Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Waiting Game

I haven't blogged in almost 4 weeks.  My apologies for those of you who enjoy the posts and thank you for the kind and generous comments.  It's been a bit of a struggle...this waiting game.

I went to my Ortho after 6 weeks fully expecting to get the green light for rehab and weighting the leg.  After all, I do everything on or ahead of schedule, so I was not prepared for his news.  When he said, "Mr. Nelson, please come take a look at your x-ray", I could tell from his voice that the news was not good.  When I looked at the x-ray, I nearly passed out.  My head started spinning when I saw the uneven break with the rod going through it.  "How the heck is that going to heal?", I thought.  "Now I know why I have a bump on my thigh,  and look at the size of the screws!  No wonder I can't sleep on my left side!  I am put together like Frankenstein!"  The doctor kept talking and showing me how the bone had to grow back together, but it was information and sensory overload.  I did not understand how this could be possible.  I thought the two pieces of bone would fit together like 2 puzzle pieces and the parting line would eventually go away.  The fall would just be an interesting story to tell at my next race or trip to the crag.  Reality started to set in as he told me, "4 more weeks with no weight".  He may as well have punched me in the gut.  I was definitely in more shock than when the accident occurred.

I begged him to let me spin on a bike.  He said, "Maybe you could try swimming, but be really careful getting in and out of the pool."  Great!  I'm not a great swimmer with two good legs.  The thought of trying it with a broken leg terrifies me even now.  I have yet to try it.  I'm afraid of slipping at poolside and taking a bad fall.

I left that office in a blur.  I am Ultra Steve...King of the World and Master of the Universe!  How could this happen?  Didn't my bones get the memo?  We believe in miracles...we bounce back from anything...we leap tall buildings in a single bound....and we survive 10 story falls without any permanent damage.  I talked to my leg, "Get with the program, dammit!  This was not part of the plan."  The Doctor was supposed to say, "Wow, I've never seen anyone heal this fast.  You can hardly tell there was a break"."

"OK, Chief, let's re-group!", I said as I sat in the Milkwagon (my newish Honda Element).   "You can do this...4 weeks is nothing in the grand scheme of things.  Now that you know what it looks like, you can visualize the bone filling in like a bead of weld."  Yeah, that's the ticket!  ... I drove off in a daze.

It's been a tough 9 weeks (3 weeks since the dreaded news).  December 2 was the two month anniversary of my fall.  I'm back to work full-time.  I'm sleeping better and my mobility and strength have improved.  My foot still swells up everyday and it gets ice cold from the lack of circulation.  I've gained weight and I eat like a horse.  My home is nearly back to normal.  I cut off my cable TV for fear I might get addicted to crap.  I miss the sports, but am more productive without it.  I'm grateful for all the help from family and friends.  It truly is humbling.

In 6 days I will go back to the Dr. for another set of x-rays.  I'm praying for the green light to start full rehab and put some weight on the leg.  I'm terrified of the idea of using crutches in the snow.  I've tried to fill my free time productively, but I want my life back.

I appreciate any thoughts, prayers, or energy you can send in my direction.  I'm doing OK, and I know it will come in time, but every little bit helps.

I will run and climb's just a matter of when...

All the best to all of you!  Be safe while you prepare for the holidays!  Steve

P.S. - Here's a shout out to my buddy, EuroMan.  He leaves for Haiti today.  He will be jumping (parachuting) into a remote village with medical supplies and assistance.  It is a dangerous jump with a very small landing zone.  He will be there for 2 weeks providing assistance and trying to build an airstrip for a plane to land.  This is his second trip to Haiti since the disaster.  It will be his most challenging mission, and we will not have contact with him until his mission is complete.  Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.  He is a true superhero!


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