Wednesday, November 26, 2014

ZERO TO 100 (DAY 1)


Today was the day. Today was the day I thought about 1000s of times over and over again through the years. Today was the day I had my knee replaced after being told 40 years ago after a traumatic injury that this day would arrive.

Up at 4:00 a.m. to scrub my leg with a powerful antibacterial scrubbing solution my surgeon’s office gave me.  Headed to the hospital I found the registration desk and I was asked every question that could be asked about me. Then I was placed in a pre-surgical room and was told to dress in this small front closure only small sheet like looking gown with two strings to tie around the neck. My leg was shaved, an IV started, and blood work drawn. The anesthesia doctor rolled in and suggested that we do a spinal tap. I was thinking that would be the best way to go but I needed to mentioned from a previous injury I had my two lower vertebras fused to my tail bone.  As suspected he said he would not be able to initiate a spinal tap for pain control in that area. But would just move it up notch or two and poke me there so I guess I just get more body parts numb for the same price.

As he leaves the ‘drug nurse’ rolls though the door with about 9 containers of various drugs and proceeded to inject all these foreign substances in my body through my IV.

She leaves closes the door and now my room is empty. Worry, fear, doubt suddenly hit me in the new found silence. The clock on the wall was ticking, ticking, and ticking excruciatingly slow. Each second seemed like a minute as I waited.

Most of what happens next I don’t remember, besides power pain medication I was also given a shot of an amnesia drug.

I do remember sitting in a chair attached to the bed in surgical room leaning over while the anesthesia doc locates a nerve exiting my spinal column for pain control.

My doctor told me later that day the surgery took about twice as long as planned. Previous repairs had left 5 staples and 2 screws which wanted to stay in me. He told my bone was exceptionally hard causing additional time. But now “It is Finished” I finally took the leap, and believing in enjoying life again without knee pain.  

I now sit in my hospital room 26 hours later, I will not be allowed out of bed until sometime tomorrow. Pain is tolerable at this time but I understand that is primarily due to the spinal block I received this morning.

I was told tomorrow physical therapy will start working with and I will learn new profanity. I hope not I don’t need any additional education in that department.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Zero to One Hundred day zero.

I moved all my bikes out of my basement and into the garage. It will be months before I ride them again and they are just crowding and overcrowded basement. Tomorrow I say goodbye to my left knee. It has served me well in spite of a severe injury in 1974 and four repair surgeries over the years. After ripping out ligaments and cartilage I still was able to spend 1000s of hours powerlifting, swimming, running, and cycling over the years. But now the time has come, the last four years my knee has told me when I can ride, how far and how hard I can ride. Yes I did have 126 mile days, grueling hill climbs and 350 mile weeks on the bike this year but I also had weeks and weeks when I could not ride, cortisone shots, days walking with a cane, and hours on the couch with ice bags.

I am compulsive. I have been making notes for weeks in preparation of everything I need to do to get everything ready to make a house livable  when walking is difficult, stairs hurt, and high powered pain killers race through my bloodstream.

My indoor bike waits in the dining room for my return from the hospital for rehab.


So tomorrow morning a team of medical professionals will remove what remains of my damaged left knee and replace with titanium alloy and polyethylene parts. I am going into this as strong as I can be; I’ve kept bicycling up to this weekend. I am scheduled for 6 weeks of therapy afterwards and my goal is to conquer every challenge my therapists throw at me.

I plan to chronicle my journey, the ups, downs, and everything in between of a cyclist whose goal is to work hard and get back on his bike and ride, one mile at a time until the day I can ride 100 miles again.  Hence the title “0 to 100”