Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Good News

The doctor says I am healing quite well and has released me to put up to 70 pounds on my leg. What a pleasant surprise. That means I can start using the leg again on my walker, although not fully. I am to return in 3 weeks with the expectation that I will then released to full weight bearing.

More good news. The doctor suspected that my gasping for air spells last week might be the product of small pulmonary embolisms from my leg lodging in my lungs. If that were the case I would have to get on some heavy duty blood thinners for an extended period. He sent me for a spiral CT scan of my chest with contrast yesterday. Apparently, embolisms can be seen in the lungs in this test. I got the results today. My lungs are clear!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Three Weeks Post Surgery

It's been three weeks now since my accident and surgery to repair my broken femur. I've completed my two weeks of blood thinnner shots and have been getting in home therapy three times a week. Tomorrow I go to the doctor to get the staples pulled out of my incisions and to get X rayed. Although I'd love to start weight bearing on my leg, my doctor told me at the hospital that I'd need six weeks with no weight bearing after the surgery. So, I'm assuming that even if the X rays look good I won't be able to put weight on my leg for another three weeks.

I get around on my walker and my wheelchair. Fortunately my house is wheelchair friendly. I've learned a few tricks over the last three weeks. In the morning I make a thermos full of coffee and take it back to my study with a clean cup. That way I can enjoy several cups of coffee without having to wheelchair back to the kitchen for refills. I've learned to shower on one leg and to dress myself sitting down. I had a pretty scary episode of sleep apnea last week. I woke up gasping for air all through the night. Although I am overweight, I've never had this problem before. I decided to give up the hydrocodone I've been taking every four hours. That did the trick and I haven't had another episode since. It's going to be a long three weeks.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


It's been almost two weeks since the accident and I'm doing fine. As I mentioned in my last post, I'm not supposed to put any wieght on my leg for a month or so. That makes the routine of daily living inconvenient. I get around on a walker and a wheel chair.

My stoker, Liz, has been taking good care of me. Each morning and evening she gives me my blood thinner shot, walks me through my exercises when the therapist isn't here and generally does the things for me that I can't do for myself.

I wear a support stocking on my right leg which, along with the blood thinner, makes it less likely that I'll get a blood clot. A blood clot or DVT (deep vein thrombosis) is a common problem for anyone who stays off their feet for an extended period. Wearing the stocking cuts the risk of a DVT almost in half. They're not comfortable and they're hard to put on, but they serve a purpose.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

What a Way To Start the Year

The Houston area was blessed with fair weather for the first week of the year. My stoker and I got in nice rides on New Year's day and also on Saturday, January 5. On Sunday we rose early for a quite ride on the Seavo to the Medical Center and back before breakfast. At the intersection of Greenbriar and Braeswood we had to cross the Metro tracks. The pavement was damp. I know that tracks can be dangerous to bikes, but these rails aren't as deep as freight railroad tracks. Nevertheless, I slowed down to 5-10mph and crossed the first set no problem. The last rail of the second set of tracks caught my front wheel however and down we went. Liz was able to stand as the bike went down, but I hit hard squarely on my right hip. For a few moments I had the wind knocked out of me and didn't know whether I was injured or not. I soon realized that I could not move. We had fallen on the tracks and Liz, already concerned that I couldn't move much, feared that I might be run over by the next Metro train (somewhat ironic since I work for a railroad.) With the help of a passer-by she dragged me over into the grass. This is when I knew something was seriously wrong because any attempt to move or reposition my right leg was excruciating. I gave in and told Liz to go ahead and call an ambulance. Several hours later at Methodist Hospital I learned the extent of the damage.

My right femur was broken just below the neck. My orthopedist tells me that this is a good spot for a break. Any higher would jeopardize the blood flow to the femoral head and would require emergency sugery and possibly a hip replacement. I had surgery Monday afternoon to put a rod in my femur with two locking screws to hold everything together. I guess the worst news is that I am not to put any weight on my right leg for the next month. That's going to be tough.

I was blessed with lots of TLC from all the folks at Methodist. In a word, these folks are great! The biggest surprise was the food, which was served promptly and was pretty good. If it hadn't been for the broken leg I would have thoroughly enjoyed my stay.

Liz has been taking good care of me from the moment the bike hit the ground. She's pretty much camped out here at the house since my discharge, in spite of my sorry performance as captain. Each day is getting a little better, but I can see that it's going to be a long road back. I've already started plowing through several books I've been meaning to read and trying to figure out just when I can expect to be back on my bike. I will keep you updated on my progess.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Years Day

A hardy crew of recumbent cyclists gathered for a chilly ride on New Years Day. This was the coldest riding weather of the year so far, at least for our little group here in Houston. With north winds at 14mph, the temps in the high thirties felt a bit colder than it was. Aimee had the day off from her vet clinic job so she was able to join me as stoker on the Flevo. Since she started her job she hasn't been able to ride with me as much as usual and I miss her on these rides. She's getting ready for vet school so it's all in a good cause. We were joined by David, Ben, Debbie, Pat and Jim.

Debbie tried out the stoker seat on the Flevo. I think she liked it. We'll have to adjust that bottom bracket though.