
They took me back to do a nerve block. This involved sticking a needle, guided my ultrasound, into the back of my right knee. I did not like this idea one bit as I would be awake for this part. It would ease pain post-op though.
They gave me some drugs to relax me. I spoke to my doctor who said we’d talk more in the O.R. before starting surgery. That never happened. I fell asleep before the nerve block. I woke up after surgery in the recovery room.
During the time I was out they did the nerve block, flipped me over, put me to sleep even better, intubated me, flipped me over again, fixed my achilles tendon, and put a splint on my lower leg and ankle.
I woke up in the recovery room. It was a peaceful waking. My thoughts weren’t clear. My memory was foggy. I had trouble staying awake for more than two minutes. No matter, I was whisked to my room, where Diane was waiting.
There’s a dry-erase board in my room with Plan of Care
I wasn’t in severe pain when I woke up. I was uncomfortable, but the nerve block was doing it’s job. They gave me an anti-nausea medication and something for pain. I had trouble staying awake. Water and light food was pushed at me. I had trouble keeping it down, but did manage.
Just a few hours after surgery the PT girls* showed up. It was mostly to figure out how I can walk while I heal. I now have a walker. It’s easier to use than crutches, but it’s slightly embarrassing.
The PT girls will be back today to teach me to navigate stairs.
After my rather short PT session I was quite awake. My appetite was back. I started drinking copious amounts of water. I was feeling better.
A couple of hours after that the nerve block began to wear off. Ouch. Surgery is painful. I’ve been alternating between Percocet and morphine. The Percocet takes the edge off the pain. I’ve found the morphine to just make me feel weird and somewhat sleepy.
I had a lousy night’s sleep mostly due to the pain. Diane insisted on staying with me the whole time. She fell asleep early on the small couch in the room. She did crawl into the tiny hospital bed with me briefly. It’s just too small.
I’m supposed to be discharged today. I’m still waiting to see my doctor. I don’t know how things will play out.
I am to put NO weight on my bad leg for a while. This is going to be difficult. Even once I get home, I’ll spend a lot of time in bed. My Kindle should keep me from being too bored.
Therapy has not yet begun. I have no idea before I can walk without a walker, ride a bike, or climb stairs. This sucks, but I’m going to follow doctor’s orders. I want this to heal properly so I don’t have to worry about it again.
*PT girls are the Physical Therapists. No, they don’t work at PT’s, which is just a few blocks from here.
I did get two enjoyable rides in over the weekend before my injury on Monday. Tim planned both of them.
The first was a road ride on Saturday. This ride was just Tim and I. He was trying out some new handlebars on his Rawland Sogn. I was riding my Rawland rSogn. We took a mildly hilly route through part of Jefferson Forest. It was a good day on the bike. We didn’t push the tempo too hard.
The morning started with some light rain, but it moved out, leading to a beautiful day.
I was nearly at the end of the ride when my rear tire flatted. Rather than fix it on the side of the road, Tim walked with me back to the coffee shop, and gave me a ride home. The bike is still sitting in my office with a flat. I should fix that soon.
I got 36 miles in on Saturday.
Sunday brought a ride with some off-road stretches. Patrick joined Tim and I for a “camp coffee” ride. No camping was involved, but we brought coffee-making supplies and stoves along for the fun.
I rode my Fargo. Patrick rode his Fargo. Tim rode his Mukluk. This meant all three of us were riding Salsa bikes. That’s unusual.
We rode city streets to Indiana. Once there we rode a few paths before diving into diversions near the river. These weren’t paths, but muddy tracks that usually dead-ended near the river. Tim’s 4″ wide tires meant he did well here.
After enough dead-ends, we back on roads for a bit to get to an old railroad grade that I’ve ridden before.
Tim turned-off downhill to check out a spot for coffee. Patrick and I continued on to check out a railroad bridge. We turned back to join Tim. We found the wrong “path” to get down to him. It would still get there, but it was much steeper and muddier. I didn’t realize that and went down first.
