Getting Better…4 weeks Post-Op

Day 14, Sept 25, 2013

You don’t know how liberating it feels to have surgical staples removed. Although I knew from my son Jason’s experience when he had an appendectomy in 2010, I still felt a tugging in heart each time Dr Torres pulled at the staples. Eleven, all of them, and jokingly he asked me if I wanted to keep them as memorabilia to which I graciously declined. For the first time I had the wound dressing-free, for longer than a couple of minutes. I immediately felt some relief. Still I requested for a fresh dressing to be placed, not certain if my supposedly dry wound will stand up to my next day’s shower. Basically, I felt uneasy to get the wound wet, knowing it will heal even faster if I keep it dry.

Stopped using the clavicle brace altogether since my ortho found no value in keeping my body alignment in place while recovering.  Instead, I avoided using the sofa and stuck to the rigid dining chair to watch TV or do some chores.

Tried to get back into the groove of prepping my stuff for next day’s workout. Its been getting harder to choose shirts since I need ample elbow room to support my arms as much as use something that discretely covers my nipples. Yes, I haven’t used a brassierie since the accident. And yes, ive even tried going panty-less…anything that can count to limit moving my arms, especially moving them upward or towards the back of my body.  Never before have I experienced this immobility. So that’s what they call Range of Motion.  I used to take it for granted from a perfectly-moving human being’s point of view.  But then again, from an athlete’s perspective, the idea of ROM is pretty much hinged on stretching and having flexibility to perform and be safe with sports.

It goes back to my state of conditioning prior to the accident.

A month before the accident, I embarked on a whole new attitude about my training, and took weight-lifting seriously.  Even if they were just free weights, I worked on circuits  after my run/ride and after 3 weeks, the definition in my upper arms showed strength formation.  But I didn’t stop there. Between circuits, I did either ab crunches or leg raises and completed 100sets any given day.

In other words, I was in excellent health, almost athlete-level, not even taking any medicine except vitamins.  If any, I was kinda proud  that I was so unlike my peers, who were overweight and weak.  But like I said, it’s been like a lifelong passion since 2009, and my philosophy has been “train all year round”.

Little did I know this health and condition would be pivotal in my recovery from the bike crash.

Dr Torres made no bones about castigating me for not using my sling (I opted for a clavicle brace) but he gave me thumbs up for a DRY, healing suture.  Though it still looked nasty, I was given the go-signal to no longer use any dressing.  He said that people my age usually takes 3-4 weeks  at the initial stage of recovery — my 15days of healing can best be attributed to my excellent condition prior to the accident and surgery.

 Day 15, Sept 26, 2013

Despite being free from the “bondage” of a dressing, I feel my big stitch but without pain.  I’m even more worried about not progressing faster on ROM and finding a better sleep position.

For the past 4 days, my Treadmill Walking replaced my usual morning routine.  I started to wear run shoes again, when my rubber slippers gave me some blisters.  I tried to focus on a goal of 500 calories, and that would require an incline at an average of 12% and an average HR of 126bpm.  Today, I crossed my limit and did 560calories for one hour. Really proves that my legs are particularly strong, my heart bullish enough to take on a load of sustained effort at 75% of MaxHR.  More importantly, as it is when I run, my spirit SOARS. Despite the difficulty and the music as distraction, I’m totally out of myself when I am enjoying my workout.

I know if I do this progressive training right, I will come back as a stronger runner, since I am conditioning my body towards fast tempo in combination with hills workout. I force myself to  just maintain this workout mode till Sunday and make adjustments starting Monday, if needed.

I know people will think I’m crazy, living as though I am a real athlete. In my mind and heart, I am. And I regret that I didn’t have an athlete’s lifestyle early on, as it

 Day 16, Sept 27, 2013

Still waking up every 2-2.5 hrs the night through. Pretty much due to neckstrain plus the feeling of gravity in the surgical wound.

Today I did a self-assessment of my  physical condition.   Overall, I’m utilizing only 50% of my capabilities for movement and stretch. Since I don’t use my left arm as often as the right, the right side of me can do a lot more stuff, sans pain at all.  My legs are okay but not yet as strong as before, feeling tightness in the right quads and hams, presumably where I fell and got some bruising.

