Progress and the Squeezey Squirrel

So the “aggressive” exercises two of my five doctors prescribed appear to be having an effect. To understand the progress though, you first have to imagine the exercise. Basically think of a bicep curl. Take away the dumbbell (no weight on the busted elbow). Picture curling your arm up. Now, instead, of releasing the tension back down, grab the injured arm with your good hand and *push* the bad hand back down. Apparently allowing the injured arm to come back down on its own could somehow shatter the spiffy wires you have tied around your bones. Repeat 10-15 times. Do all of this without moving your shoulder/collarbone area at all. Fun, right?

When I first started this exercise about 14 days or so after surgery I thought it was basically a lost cause. I could move my arm from the normal wrapped 90 degree angle up to…well basically an inch higher. And oh the pain! Not only was there the expected “you haven’t used these muscles in weeks” aches, there was also the extremely cool and highly unexpected “omfg my skin is splitting open” ripping sensation. Sweet! Forget gripping a bike again, I was pretty sure it would be months before I could reach my own shoulder.

Still, I’d been cautioned that abandoning my exercise now would lead to intense physical therapy later – so I stuck with it. Last Saturday I nearly yelped in surprise when I discovered that I could now curl up on the left side just as far as my right! Granted, it takes a good 6 or so reps to stretch out enough to accomplish the task, and it may still be weeks before I can extend my arm the other direction (I’m working on it, however the fear of popped wires is seriously limiting how far I’ll push myself on any given day)…but it is progress! Woohoo!

In other news, the busted black skin around the surgery site is starting to peel and itches like crazy. Supposedly, this is a good sign that everything is healing up, and I will soon be scab-less. I’m still not allowed to wash that arm, so if you catch me clawing my own arm worse than a cat with fleas – you know why.

I’ve also been making some progress on getting the strength back in my left hand, thanks to my very best friend – the Squeezey Squirrel. The spot where my elbow fractured apparently runs directly over one or more of the main nerves in my hand. This means that I’ve been basically relearning all the normal hand motions beyond “feeble finger wiggle”. To aid in this endeavor, I have employed a random Beanie Baby from my bookshelves as tennis balls turned out to be too hard to grip. In the weeks since I started mangling forest critters, I have managed to bring my fingers down to 1/3 their largest size and can now grip small objects with relative ease, I have also managed to severely disturb more than zero of my coworkers with my furry animal abuse around the office. So goes life.

Least exciting in the progress department is my collarbone. I’m not allowed to move it to see “how its doing”, so all I really know is that I no longer usually feel like I’m ripping through muscles when bending over. Yay. It still looks visibly swollen to me, and gives off a nastily persistent dull-ache, but I guess its healing. I hope.

The next doctor appointment is on the 24th; just before I leave to cheer on my cycle team in Hawaii. I’d love it if he’d let me out of the sling, but I’m willing to settle for a “Good Job” on my newfound arm flexibility. An all clear to ride by end of October would be even better, but I’m not holding my breath. We shall see in a week; I’ll keep you posted. Haha posted…bad pun for a blog!


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What do we have here?

An often sarcastic, occasionally humorous journal of my training adventures in preparation for the Livestrong century ride. I took up cycling back in '07 in hopes of meeting new people, and, with the help of Team in Training, making my small positive difference in the world -- and haven't stopped spinning since. Follow along as my Trek road bike and I try and hash out our differences, hopefully with me upright and in the saddle.

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