One year on

Exactly one year ago today I badly broke my elbow falling off my Mountain Bike. I blogged about it when it happened (well, after I got out of hospital).
It’s not healed fully yet, and I thought I’d share about this experience.
The first is that I’m really, really lucky. If I’d fallen slightly differently I could have broken my back, my neck or my skull. At the moment I’ve got a slightly painful right arm, that I can’t straighten all the way that doesn’t have full strength. My work is not affected, but my FPS skills have dropped somewhat because I don’t have as good motor control because of the damage I did to the nerves. So, I suck more.
I’m somewhat driven in all aspects of my life, and I saw my injury as an opportunity to show how quickly I could get over something like this. (We all need little challenges). I wasn’t prepared for the swings and roundabouts of injury management, and I learnt the hard way.
The first 2 months was pretty hard. I had metal framwork sticking out of my arm and I relied on others to help me get dressed, shower and just do normal life things. I got pretty good at putting on a T-shirt and wrapping my arm in plastic each morning for a shower. A challenge. Best thing was that I could actually work, and I could type with little trouble. Thanks to ThoughtWorks for letting me do cool stuff around the office while I got better, and it was quite an entertaining ice breaker with those customers that I met.
I didn’t get any real pain at this time, and I was just working on flexibility. After a surgery like this, lots of scar tissue and rebuilding means that I could only move my arm about 15-20 degrees. (You can’t brush your teeth with that hand, or touch your nose)
After the framework was removed, I was working on flexibility and strength. I went swimming. For the next couple of months I was convinced that I was going to be 100% after 6 months. It was great. I was getting stronger, in no pain, and flexibility was getting really good. Then, much badness happened. Not sure exactly, but the only explanation is around my nerves starting to re-attach and rewire. I had damaged the ulnal-nerve in my accident and clearly my understanding of what this meant wasn’t apparent until now.
Sadly, this meant that all my good progress so far was suspended. I couldn’t use my arm, and I was in constant pain. I was getting really, really depressed about it and started to wonder if I was going to have to put up with this for the rest of my life. I was constantly grumpy, and some of my near and dear friends must think I’m an absolute prick. Sorry Peter and Sonja. Love you guys so much. I hope you forgive me.
Then, just as quickly as it came on, it started to go away. Just after Christmas, in early January, my arm started to feel better again. I’m on a modified swimming regime (since the start of Feb) which includes using training fins and kickboard as well as breaststroke and freestyle. So far it’s working well. I did 2k on the weekend, and as of today (which is normally the worst) it’s feeling good. So, here’s hoping that everything is heading in the right direction. 2 years seems like a reasonable outcome. It seems like a long time
A word of warning to other stubborn old bastards. Be careful. As you get older, you don’t realise how much the body can’t take how hard your brain will push it. I’m still a big kid at heart and since I’ve been back swimming, I’ve managed to injure my back and shoulder because I don’t take it easy enough and these parts are compensating for the injury.
Overall, I think I’m pretty damn lucky. My wife has been amazing during this time. She’s looked after me, and never complained once. (Except when I play WoW for too long, but tough, it’s fun) My friends, I love you all so much. You’ve never complained when I’ve asked for rides (because I wasn’t allowed to drive) and taking equipment to and from LAN parties you’ve carted stuff and made it seem like you enjoyed yourselves. You’ve also looked the other way or cheered me up when I’ve been especially grumpy and unreasonable. I can’t explain how important you all are to me.
And the cats. Boo! and Maddy. You rock. Every sick person should have a cat.

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3 thoughts on “One year on

  1. Injuries suck. I copped arthritis, and thought I’d never race again. Two years on and I’m training like I’ve never trained before. Sometimes it takes crap like that to make you realise what you really like to do and who you really are.
    And when you hear stories like this, and then see idiots riding bikes without helmets, I just want to scream at them!!!
    Keep training, keep fit.
    Cheers
    PK

  2. Software Development with a Broken Arm

    So that’s why I haven’t posted in a month. I wasn’t going to blog this till I read Jon Eaves blog a similar injury. After reading Jon’s post and picture, I consider myself lucky since mine isn’t nearly as bad.

  3. I was just researching shoulder injuries caused by swimming and stumbled onto your site. I’ve been plodding along trying to sort out my injury for 7 months. There have many times I’ve just wanted to give up. It sounds like you’ve had a much tougher trip to deal with than I have and your blog has helped me put things in perspective. I hope this new perspective lasts for a little while yet 🙂

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