The long road back: Part 10

Fling that sling


And with that, ladies and gentlemen, the sling is gone.

I saw my Orthopod on Monday and, amongst many other conversations, he revealed he was quite happy for me to stop wearing it, effective immediately. Other things revealed include the slightly unfortunate positioning of the solitary 50mm screw in my coracoid process (apparently it’s closer to the edge of the bone than he’d been hoping which may be causing me some additional tenderness – awesome) and the fact the noticeably protruding and rather uncomfortable plate currently fixed into my scapula will eventually be able to come out once the healing is complete, possibly as soon as in four months. I certainly wasn’t expecting him to say that. Of course the yin of getting the annoying hunk of metal out of my body comes with the yang of another operation, so it will all depend how I’m feeling later in the year – and the state of my finances, of course.

In stark contrast to the optimism of my surgeon, however, I have to say my shoulder has been aching for the last few days. Can’t pinpoint exactly what I did to it to aggravate it, but aggravated it most certainly is – easily the sorest I’ve felt for at least 3 weeks, wincingly so at times. My surgeon assures me not to worry. The latest x-rays show all is well, structurally, and while I’m not 100% convinced myself, he’s the man with all the framed wall certificates. Hopefully it’s simply because I’ve been a bit too adventurous of late. Time will tell.

The other major development is I’m now – more than 8 weeks since the crash in California – in possession of an official referral to start seeing my physio, which means the shoulder rehab can finally commence. First appointment is tonight. The only thing we’ve been warned against is doing any bicep/weight work for another 3-4 weeks. Apart from that, my surgeon wants us to go nuts and get my pathetically weak, muscularly wasted, seized up shoulder joint working again. In preparation I made a visit to the local pharmacy and stocked up on jumbo packs of ibuprofen.

Back home, I had my longest session on the trainer since the operation yesterday afternoon. Technically speaking it was 1 hour 5 minutes. But someone once told me you double the time and kms from your session on the trainer to estimate the equivalent workout on the road – so yep, I’ll take 2 hours 10 minutes, thanks. Regardless of duration, it never ceases to amaze how good my shoulder feels during and after a good old-fashioned sweat session. Thankfully my riding position is very comfortable for me right now, with the load spread evenly across my feet, backside and hands. I’d also add – not than any cyclist out there really needs to be told – endorphins really are Mother Nature’s greatest (and cheapest) painkillers. Zero side-effects too. If only more people in the world knew what we know.

Final thing I wanted to mention is something I’ve noticed pretty much since the day I arrived back home in Australia after the crash. It’s been really interesting to see who’s been reaching out to offer support and help – even if it’s just a quick phone call, email, Facebook post or perhaps a quick word of encouragement on Strava. My family have been top of the list, of course. But beyond that, several of those who’ve been most interested in my rehab, and most forthcoming with offers of assistance – including a few who went completely out of their way to take me for coffee when I was still unable to drive – aren’t necessarily the people I’d have expected to do so. It was a hugely pleasant surprise, quite touching, and very much appreciated. You know who you are. Thank you.

Days since op: 45
Days since crash: 62
Shirt removal pain-o-meter:   4/10
Riding: 3 moderate trainer efforts per week


3 thoughts on “The long road back: Part 10

  1. i can tell you from my experience having a plate removed from my shoulder after a mountain bike stack; the removal op ain’t nothing compared to the original placement op – do it as soon as they (and the finances) allow you to…

    Quick and easy recovery, and vastly better overall ‘feeling’ about the shoulder…

      1. Yup… can’t recall specifically now, but it was as little as a fortnight I believe… (and, I didn’t do any physio, because I’m not a serious athlete, so you’ll be going into it better prepared than me in any case…)

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