The life of a swinger

This is the end of week 3 on crutches, and I’m now fully settled in the rhythm of planting both crutches, swinging the weight of my entire body forward, and landing on one leg.  I’m not entirely sure why I’m writing this post except that I need to sort out the last few weeks in my head.

The first week

My first week I had three different pairs of crutches – first, the under the arm variety that put rug burns on my lats. It seems you should have a much better story to tell if you have rug burns on your lats. Many of you are probably asking yourself, “Bryan has lats?” The next day I borrowed a pair of “Canadian” crutches (the forearm kind) from a pharmacy. They were assembled from three different pairs of other crutches and one side was held together by a bolt with a nut attached. They were shaky and not great. A couple of days later the new pair I had ordered arrived, and that was the start of my crutch racing career.

Commuting on three legs

I live about 750m from the ferry terminal, and my first time on crutches took me over 20 minutes to get there, I took three breaks, and I was drenched in sweat. Now I’m flying there in 10-12 minutes, no breaks, and not nearly as exhausted. If only I could improve my cycling that quickly. Instead of walking from the ferry terminal I hop a train from circular key. In the end, I think I might be getting to work in the same time. Showering takes longer when I can only stand on one leg. The path home is harder because I climb 60 stairs from the beach to my building, but my triceps are getting huge…

No training, all work

The vast majority of the extra 20 hours a week that have come from not training have all gone directly into work. Just at the time of my injury, a number of things come up that have made for long days and working weekends. While I love work and love my job, I’m not sure how I would have survived this if I was still training for Melbourne, and that’s buried itself deep in my brain. I’m worried about the path to Ironman Busselton in December. I know that I have to drastically change my workout routine to be more efficient. I can’t spend two hours of traveling for a one hour swim session. I need to start waking up earlier and nailing my morning workouts. And I need to get aggressive about prioritization and delegation at work.

Fear, uncertainty, and doubt

Because of my original physio’s delay in ordering an MRI, I called my doctor at the end of the second week and asked why shouldn’t we get an MRI after I get off crutches, to make sure the femoral neck is healed.  He explained perfectly that “the clinical symptoms will lead the scans,” or that the MRI will look no different after four weeks, but the leg pain should be gone. While I believe him, and know he’s right, I’m not convinced that I’ll be pain-free at the end of next week. There’s never been that much pain, even before I found out what the injury was, and if anything I’m more uncomfortable now that I was four weeks ago. So a part of me is worried that my time on crutches will be extended.

Can I be happy without it? Someday.

It’s hard to see people on tri-bikes. It’s hard to watch people getting into the ocean as I’m crutching off to the ferry. But it’s hardest to watch runners, because it will be June 1st, a full 6 months after my injury, that I will get to run again. At some point in my life, I may have to stop doing triathlon. Friends of mine have had to stop, because of spines, knees, ankles, or achilles. It happens to a lot of people. I know there’s a good chance that someday in the next 10 years, it will be all over, because of the spondy in my lower back. But I’m not ready for that now – I may never be ready. I feel like I still have a lot to prove to myself.

Next up: pool walking

This week introduces the lamest of all rehab activities: walking in the pool. You weigh 10% of your normal weight in the water, so the force on your leg is a mere fraction of normal, so it’s the perfect way to introduce weight back to the leg. But wow is it lame. I’m not even sure what to wear. You aren’t moving fast enough to stay warm, so maybe I need a rashy on top? Regardless, I didn’t like pool running the one time I tried it, so pool walking will be more like torture. If I could take some tranquilizers before, that might help. A lot of tranquilizers would help more.

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