Friday, May 31, 2013

"....uuuuppddaaaaattessssss....", said the zombie blogger.

Received the bill for my spinal surgery yesterday afternoon.

Cost of procedure: $53,213.18
Responsible amount: $150.00

Thank God, sense of relief, +1 for insurance, and all that.

Now that we've that detail out of the way, on to better news. (Well, better in a certain sense, but to be sure, it was really good news to not be on the hook for 50 grand.)

But what might to me somehow be better than that? I had a follow up visit with my surgeon last week. During the visit, he indicated things are looking good, right on schedule, healing nicely, etc. They took an x-ray to check the installation's condition, which he said looks good. So he then told me I could start riding my bike again. Granted, it's in a limited fashion at this point, because we're still waiting for a more complete fusion of the two vertebrae and for the muscles to fully heal from the procedure. But anything is better than nothing, especially after not having ridden much at all over the last two years.

In my excitement, I forgot to even ask him if I was OK for lifting things of any greater weight than I'd been allowed up to that point. You know, like kids and stuff. I called the office back to get that detail sorted out whilst driving to the bike shop. (Parenthetical Insertion: I did roll my eyes at myself. Priorities, right? You should have seen the look my wife gave me. But I'm really quite grateful at how understanding she actually is regarding, well, lots of things, but my need for cycling specifically in this case.)

Anyway after the good news, I did immediately speed to the bike shop and buy full tune-up materials.
  • new brake pads (kool stops all the way)
  • new cables and housings- brakes and shifting
  • cable lube
  • degreaser
  • drive train lube
  • new bar tape
 I then proceeded to drive back to the house, forgo my usual daytime sleep hours, and work on completely stripping my bike, cleaning every bit of it thoroughly, and putting it all back together. If as a cyclist you've never jumped headfirst into a full tune-up like this, I would highly recommend learning how and going for it. There's a very real, visceral connection that this somehow imparts. Though it's a pile of inanimate objects that have no intrinsic value, there's just... something... about connecting to the bike in this way. And one can easily find examples of this sort of idea all over the web, in bike magazines, etc. It's one of those things that's difficult to explain to "non-believers".

After reassembling all the bits, I had yet to tape the bars. This is one part that's as much a meditative ceremony as it is a maintenance procedure. Back into the house to scrub the grime, grease, and years of weariness off my hands and face. As the last wraps of tape were coiled on and taped into place, the fuller picture was revealed.

My noble steed was resplendent in its fresh cleanliness, just begging to go see places.

That first ride was rather a tenuous thing. At that point, my back muscles were still very tight from the surgery, still very sore, and I could only go down the street and back. I barely managed to get back over the lip at the bottom of the driveway. A pretty sad ride in most respects.

If felt like I'd learned how to fly.

Friday, May 10, 2013

So I guess part of "ethos" of blogging is to maintain some sort of regularity. To that end, here we are.

Today is May 10th, being roughly three weeks since surgery. My overall level of discomfort is much better, and I have been able to engage in some normal activities such as driving. That said, I'm still quite sensitive to various movements and can't bend, crouch, or stay in the same position for long periods of time.

Luckily at work, I have a convertible desk which affords me the luxury of either standing or sitting at my desk. My employer was gracious enough to provide this, much to my relief.

So... at this point I'm in a bit of waiting game. Just moseyin' along, waiting for fuller recovery to set in. Once I'm able to start moving a bit more, I am anxious to get back into my exercise routine and start feeling more vigorous again.

Starting back to work my regular night schedule at work on Monday evening. Did a week of day time this week to 'ramp up', so to speak. So at least starting work again is some kind of progress, and has gotten me feeling a little more human again.

But... nothing more at this point worth writing. More to come, I'm sure. I hope. Ok, maybe.