The past three weeks have been trying to say the least. This broken rib is without question THE MOST PAINFUL injury I’ve ever had! You never realize all the things it affects – every body movement seems to begin somewhere in the chest/abdomen. While the pneumothorax healed fairly quickly, it has taken much longer for the rib to improve significantly. For the first 7 days I couldn’t do anything but sit in my chair louped out on Vicodin. I couldn’t sleep in my bed either, as I could find no comfortable prone position. I went back to work Monday after the following weekend – I really wasn’t ready, but I just couldn’t let things pile up any more. It was around Thursday that 2nd week that I finally felt like I could start moving around halfway normally – and get back in my bed! It would be another week or so before the pain eased enough that it didn’t hurt to get in or out of a chair or walk around for any length of time. Of course, during this time I haven’t been able to do any type of exercise, and as a result I’ve gotten fat(ter) and cranky(er). My wife hates me. My kids hate me. I hate me.
Finally, this past weekend, I started feeling almost normal – “almost” being the key word. I still have some pain, and involuntary things like sneezing and coughing just about send me through the roof (I’ve been praying that I don’t get a cold!). Still, I figured getting back on the bike might be possible and could do me a lot of good – mentally if nothing else. So on Monday I took the bike in to work and, over lunchtime, got it out for a short ride (after I fixed the right shifter, still bent in from the crash). I rode very tentatively at first, just to test my body and see how it felt. Not unexpectedly I’d lost some leg strength and aerobic capacity, but it wasn’t as bad as I feared. It did hurt, however, to stand (for climbing or to start up from a stop) because of the pulling motion on the handlebars – I needed to just stay seated and take my starts slowly. I ended up going 22 miles – it took me over an hour and 20 minutes to do it, and I’d had enough! I got out again the next day and felt quite a bit better, but I still couldn’t stand and accelerate.
I suspect it will take me a few weeks to get back on top of my game, but for now I’m just happy to be riding again. I guess now is a good time to be finding form – normally my riding during this time of year is mostly unstructured anyway. I’ll get out again Thursday and Friday this week for some more short lunchtime rides, then on Sunday give the Bugman route a shot. Should be an interesting (and slow) ride with all the hills and having to stay seated, but who cares – I can ride again 😉