Today marks the 4th month since I landed back in the States and had surgery in Newport Beach. Four months! Where has all the time gone? It’s time to take this anniversary as a compelling reason to share quite a few updates. So hang on.
Having broken a number of bones in my body over the years I figured these experiences would offer the best insight into my healing process. But unlike fingers, arms, wrists, toes and clavicles bones in the lower leg are responsible for supporting much more body weight. So it’s no wonder the healing and rehabilitation is much more apparent and in front of mind. Within reasons anything I do requires using that leg. And if, borrowing a phrase from a great song, my mind makes a promise that my leg won’t do I get a bit frustrated.
I finished my 12th and last prescribed physical therapy session last Friday. I’m on the home program now. I’ve got my ankle weights, exercise ball and blue and green tension bands to keep me company as I continue to strengthen. But the leg is still weak. After 15 minutes of walking such as my weekend wandering around the REI store while scoping out their huge sale I get tired. Then I get lazy and move into a slacking limp. Of course limping does no good as it throws alignment and body position off potentially causing more problems elsewhere.
In the mornings I tend to be rested and the leg serves me well. By the afternoon its fatigued and I’m reminded in so many ways that I broke my leg in three places and have a collection of hardware making home in there. Kneeling feels awfully funny and I jokingly tried to move into a slow stride of a jog — just to see if I could — and this failed. If I sound disappointed I am. If I sound like I’m whining, I’m not. I understand these things. After four months I thought I’d be running a triathlon. But then again, I’ve never done a triathlon. Nor a marathon. But I did ride nearly 22,000 miles on my motorcycle over seven months.
Some of you might remember I mentioned that the orthopedic doc (Chang) was concerned a couple months ago that maybe I had done some damage to my LCL or ACL. He suggested and MRI but warned that the hardware in the leg could impede the ability to get an accurate and usable image. I’ve also noted that my insurance situation is rather tough and the $1,500 MRI cost would have to come out of my pocket. And I don’t want to pay fifteen-hundred bucks for a bad picture. My therapist Suzie tried to see if the knee would give in multiple directions by pulling, yanking and doing what PT’s do to asses injuries and healing progress. Hard to tell, but she doesn’t think I have a problem there. My real issue is muscle strength. I hope.
So I’ll see Dr. Chang again next week and have him do the same thing. I’ll also get new x-rays. Because I can feel some of the screw heads under my skin I might opt to have the hardware removed from my leg if the bones are healed enough. This surgery would be covered under my insurance. While I’m in the anesthesia zone Dr. Chang could theoretically take a little scope and poke around the knee to see if there is any ligament damage. If so and again theoretically, he could do the repair while I’m on the table. If not, he sews me (ahh staples) up again and I continue to rebuild. This strategy makes sense to me. I’ll see what Chang has to say next week.
Note: You can check more silly photos of my physical therapy in the new album I just posted here.
I’ve heard from many of you who feel I left you hanging with my last WorldRider report on Jeremiah. Those of you who remember in an email he sent he complained about his bike and said that “BMW Sucks“. This was after he had been to the bottom of the world, spent a week or so in Buenos Aires and was beginning his journey into Brazil. Seems that in Southern Brazil he needed to replace his tires. A local BMW dealer took on the job but made him wait more than 8-hours. At this point Jeremiah had been at the end of his rope. He dealt with both bike and health problems on his way to Ushuaia and was hit by a car while walking across the street one evening after beginning the 2,000 mile journey to Buenos Aires.
Jeremiah finally pushed off from that BMW dealer with new tires and made his way to Rio. With the rainy season setting into the Amazon he assessed his options and his situation. He hadn’t seen his wife since New Year’s, his niece would be graduating in June and he was feeling tired if not burned out. Rather than tour the amazon in less than ideal conditions he decided to park his bike outside Rio and head home to Colorado for the summer. He will see his wife, the graduation, catch up on work and then fly back to Brazil in August. If all goes right, he’ll tour the Amazon and head back to Bolivia to ride the Salar de Uyuni, and the volcano district past Lagunas Verde and Colorado. If the timing works I would meet him in Sucre and we would once again take that road from Potosi to Uyuni passing once again through the fabled village of Tica Tica.
I continue to hear from other riders across the globe and in the United States. There’s a chance I’ll help a fellow ADVrider ride his new KTM from South Carolina to Iowa as a test run prior to heading back to Bolivia. There are other options to take some time and ride through the spectacular southern Utah region. And if the motor won’t go I’m starting to ride a bicycle as part of therapy to get stronger.
My stepfather Howard is in the midst of radiation therapy for prostate cancer, which he will attest to is no fun and makes my broken leg seem like just a minor irritation. He’s got another 17 straight days of therapy and then who knows how long the side effects will linger post-therapy. I pray it gets better and easier for him as there are more important milestones t than riding. Also, my brother Jim is turning 50 next month. So I have a trip or two I’ll make stateside this summer. And for those of you who care, I’ve dusted off The Digital Tavern, my other blog where I write about music, macintosh, wine, culture, blogging and motorcycling. Check it out here and there’s a place to subscribe to updates if you care to be apprised as I post new entries.
South America is going through interesting times. A new leftist populist president just might be elected in Peru, Oh, and interestingly Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez seems that democracy is okay as long as he agrees with it, for he threatens to cut off diplomatic ties with Peru should the population vote for anyone but Ollanta Humala in next months election runoff. Evo Morales the newly elected president of Bolivia who’s aligned with Castro and Chavez and most recently nationalized the country’s oil and gas industry. Gangs are rioting and wreaking havoc in Sao Paulo Brazil and more ice is melting in Antarctica as a result of global warming. Whew.
Stay tuned. It always gets interesting.