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Riding while recovering from collapsed lung

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Riding while recovering from collapsed lung

Old 06-09-19, 12:14 PM
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banerjek
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Riding while recovering from collapsed lung

Instructions after spending a few days in hospital for a punctured lung put me on severe activity restrictions for 4-6 weeks. Like they want walking to be my exercise and not to lift anything over 10 lbs.

The docs don't want to say anything that could get them in trouble, so I don't understand the concerns driving the restrictions. At the same time they're telling me exercise is important, I'm not supposed to do anything I consider exercise. Is the concern that they're worried my lung will collapse again if I breathe too heavily?

Between residual effects from chest tube and broken ribs, doing super tame things still hurts like heck. But I'm improving rapidly, and complying requires a total lifestyle change.

I have a followup appt in a couple days. What can I ask that will help me figure things out? At this point, my inclination is to play what I do by feel unless I'm convinced that's stupid/dangerous.
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Old 06-09-19, 12:24 PM
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What can you ask.....? Ask away at the Dr's office, after all, you're paying him good money. We're not (for the most part any way )doctors and your doc probably isn't a bike mechanic--get the corolation here?
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Old 06-09-19, 01:39 PM
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I would think that your ribs would give compelling feedback on the limits of exercise.

Heal up quick!
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Old 06-09-19, 02:17 PM
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I had a tension pneumothorax after a crash several years ago. They sent me home with a chest tube and a Heimlich valve for about a week, during which I didn't ride, but it wasn't long after it came out that I started short, easy rides. My doctors just told me to "take it easy." It was probably 6-8 weeks before I felt fully recovered.
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Old 06-09-19, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by woodcraft View Post
I would think that your ribs would give compelling feedback on the limits of exercise.

Heal up quick!
They are in the moment. Our resident "therapy cats" have not figured out it's unhelpful if they climb on me and make muffins on aforementioned ribs. And if I startle them by yelling in pain, that causes them to launch right off me. Holy smokes, that hurts....

Having said that, I'm willing to tolerate quite a bit of discomfort and am trying to understand if this is just a discomfort thing, or there's a possibility of doing real damage.

Originally Posted by Jon T View Post
What can you ask.....? Ask away at the Dr's office, after all, you're paying him good money. We're not (for the most part any way )doctors and your doc probably isn't a bike mechanic--get the corolation here?
I'm served by an HMO. It works great for preventative stuff, but not so great for individualized plans for people who are willing to trade discomfort, significantly longer healing times, and greater risk for not giving up something they value more.

I make it clear what I'm about, but I still get the same marching orders as an inactive hypochondriac in a different stage in life with totally different priorities. There will be people here who've given the exact issue I'm grappling with a lot of thought, some of whom know what they're talking about. While that doesn't make internet diagnosis any more possible, it could help me figure out how to think about this.

Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
I had a tension pneumothorax after a crash several years ago. They sent me home with a chest tube and a Heimlich valve for about a week, during which I didn't ride, but it wasn't long after it came out that I started short, easy rides. My doctors just told me to "take it easy." It was probably 6-8 weeks before I felt fully recovered.
Good to know. This makes it sound like my plan isn't totally impossible.
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Old 06-09-19, 03:38 PM
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The impact of hitting bumps while riding can pull the lung off of the chest wall and you'll be back in the soup. Using your arms to support your weight on the handlebars can do the same.

Me? I'd practice laying about.
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Old 06-09-19, 05:28 PM
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Cycling is not the most important thing in anyone's world. Staying alive and being able to plan to do stuff in the future is. Yes, you will lose some fitness as you recover and love to have it back again, and there will be a certain element of experiment with bike comfort and distance and time as you return.

I hope the recovery works well with some patience from you (and the cats) thrown in.
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Old 06-09-19, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
Cycling is not the most important thing in anyone's world. Staying alive and being able to plan to do stuff in the future is. Yes, you will lose some fitness as you recover and love to have it back again, and there will be a certain element of experiment with bike comfort and distance and time as you return.

I hope the recovery works well with some patience from you (and the cats) thrown in.
Hopefully the dog will train the kitties. She's normally so crazy I thought about having her boarded -- no way I can handle her full throttle right now. But she's been super gentle and mellow ever since I got back from hospital.

In all honesty, it wouldn't be so bad if it were just the cycling even though that's practically my only form of transport except when I leave town. I don't even mind the fitness so much. Rather, it's the total change in lifestyle. I'm a very physical person and have always relied heavily on my body. Others count on me too -- I'm going to be absolutely useless for a major construction project in a couple weeks. If I have to take it easy, I need to come to terms with that. But I definitely don't want to observe restrictions that aren't absolutely necessary.
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Old 06-10-19, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by pdoege View Post
The impact of hitting bumps while riding can pull the lung off of the chest wall and you'll be back in the soup. Using your arms to support your weight on the handlebars can do the same.

Me? I'd practice laying about.
Talked to the docs again today while getting some stitches pulled and this is basically what they said. They also said that guys like me get into more trouble than couch potatoes with this sort of thing.

Good to know. Gotta be lazy and lay low a few weeks, doctor's orders
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Old 06-10-19, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by banerjek View Post
Instructions after spending a few days in hospital for a punctured lung put me on severe activity restrictions for 4-6 weeks. Like they want walking to be my exercise and not to lift anything over 10 lbs.

The docs don't want to say anything that could get them in trouble, so I don't understand the concerns driving the restrictions. At the same time they're telling me exercise is important, I'm not supposed to do anything I consider exercise. Is the concern that they're worried my lung will collapse again if I breathe too heavily?

Between residual effects from chest tube and broken ribs, doing super tame things still hurts like heck. But I'm improving rapidly, and complying requires a total lifestyle change.

I have a followup appt in a couple days. What can I ask that will help me figure things out? At this point, my inclination is to play what I do by feel unless I'm convinced that's stupid/dangerous.
I'm three weeks in after a (groin hernia) operation and I have the same restrictions. Mine are 6 weeks or else. My surgeon is also a cyclist. I could drive after the first week. I was also told I could walk all I wanted. They said it promotes faster healing. I'm going to try a spin bike at the end of the sixth week with no resistance to see how it feels. My surgeon said it's going to hurt. Then on a quiet stretch of road I know with my wife. She can chase back for the car if need be. I normally ride 30+ miles per day.
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Old 06-11-19, 05:09 AM
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I've spent the last year recovering from a rather messy bike crash in which fractured ribs, and pneumothorax were just some of my major injuries. My Dr's recommendation was to rest, let it heal and then do these breathing exercises with a Spirometer. Start light, build up. I wasn't cleared to ride a bike for a good 6 months, but that wasn't solely due to the lungs.. Either way, the main concern was the vibration, etc from the bike, the exhaustive use of the lungs, etc, before they were healed and ready. If it were me.. I'd ask my Dr these questions and I think you should. Self diagnosing and going to internet forums for medical advice can land you in a situation you could avoid with a phone call. But, I'd probably grab a spirometer online or at the local CVS, etc. And build up your lungs that way, at least for a few weeks. Until it feels ok to breathe. (doesn't hurt or cause discomfort).
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Old 06-11-19, 08:28 AM
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Maybe time to break out the trainer for a few weeks to keep your hand in while you heal. You get to set your own exertion level, and no risk of bumps of mishaps. After two separate rounds of arm surgery, the surgeon nixed cycling because of the risk of crashing/falling. So I put the bike on the trainer, added a cheap set of aero bars so I could rest on my elbows, and stuck my smartphone on the bars, so I was watching movies a foot from my face. Did this for ~6 wk until I got the all clear
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