Mind over Matter

The Long Road Back Part Two

body of water under gray sky

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.


13 thoughts on “Mind over Matter

  1. It was hard to click on the like tab for that. Being quite active myself doing 100-150miles on the bike a week, I would go crazy in your situation. I had a broken rib and the worst was sneezing as I never seemed to feel it creep up on me. Kia kaha

  2. Only just arrived to your blog. As someone whose wife has lower back issues (L4/L5/S1), I can get a tiny taste of where you’re at. And as a fireman, I’ve seen your kind of injury up close and personal. I winced when I read the previous post. Amazing to have moved at all after the accident.
    Best wishes on the road to recovery. Every cyclist has fingers crossed for you to return to the saddle (and to stay away from the golf course!)

  3. It’s amazing what all the mind will conjur up. If you can get to the computer, you can learn a new language on “duolingo” ? Just a thought. That’s what I’m doing. I irritated my C-6, C-7 during Covid, so my activity level too has diminished, but I don’t want my brain to atrophy either. Your pain is, I’m sure, quite intense. Take care.

      1. I’m learning Korean because of all the Korean film I’ve been watching. I got tired of and probably watched everything available in English that I was even interested in, lol.

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