Riding down the steep section was thrilling, but relatively safe, and it was straight. Then there was a steep uphill to slow me down, which it did. What I didn’t count on was the uphill being so muddy and slick that I couldn’t even walk up the last few feet. I had to cut through the brush – after falling and getting muddy. Patrick walked and avoided the mud.
We rejoined Tim and started our stoves. Three cups of coffee were made and consumed in the woods. It was pleasant.
We continued on across two defunct railroad bridges. I’ve been across them before – once on the rSogn even. Tim and Patrick elected to walk while I rode down the middle. Tim wrote lies about the event on his blog, but that’s okay, he made a more interesting story than I did.
We headed back to town. Tim and I rode with Patrick toward his house (he lived the farthest), but I turned back after a bit – as I had a busy day planned with Diane.
I arrived home with a terribly muddy bike that I had to hose down in the back yard.
I rode almost 28 miles for this ride – much of it difficult off-road.
Spreading the Love
Diane’s sister’s birthday was over the weekend. Diane and I went out for a drink on Saturday with her and her fiancée. We were a bit silly, but I was designated driver, and kept us safe.
They came over again on Sunday to pick up her (their?) birthday gift – an old yellow Sears-branded tandem bicycle. It’s a cruiser style bike – single speed with coaster brake. I bought it from Asher and Denis, since they now have a better tandem.
I fixed it up a bit. It needed grips, tubes, and rim strips. I cleaned and lubed it. I added a bell – because I like bells. The four of us rode the two tandems down to Four Pegs for a beer.
I wish I had taken pictures of the tandem, but I failed to do so.
Yeah. Monday. Work went by quick. I rode the Big Dummy to and from work. It really wasn’t a bad day. We went to volleyball – then my Achilles tore. Oh well. Game over.
In any case, last weekend was a great weekend. Maybe that’s why I’m still in a decent mood, even with the torn tendon thing going on.
I felt almost normal this morning – until I tried to walk. Then my slow, shuffling gait reminded me that I’m damaged. I got ready for work. Diane had already left. I knew the bus schedule and had plenty of time.
Walking down the alley to the bus stop was slower than expected. I hate crutches. I missed the bus by 30 seconds. I called a cab.
I barely used my crutches. I hate them. I can shuffle slowly around. I can even climb stairs slowly as long as I hold on to the railing. I have almost no pain, just a dull ache and some stiffness in the ankle.
Diane’s sister picked me up from work at 1:00 to run me to my appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. It’s only five blocks from work, but I don’t want to walk that distance.
The fact the the ankle has been feeling better had given me hope that the tendon was only partially ruptured. The doctor dispelled that thought. It’s a complete rupture. I have no ability to flex my foot downward.
Anyway, I go in for surgery on Friday. I’ll be in the hospital overnight. I’ll be out of work for a week. Being in a new contract job, I have no paid time off, so I just don’t get paid. Shit happens.
It’ll be a slow recovery. I won’t be able to walk on the right leg for quite some time. Riding the bike is months away. This sucks, but that’s the way it is.
Diane was off work when I finished up at the doctor’s office. She picked me up, and we headed to buy dog food. As she was driving down Baxter Avenue, I saw a familiar cyclist ahead. It was Katie who organizes car-free happy hour. I rolled down my window and talked to her at a red light. She said she had the same achilles problem before – from falling. I didn’t have time to ask her if it was due to riding a bike.
Now that I’m home, I lubed the chain on the Fargo. It had been a muddy mess after Sunday’s ride. I haven’t had a chance to write about that yet. I will soon. I had washed the bike after the ride, but the chain was beginning to rust.
Now that the Fargo is done, I still have a flat tire on the rSogn. I probably clean it thoroughly while I work on it. I might as well work on the bikes since I can’t ride them. I have some changes I want to make. Now is a good time. I just need the money to buy some parts.
I had an appointment with my family doctor this morning. The Achilles tendon is fully ruptured. The next few months are going to suck.
Oddly enough, I woke up pain-free this morning. I can hobble around slowly and carefully without crutches.