Due to the fractured clavicle, my upper body is still stiff and inflexible.  Here is a list of things I still cannot do, partially or entirely:

–          Body scrubbing, esp at my back

–          Changing shirts, where raising arms is needed

–          Reach for anything beyond 120 degrees of arms-reach, so that means cupboards, cabinets, shelves, ref top etc

–          Lift anything above 2pounds for more than a few seconds –

And here’s what Ive managed to do to keep busy:

–          Cook/fry breakfast for kids, with plenty of caution..

–          Take showers, but always shoutout to either kids for back-scrub

–          Sweep floors twice a day, light dusting included

 Day 17 Sept 28, 2013 Baby’s Day Out

TMW for 1 hour at 6:30 results: 575cals, ave 12%incline, ave HR 137bpm. Managed to put on (and take off) my own clothes ALONE, for the workout.

Took a major step to recovery by driving to and from araneta center, for groceries, a movie and time-off for Jason at cyberzone.  Also started to wear my contact lens again. Some adjustment to my view of the world but it felt good to be outside my tower.  Was just two weeks ago but I certainly miss my community.  Having an injury always bring out the humble side of you.  I walked ever so slowly as I could not to even trip and fall.  I actually miss my hustling and bustling world that I sang  Dito Ba in my mind, as though so much has changed and then realized it was only me.

I was expecting to get as much “straight sleep” as I did the night before, since I must have exhausted myself out today and felt lead-eyes at 9PM. Unfortunately the comibination of gravity-pull on my suture and muscle-nerve strain on my right neck/shoulder area — had me waking up every 2 hours — just to re-position and  try to get back to sleep.

 Day 18 Sept 29, 2013

As usual, for the past 2 weeks, I woke up at 6AM (always ahead by 15-30mins from alarm clock, so why do I still activate the clock?) and went about getting ready for my daily TM walking.

While I don’t think I am losing weight which is NOT my objective anyway, I feel really great and gratified after each hourly TMW I’ve made since a week ago.  I’ve been chastised to doing too much- too soon, especially by non-runner friends.  There is no way one can ever

I’m back re-researching on sleep positions on a fractured clavicle. I devour everything there is to try because I truly believe I will heal faster with undisturbed sleep.  Would you believe that since I got injured, I stopped taking caffeine — primarily to help me knock off better at night.  And I also stopped taking afternoon naps which I’m not very fond of, anyway.  These had minimally helped me get the sleep I need at night…and I’m getting desperate!  What bothers me most is the “wake-up” hanging pain in my right biceps…and I’m guessing I don’t have any broken bones but I got some muscles, tendons and nerves pretty messed up there.  I have no issue whatsoever with this arm UNLESS I sleep…and then it reminds itself with this pain that wakes you up.

To block boredom and focus on recovery actively, I had this one chance to ‘train for a marathon” by the book.  I had time, wisdom and experience all working for me now, and I knew EXACTLY what I had to do, at the correct timing and effort, to get back “home”.

 Day 19, Sept 30, 2013

Started on Hirudoid last night, after reading practically all the forums on “rotator cuff injuries” and “bruising”.  Still have doubts about the condition of my right shoulder and arm and worried that if I don’t act soon, I will have more issues on ROM…but  I also know my ROM, on both arms, are improving slowly but significantly. Problem with me is that I can only be patient if I could put a formula or a timeline on this. Even if OCD is supposed to be a clinical diagnosis, I must be OC, since I am such a sucker for things being in its proper place and time — even if they are in an abnormal state like an injury would be.  Anyway, the hirudoid is supposed to hasten recovery from bruising by increasing blood flow.  I immediately noticed an improvement in my right arm bruise (it was the nastiest of them all!) after 2 applications.

I am extra happy today because 1. First time I slept for 4hrs straight (so that means I woke up only once on 1 7hr-sleep!) and 2.  I burned 700 calories on TMW inclined at ave 12%, but MORE excitedly, ave HR went up to 147 and also hitting a high of 167….almost like I ran a 10Km. Tried spinning for a few minutes but still finding the courage to stretch myself  out in the handlebars.

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