Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Bionic Bicyclist

"It's the Bionic Man!" seems to be the universal response to anyone's first sight of my new elbow brace. It's been decades since Steve Austin and the first use of slow motion to indicate movement faster than the eye can see, and people still remember. Presumably Steve still runs somewhere in the recycled wasteland of cable TV. On the few occasions when I watch TV, I simply get clear why I don't watch it. The elbow brace protects the repaired area and keeps my arm movement within safe limits--currently 20 to 75 degrees--while it heals. It is a lot better than the cast that I was told I might need. I have more use of my arm and I can remove the brace for showering. The worst part is putting it on myself one-handed, though this is improving with practice. My doctor has a great technique for preparing me for what may happen. He tells me the worst and lets me get used to it. What's actually happened has usually been better than what he prepared me for. I asked him what arm movements to avoid (other than what the brace won't let me do) and he said, "don't push." Sometimes I forget. The other day I tripped on something in my living room and put my right arm out to grab the couch and stop falling. That gave me some scary moments worrying I might have damaged the repair. My arm has been painful off and on. I am dealing with it with acetaminophen and grit. I'm back to work. My left arm has become strong and skillful. Cycling content (this is a cycling blog after all): I went to the trike dealer after I got the elbow brace. They can get a Trice trike for me in a week and a half, add three weeks for a custom color (I have been considering orange to match the Great Pumpkin). I'm thinking to time my order to take delivery at the time I could start riding it. I still have concerns about the cost. I'd like another home sale in the pipeline or to have sold off some surplus bikes before I commit the money to a trike. And I need to reconfirm that I'd be able to ride one sooner than I could ride a bike. While riding an upright bike requires more arm strength than a recumbent, because the arms are used to brace the rider on an upright, the underseat steering of a trike is still done with a push-pull arm motion. It's possible to push only with the left arm, but I'd have to remember never to push with the right until it is healed enough to use. Well, it's early yet. I've only had the brace for 6 days. It's another 17 to my next appointment. Time and patience are required to recover from this. Long-term recovery is the objective, more important than a few missed months of riding. That's what I tell myself every time a bike goes by.

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