I can’t drive. It’s my right ankle, and I’m totally unable to flex my foot downward to push on the brake or gas pedal. I’m not going to attempt to drive left-footed. That would probably lead to an accident.
The borrowed antique crutches were replaced with modern aluminum ones, for a measly $5.50. It’s nice to have friends with access to such things.
Diane was working today and had the car. Her sister took me to my doctor appointment. Her mother drove me back home.
I have an appointment tomorrow afternoon with an orthopedic doctor. Then I’ll know whether I’ll be having surgery or not. I’ll probably be outfitted with ones of those ugly moon boots.
Although I could pedal a bike well enough, I can’t ride a bike. I’d probably put the wrong foot down when stopping and hurt myself worse. The bikes are staying parked. I’ll clean them, tune them, and look at them. I’ll get back on a bike when the ortho says so.
Today was the first day of the new session of volleyball. I had a new team with a player new to the league.
We were struggling to keep up during the first game (of three). We still had a chance, and we played well. They were playing better.
About halfway through the first game, during a play, I thought one of my teammates had kicked me in the back of the ankle. I went down. Anger turned to confusion as I realized there was nobody behind me.
I sat for a minute, in the middle of the court, trying to asses the damage. It still just felt like I got kicked in the ankle. I decided to stand, and realized I couldn’t. I hobbled off-court and sat in a nearby folding chair.
Then the pain came. It was bad enough I felt cold, clammy, and a bit woozy. Two guys helped me to the bleachers. Someone else brought a bag of ice.
As the ice numbed the pain, I felt better and watched my team get beat all three games. They tried hard. They played decently. The other team played better.
One of my teammates is a doctor. After the games, she checked my ankle and she’s afraid I may have torn my Achilles Tendon. Is it a small tear? Is it completely ruptured? Is it just strained? I don’t know. I’ll be making an appointment with a sports medicine doctor ASAP.
I was loaned some (antique?) crutches. I can’t really walk without them. There isn’t much pain now, but things don’t feel right. I have little strength in that leg.
This sucks. Unless it’s just a strain, I’m out of volleyball for the session. I’m off the bike. I can’t even drive, as it’s my right foot and I can’t press on the pedals. Luckily, I can work – as long as I can get there.
I won’t be working tomorrow, as I intend to be at a doctor. I’ll post another update once I know how much damage was done.
My first (partial) week of beer was okay. I had two beers on two different days, taking up my allowance of four from 1/1 to 1/4.
This week is not so good. I’m allowed seven per week. I’ve already had six. I don’t get another allotment until Sunday. Bummer.
We had some bitter cold weather on Monday and Tuesday. The forecasted snow fizzled, but the cold was real. The Monday morning bike commute was done at about 3F. Monday afternoon was about the same. Tuesday morning was a “chilly” -1F. There was a bit of a warming trend during the day, so the afternoon commute was a balmy 15F.
I had a volleyball team captain meeting to attend after work on Tuesday. I rode there, of course. It surprised the others – and they know me.
Today’s morning commute was about 15F, but the afternoon commute was above freezing. It felt like shorts and t-shirt weather!
The new volleyball season is about to begin. I’m angry at myself for gaining weight last year, but then I realize that I still ride a bike (slowly) and play volleyball (poorly). Actually, my volleyball league is full of older, fatter people. Hmmm….
The holidays are over. Work is ramping up. I stayed late today to get some projects finished. I haven’t been this busy and productive at a job in a long time. I love feeling productive again.
So, I’ve been busy and happy.
Also, this job is a contract job. It’s temporary. It was originally supposed to end by April 1st. I think that’s now been changed to May 1st. There’s also a chance of a six-month extension after that. We’ll see.
My weight has been fluctuating right around 255 since the beginning of the year. I am weighing every day again, but I’m not seeing any movement in either direction.
It’s early. I need to keep an eye on the longer-term trends. I’ll average weekly once I have more data to work with.
It pisses me off that I still need to lose 80 pounds.
My weight today was 256.8 lbs. That’s almost 20 lbs more than a year ago. That’s unacceptable. There are a few factors – and I have some ideas to combat them.
