On Tuesday I went to the surgery center and got screwed big time. A collegiate athletic injury suffered a very long time ago surfaced about 12 years ago which led me to cycling as my main form of exercise. At the time the doctor said an option was to fuse my badly arthritic left ankle to relieve pain. I thought I was too young at the time and also hoped medical advances would catch up and provide some additional options.
Twelve years later...
Riding has gone well but the ankle had continued to go South. Just walking from a car and into a store had become a painful chore. When I realized I was making daily decisions based of pain avoidance I knew it was time to visit a doctor again. About 1 month ago I had my meeting with the doctor and the recommendation was once again ankle fusion surgery. For the last month I needed to accomplish a lot of holiday decorating, putting away all the seasonal furniture and tools, complete the “honey do list” in advance of the tasks being posted, complete some remodeling in the basement, and plan for my absence at work. I also did as much riding as possible including riding with my buddies and doing two more cyclo cross races.
The surgeon anticipated cleaning up the outside of the ankle bones with some sort of grinder then inserting three large screws down into each of the tarsal bones. Due to the extent of joint damage and lack of any cartilage the grinding was extensive, and besides the big screws, a plate with 5 additional screws was added. The surgery was scheduled as "outpatient" and as planned my wife took me home at the end of the day.
The first evening home I was in some big time pain even though the nerve block in my leg was still effective even though the block didn't stop all feeling during the operation resulting in me being put out. Day two was a different story. When the nerve block began to wear off the pain level went through the roof. I will say that was 12 hours of my life that I would not wish to live again. Two days later and I am much more comfortable and the healing process has begun. I have also developed a fairly efficient method of bathing while standing in front of a bathroom sink.
So, I'm shut down from any training or riding for awhile. I have a doctor visit next week where I'll get the recovery/rehab process explained. I'm hoping that a PT will understand my need to ride and prescribe trainer work when any “load bearing” is allowed. I have already set up a bike on a trainer with a platform pedal for the left foot for the early rehab work. One of my fears is weight gain during the holiday season and lack of exercise. The down time will be a good opportunity to do core work as there will be no excuses because I’m too busy. I’m hoping for a complete recovery by mid-February but that may be a stretch.
I can’t wait to get off the meds so I can have a beer or two. Hopefully I won’t become a BF pest during the idle time.