Ergh! First off… the goal of a blog post every two weeks has unfortunately not been hit! If it makes a difference, I’ve at least THOUGHT about a post every two weeks or so.
But after sitting in taxi’s numerous times to and from work, it’s probably time to give an update on how my recovery is progressing. If you want to save time and just get the gist- I’m Ok! But if you’d like to know how the recovery has gone, read on.
Thursday December 1 2016 marked weeks since the accident, and while to me it has felt like time has stood still, and recovery progress has been slow the reality is, it has been anything but.
For the first 4 weeks I made a specific effort to do a little as possible, giving my fractures (detailed here) a running start into the repair process. For the first 2 weeks this was an easy task, however as swelling and bruising calmed down, my mobility increased. As someone who needs to get shi*t done and was normally very active, 2 weeks of nothingness was more than enough, and suddenly trying to hold myself back from doing too much became quite a struggle. After all, there is only so much YouTube you can watch, believe me – I have watched most of it, if there is a Strava KOM for most minutes watched, I’m claiming it!
5 weeks in and I set off to my first physio appointment. While it was too early to do too much on the broken bits in my back and neck, we were able to focus on my right knee, which had taken a very hard hit in the crash (but as it wasn’t broken- it never registered anywhere on the hospitals priorities). We also gently started trying to get my lungs working as well – apparently 5 weeks on the couch is far from ideal for the cardiovascular system.
Progress at the physio, even in the first week, was much more rapid and satisfying than I could have hoped for. Pain and swelling in my knee reacted well to the treatment, and this led to getting me more active- although still unable to enjoy the Melbourne spring weather. Not due to any physical limitation with my injuries, but more because it never seemed to appear.. come on Melbourne where is the sun!
At the 6 week mark, I was off to the Alfred Centre again to visit the fracture clinic for a bunch of x-rays, and an update on how my fractures were healing. The expectation was that they would be mostly healed over with softer bone structure by this time, which would allow more focus on back and neck mobility from the physiotherapist. The x-rays came back all clear, or at least as far as we could tell – the information given at the outpatient clinic was at best minimal, and really that’s being generous.
After 6 weeks essentially on living on the couch, I was able to try riding again (!!). The guide lines were simple: as long as it was within my pain tolerance, it would be good to help improve my knee and lungs further. So on the 24th of October I tentatively set out on my mountain bike along the bike paths of Beach Road for a coffee ride to Cafe Racer in St Kilda. It was great to be out on a bike again, albeit horrendously unfit. Aside from my ridiculously high heart rate, I noticed my neck and shoulder would get sore/tired after an hour of riding, a result of being solely supported by the couch and cushions for 6 weeks.
Within this same time frame I was also able to return to work, where I noticed the same discomfort following an hour of desk based activities. Even though I was only back in a part time capacity, it was great to escape the house and catch up with colleagues who I’d not seen since the accident.
From the 8 week post-accident period to now, I have felt that progress on my recovery has plateaued. I’ve found it has peaked and troughed in general since the accident. However when I stop and think in specific blocks of time, I can see and feel improvements in both the range of motion of my back and neck, as well as note that the discomfort of sitting at a desk or riding a bike has almost all but gone.
At the 12 week mark, I would say I feel about 90% ok. I have some residual pain and discomfort in my ribs and back while sleeping, which is the major notable symptom remaining. As they say “the last 5% takes 95% of the time”, but at the moment that last chunk of improvement is not stopping me from doing what I love to do. Ride my bikes!
The disappointment of losing fitness as a result of the incident is something I’m still battling, and staying positive and focused is sometimes a struggle (particularly when riding with mates who are all FLYING!). But all I need to do is get back on my bike – and when I do, getting back to where I was suddenly feels like its only a matter of time. When you keep one eye on the big picture (hey I can still ride a bike!), the little picture becomes much easier. Already after 5 weeks of riding, and 4 really training, I can already see improvement in my fitness and condition.
Thanks to everyone who has visited, called, texted, facebook, instagrammed etc. Your support has been amazing. Most of all thank you to my better half Joh. There’s no way to phrase how much your support has helped me and continues to help me.
Until next time… stay safe, and see you out there! #robbieridesbikes