The long road back: Part 2


Confinement, Xmas 2015

After a rough ride through Xmas day the pain in my shoulder is definitely beginning to recede. Only needed the one painkiller and ice pack last night. Also managed to get out bed three times without assistance; which right now is cause for considerable smiling. There’s no doubting the heavy-duty meds get you through the initial pain hump, but as I’d been warned – even via Facebook as I was hitting the magic green button on the night of my op – they certainly take their toll on everything from your mental state to your digestive system. Just like a long ride, keep hydrating even if you’re not thirsty. You’ll be glad you did later, believe me.

For all the improvements, I’m still pretty much confined to quarters. I got a bit adventurous earlier trying to take off my shirt solo – Pete’s advice: wear singlets as much possible – but certainly felt it afterwards.

Being a generally ‘busy’ person the confinement of the (necessarily) tight sling is a real drag. I take it off for 15 minutes here and there, and let my arm drape carefully across my chest, mostly when the kids aren’t around. Seems pretty simple, but I can’t tell you how good it feels to straighten my elbow and rotate my forearm a bit. Still no weight bearing allowed, but it’s a start.

On the subject of simple pleasures, we made up a game. The kids set up a plastic rubbish bag in the far corner of my room and I take pot shots at it with my good arm. Tissues, pill boxes, empty coffee cups. It’s all ammo. Success rate so far is poor. But, hey, it’s something to work on – and pass the time, of course.

I also had a very nervous prod around my twin shoulder dressings on Boxing Day to see if I can feel the plate or screws. I’m told you can often see them given the clavicle’s close proximity to the surface, but I can’t sense much at this stage. That may simply be because I’m a pussy and not pressing hard enough.

The one time I can definitely feel something, however, is when taking deep breaths. It’s an odd sensation, more unusual than painful, but I guess I’ll get used to it in time. In a momentary surge of optimism I also did a bit of Dr Googling to explore the possibility of even removing the plate and screws at some stage down the track – sell them to Bunnings, perhaps? – but that bridge is years away, if ever. Also on matters of thinking ahead, my youngest tearfully came to me last night with a handwritten note asking me to stop riding in case I get killed the next time I crash. Oh, man. Talk about pulling the heartstrings. That’s a tough one. I’ve had plenty of crashes before, including three broken ribs and a concussion in a race back in August, but this is the first time I haven’t immediately felt that steely, bloody-minded determination to get straight back into racing as fast as possible. Hopefully this will change, but who knows? Have I lost my nerve? Not sure, but I do know I was just getting back into some really strong form, even eyeing a higher grade in the new year. That’s all out the window, for now at least. I’ll be back at some point, though. Sorry son. It’s part of who I am.

Everything is happening so darn slowly right now, I think that’s the worst thing for an impatient bugger like me. The only thing I can do is…do nothing. As expected the kids are bored out of their little minds. Cabin fever has set in and the in-fighting is pretty constant, like feral cats in the night. Fortunately I also have a pretty constant headache, fluctuating in ferocity, so the additional discomfort from squabbling is negligible. I felt sorry them yesterday and sent them up to the local shops armed with one of our Christmas present gift vouchers. They came back with FIFA16 for the Xbox and seem happy with that for now. I predict the cease-fire will hold for three days. Max.

Days since op: 5
Shirt removal pain-o-meter: 7/10


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