Sunday, March 3, 2013

Recovery Road

It's been about five weeks since I broke my clavicle and four weeks since it was surgically repaired. I'm feeling a little better and stronger each day and I'd like to think the worst is behind me. Though that's partially true (in that the pain of the break itself and the post-op period was intense) I know I've got a long way to go before I'm back to full strength.

These last couple of weeks have been extremely hard for me and I'll admit to having spent some time in a very dark place.  I'm not one for a "pity party" (and though I know it was only concern) it was tough for me to accept all the text messages and phone calls that I knew were only associated with my calamity.  Not being able to exercise AT ALL has been the biggest challenge and I've been left with a tremendous amount of extra energy.  For better or worse I damn near cut myself off from anyone with whom I associate exercise and resigned myself to self pity rather than hopeful optimism.  I've come to realize that those who I was cutting off are the folks who care most about me and have come to grips with my current level of inactivity.

As I progressed through my recover I was able to begin taking my arm out of its hefty brace when I was in a "controlled environment.  Last week though I attended the national trade show for my company in Washington DC.  Due to the quantity of people there I had no choice but to keep my arm in the brace both for protection against the crowds and to prevent undue strain on my muscles while I was on my feet. To say my brace was an eyesore and an attention magnet is an understatement; rather it was an albatross and an all too frequent conversion piece. While I'm lucky that my "good" side (I'm left-handed) is healthy, my bum wing made it difficult to shake hands in the typical fashion. Instead I set out as a one man crusader instituting the 21st century left-handed shake; I must admit that watching people decide whether to turn their hand inside out, give me a pound, or simply shake it lefty was more than mildly entertaining.

The show was a neat experience but was without a doubt exhausting and I'm not used to getting so tired from doing so little. On top of the fatigue, by the end of the day I was just hurting.

Being away also meant sleeping somewhere other than my recliner for the first time in weeks. In my hotel room I created a faux-recliner crafted of every pillow the room had to offer and more. My masterpiece was less than comfortable and sadly I was salivating at the idea of a night's sleep back on the couch.

From the time I first learned of the severity of my injury I knew my recovery would be a process and I approached it with a positive outlook. Maintaining my positivity has been more challenging than I expected and these past few weeks have been among the hardest of my adult life. Each day I remind myself that things will get better and my body will get stronger. I am itching to start physical therapy (as soon as the good Doc gives me the green light); though the pain and discomfort won't be fun, I know that I'll welcome the pain that comes along with PT because it is part of the rebuilding. As I reminded myself repeatedly during IM training: no pain, no gain.


  1. Hi, I'm entered for Ironman Wales 2013 here in the UK and I also had shoulder surgery in December 2012, so I understand your frustration!

    I don't think that my injury or procedure was as serious as yours but I got back to training as soon as I could bear it, starting with short runs then by using my turbo trainer. I'm back swimming now but my shoulder does still hurt, although not as much as it did.

    Good luck and keep your chin up, you will get back into it!


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