4.13.2008,12:40 PM
Riding on No Wheels
My usual spot these past five days has been on a recliner with the right leg propped up on a pillow. Enclosing my foot and leg from the knee down is a fuzzy black boot with strips of velcro and two hard splines of plastic running up and down the sides. It reminds me of my motocross boots: lots of fasteners and nearly immobilizing the lower leg and foot like a ski boot. Except this black boot is prettier and not as heavy as my green monster MX boots. Three of my toes peek out like little miniature dolls staring at me. I'm tempted to paint smiley faces on the nails, but I might be caught talking to them.

Last Tuesday's surgery turned into a fiasco when my time slot was pushed back several hours due to a prolonged surgery earlier in the day. I not only had to go to a different hospital to have it done, but had to go through the entire admission, song and pony dance, disrobing and robing, and having to watch the confusion on support staff faces. That didn't do much for my confidence in the entire process. Having not eaten or had any fluids since 9:30 the night before -nearly twenty hours- I was quite dehydrated by the time I was finally being prepped. I was hooked up to an IV and two liters of fluids pushed into me.

Dr. Van Pelt finally walked in and apologized for all the confusion and inconvenience, assuring me I could place my confidence in him. I felt little wigglies in the arm hooked up to the IV, moving up through my arm into my neck and spreading down my body. I was being wheeled out of the prep room down the hall and then the lights went out.

I woke up in the recovery room and went back to sleep. Repeat several times. I don't remember the drive back to where I would be staying, nor the trip to the bed. The pain deep in my bones, down in my leg and foot, woke me several times during the next day. Ed related what happened in the recovery room and the drive home, and told me I had an impressive piece of hardware in my leg. Apparently a five-inch long plate with all the accessory screws and pins now holds the bottom of my fibula together. It talked to me in constant throbbing and occasional sharp twangs, reminding me of its presence. I fed it with Darvocet to shut it up.

Up until today, my eyes wouldn't focus very well. On a short drive in the truck (as a passenger), all the corners and turns made me lurch; my sense of balance was off and vertigo made me feel as though I was lost in space. Maneuvering on crutches requires concentration and vigilance, and much more energy than before the surgery. The pain meds are probably responsible for these recent changes.

It's amazing how much we take for granted and what is natural to us without any conscious thought: our place in space and time (proprioception), flow of movement (our gait, synchrony of body parts and limbs that balance us in time and space), and the importance of our hands and arms, feet and legs in
normal daily movement and routine. Remember, using crutches involves only one foot/leg with both arms and hands while the other foot remains useless except for as a ballast. So, normal and habitual movements are impeded, sometimes impossible. I've learned how my mouth can be useful for carrying things. Improvisation is imperative.

Meanwhile, the bikes and riding in general are never far from my mind. In fact, one of the many dreams I've had over the past few days entailed a conversation with Sherpie. I sat on a wooden box on a garage floor and chatted with the Sherpa. The glow from the headlight varied with her conversation. I asked, "Where does it hurt?".

Her response was almost a dismissal, "I don't feel anything, you silly human. I just know something isn't working right." It must have been the oil seep from the engine we were discussing.

I'm now listing, detailing and researching all the repairs and maintenance that must be made to the Whee to make him roadworthy again. When I'm ready to ride, so will the Whee.

Let the fun begin.


posted by Macrobe
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