The Long Road Back Part Two
The head game of injury is sometimes greater than the injury itself, although my physical injury was . . . well, extreme. Two weeks had passed since the crash. Everyone who had come to give help to me and my wife had gone back to their prospective jobs, including my wife. I sat in the living room, neck and back brace incased, staring at the television. A sneeze crept up on me, and I almost blacked out from the pain of my broken ribs. I guess they just want to remind me that it is not all about the neck and back. Okay, ribs, I feel ya.
Every aspect of my life had changed in an instant, yet I should be grateful that I was not a paraplegic. Grateful. There is a word I was battling mentally. Yes, I had already prayed and given God thanks for His protection from something that could have easily been death. However, in full transparency, I was still angry. God knows it as well, although I think He understands. How am I going to sit like this for six weeks and do absolutely nothing? All of my training and preparation for a new cycling season leaking away. Season? Exactly how long would I be off the bike or able to do anything physical? Oh, and then there is Covid. I cannot even get a set appointment with my orthopedic to give myself a calendar day to circle. I guess I could read. Oh wait, I have to hold or place the book at eye level because I cannot look down. I walk out onto the deck for fresh air. No sooner had I sat down, took a semi-deep breath (not to disrespect my ribs) and look out over the lake, a group of riders drift by on the road between me and the lake. Their rear hubs spinning loudly, like a swarm of bees. Okay, that is just cruel.
I want to consider myself an athlete. Yes, even at 51 years old, I like to push myself and feel that exhilaration of accomplishment with my body. I ride between 150 to 200 miles a week and do other forms of activity as a form of cross training. Now, I sit. I am burning 11 calories a day (not really, but it feels like it). I have to eat and fuel my body to heal properly, but that means weight gain that I have worked so hard to shave for the coming season. Then the questions start popping . . .
- What if further tests reveal that I should not ride anymore?
- If the first question holds true, how should I sell my bikes and all of my equipment?
- How do I make this up to my wife for frightening her so badly?
- Do I need to start looking into a “safer” form of exercise? Golf?
- If I am ever allowed back on a bicycle, will I be able to not let this freak me out?
- What if I go down again one day? Do I risk being paralyzed?
- Could or should I find areas to train with less traffic?
And on and on . . . So I sit. The pain medication puts me to sleep quite often. I do not even remember going to sleep, but I wake and see that a different show is on the television and two hours have vanished. Which brings me to another thing: feeling grimy. Taking baths, instead of showers, with waterproof braces on is not ideal, but I sleep better at night. And for some odd reason, I have zero trouble sleeping at night. Normally, I am a belly sleeper, but my wife helps me in bed and I curl up on my right side and I am out until morning. I pray as I am falling asleep, asking God for mental strength, physical healing and to protect my wife from feeling too stressed.
Oh, the days and weeks and months that are still ahead.