The recovery from the Doc’s broken hip has been a pain in the backside, in a good way, thanks for asking
Afew days ago I received an email. “Hi Dr Hutch,” it said. “I was wondering how your recovery from that broken hip has progressed. You’ve very modestly refrained from mentioning it for several weeks, and some of us are getting restless for an update.”
I scanned this several times, trying to decide if it was sarcastic. Eventually I decided it was sincere, and thought perhaps it was, indeed, time to offer a self-absorbed update. The email was from Keith White, if you’re looking for someone to blame.
In some ways the biggest issue with getting back to cycling after an injury is ignoring everyone who tells you not to even try. Just a couple of weeks ago, at an appointment where he told me the bone was healed and the orthopaedics department “never wanted to see me again” (their words), my consultant still reacted to the idea with horror. “Oh, no,” he said. “No cycling.” “Why? I mean, if the bone has healed...?” “Well, the pedalling action won’t do any harm in itself, but you might fall off.” “What about an indoor trainer?” “You might fall off that.”
Quite the vote of confidence, I felt. “What about swimming?” he said. “Swimming is much better than cycling.”
That settled it. Anyone who could utter that as an opinion is a fool, and not to be trusted on any subject. I’m amazed he got through medical school.
So back to riding I’ve gone. Things are, however, not quite right. I used to pride myself on the power of my pedal stroke dividing exactly 50/50 between left and right legs. It’s now 52/48, and if we’ve learned nothing else from the Brexit referendum, it’s that a 52/48 ratio means I’m to all intents and purposes one-legged.
So I went to see a physio. “Can you stand on just the injured leg?” he asked. “No problem,” I said, took my good foot off the ground, and fell over. “You seem
to have a bit of an issue there,” said the physio, proving himself the intellectual superior of my consultant.
The physio explained that during my operation, the surgeon had cut through a lot of gluteal muscle to get his Black and Decker to the right bit of bone. You can’t
“I’ve treated rehab as a competition”
ride a bike without at least some buttock muscle, and I have become severely lopsided. The physio gave me some exercises and a giant rubber band.
Needless to say, I’ve treated rehab as, essentially, a competition. One of my exercises is to walk sideways, back and forth, stretching the band between my knees. The effect is reminiscent of a Space Invader. I do it while watching TV, which annoys Mrs Doc since I do it in the space between the sofa and the television.
“I never thought I’d say this, but I honestly miss the days when you just used to ride a turbo trainer when we were watching TV,” she said.
She said much more when I told her I needed a volunteer to take a daily photo of my backside so I could check whether it was getting more symmetrical.
But I’m improving. I’m up to 30-mile rides on the bike and the only discomfort comes from the fact that my buttocks suffer from almost permanent postexercise muscle soreness from all the rehab. And there is a real positive — after months off I’m appreciating riding in a way that I haven’t done in years. I’m even enthusiastic about the approach of winter with cold, crisp days and coming home to a bowl of hot soup.
It is, of course, possible that this optimism won’t last. It might rain, for instance. And if it does, well, that’s a bit too close to swimming for me.
Rehab nearly complete, the Doc just needs to balance his buttocks