Saturday, April 26, 2008

Fourth Month Post Hip Surgery

Saturday (April 12) was my fourth monthly anniversary from major hip surgery. On Dec. 12. I broke my femur and a hip bone while riding in N. Ga. mountains. I was riding a recumbent highracer and fell while climbing a steep grade. I shifted into the wrong gear, got my cycling shoe stuck in the clipless pedal and toppled over. I was taken to a local emergency room. My right leg and hip was repaired with titanium hardware on the same day.

I "celebrated" the 4th anniversary post surgery with a 40 mile slowish ride here in Longboat Key, Florida flatlands. My right leg/hip feels pretty good at this point while riding. There is still a little stiffness in my hip joint. I have a slight limp and some pain when walking.

I have decided to stick with my recumbent trike (pictured above) while building back my strength. At some point I'll buy another 2 wheeler. Haven't decided which one yet. I really like riding the trike and that will be my main machine even after acquiring another two wheeler.

My recovery has generally gone as follows:

Transitioned from walker to crutches at 2 1/2 weeks in early January.
Started riding stationary recumbent at three weeks post surgery.
Crutches to cane at week 7.
Walking mostly without cane at week 10
First outdoor ride-10 miles-at 9 weeks.
2-3 outdoor rides per week, weeks 9-12
By month 4 I feel ready to start real training again. I'm riding 15-35 miles most every day.
I had home physical therapy weeks 1-6. I had outpatient PT weeks 7-13.
I spent lots of time walking and exercising in a swimming pool.

My low fat vegan diet has kept my weight stable at 173 pounds during the recovery. My hip has appreciated the fact that I didn't add weight during the recovery period.

By month 6 -June 12- I am hoping to have no limp and be at least 75% to my previous conditioning. That may be ambitious. My doctor said 6-12 months to full recovery. At age 66, guess I should be at the slower recovery end of the spectrum.

This recovery process requires patience. Nothing seems to go as fast as I would like. In some ways the recovery has been harder mentally than physically. The negative psychological impact of going from 200 plus miles per week to almost complete immobility was significant.. My brain chemistry had a hard time adjusting from high to low activity.

Would love to hear other tales of recovery from surgery.

I feel fortunate to be riding again! Hooray!

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