I still intend to get down to 175 lbs. Anything under 200 is great, but 175 is still the goal. I need to lose 7 lbs a month. That will get me to my goal weight before the end of 2014. It’ll also have me solidly under 200 for Gravel Grovel in November.
I started this blog to be accountable. I’ve lost track of that. I no longer weigh daily. I don’t track my calories. I’ve been soft on goal-setting.
I’m weighing again every morning and will be updating my weight page. I may even start the progress photos again – even though I’ve gained weight and a few years.
I don’t believe food is the biggest issue right now. I’ll need to watch what I eat, but in some ways, my eating isn’t bad at home. I do poorly when I go out to eat, but Diane prefers we eat at home most days. If I continue to gain weight I’ll start tracking calories again.
This is the big one. I’ve dilly-dallied around this one. I love beer. Not just drinking it, but tasting it, talking about it, and trying new beer. I’ve considered giving it up entirely. Normally, just cutting back works for a while, then I slip back into old habits, so I need something new.
I’ve thought of something that will control my consumption, and allow me to further enjoy the beer. Beer Tickets. I’ve printed out a sheet of seven tickets – each good for one beer. I get a new batch of tickets every Sunday. The tickets expire that Saturday night so I can’t hoard them.
I can have one beer a day, or seven all at once for the week. I’ll probably drink a couple a few nights a week.
How will I enjoy the beer more? The tickets are mostly blank. I write the name of the beer, where I had it, what I paid for it, and what I think about it. I can review it later to determine what beers I prefer, or what I drink too much of, and tell me when it’s time to branch out.
If seven beers per week turns out to be too much, I’ll drop the number down.
This is the beginning of the year. It is effective immediately. I’ve had no beer today, so I have my seven tickets, but three are already crossed out due to the “partial week” so far this year.
A ticket is good for a normal size beer. An 8, 12, 16, or 22oz pour is all “normal”. A can or bottle is normal. A monster 32oz beer from the Mexican restaurant is two beer tickets – and not really worth it.
I need more fast bike rides. I generally plod along at a leisurely pace now. That’s fine for getting to work, but I need to step it up to burn calories. I need to get faster to feel better on longer rides.
I need to branch out and do some strength training. Maybe Diane and I could do a little running. These are not new ideas. I’ve been trying for over six years now.
I’ve suffered with depression pretty badly over the last year. In April I started an anti-depressant. It worked for a while, then it didn’t. I quit taking it. I’ve since started taking a different one with mixed results. I’m still taking it. Cutting back on alcohol could be hugely helpful here. Easing the depression helps me control overeating and drinking too much.
I’m in the habit of going out to eat and drink. Diane and I need to build habits of doing healthy things together. When we ride the tandem together, it’s usually to ride to a restaurant, bar, or party. We need to change that.
Happy New Year
I don’t know why we make changes with the new year. Wouldn’t it make sense to do it on your birthday? I dunno, but it’s time to change.
Four years ago, Tim and I went on a New Year’s Day ride. That day it was bitter cold and our ride was rural southern Indiana.
We did another New Year’s Day ride today, but it was urban. He rode his Mukluk, and I rode the Big Dummy. It was quite the odd couple of bikes.
The weather today was pleasant. Temperatures were in the low-to-mid thirties. I did underdress a bit, and would get cold if we stopped long.
We wandered around town, on and off road. Tim did some bird-watching. We came across a group of runners. We ran into some cyclocross racers that he knows training some young racers (10 to 16 years old or so).
We meandered along the river. We never went fast. Not with him on a fatbike.
We had two coffee stops. I had a coffee and snack at each.
Diane and I spent some time in San Francisco in July. It was a work trip for me, but we squeezed a couple of extra days in for a vacation. We didn’t rent a car or bring bikes. I learned a lot about public transportation in a major city.
In November, Diane and I rode the tandem for her second bike-camping trip. Diane’s car was stolen, then recovered. I resigned my job without a new one lined up – a first for me. I also bailed on Gravel Grovel. I raced it in 2011 and 2012, but didn’t feel up to it in 2013.