Am I on track?

Am I on track?

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Diagnosis & Prognosis...

Its hard being a cyclist when you can't ride your bike.  Missing the beautiful summer months has been very difficult - both mentally and physically.  So what exactly was the injury that has kept me off the bike so long...??

Obviously, as previously posted, I came a gutser on the last lap of a criterium in early December.

The emergency doctors were a bit surprised at the amount of damage I'd done, and were saying that the injury was presenting more like a motorbike accident! I did point out that I'd been racing though, which probably accounted for some of that.

The main concern on the night of the injury was that my shoulder was, well, growing! It noticeably swelled, even while in Emergency.  The doctors were a little concerned, and so they kept me in overnight to make sure I was ok.

I went home the next day, with an appointment slip for surgery in my hand. They'd be plating the distal fracture in my left clavicle.


Two weeks later, surgery day came along at Royal Brisbane Hospital (RBH).  I must have been pretty out of it during the consults in Emergency, as it was only now I discovered the extent of the injury.

I got wheeled into the pre-theatre waiting area, and one of the surgeons came out to see me for a chat:

Surgeon: So you understand the plan for today?
Me: Yep - plate up the collarbone...
Surgeon: Well, that's not entirely right...
Me: Uh, what??

So as it turns out, the broken clavicle was only of secondary, minor concern to the doctors.  The main issue (by far) was that I'd pretty much shredded some of my shoulder ligaments, which meant the bones had 'popped up' and needed to be drawn back into place.

To do this, they basically needed to use what they call 'tight-rope', wind it around the bones, and tighten them back up under tension.  The clavicle would only be plated if they could do this first, main part successfully.

I was caught a little off-guard by all this - but no point dwelling on it, the surgery needed to be done!  After a chat with the anaesthetists ("wow, another cyclist - I think every patient today is a cyclist...!!"), I was wheeled in, knocked out, and rebuilt...


My only point of comparison was my first shoulder break a few years ago.  The recovery post-surgery this time - even though the injury and surgery was much more serious - has been appreciably better and quicker.  I had much more movement in my shoulder, and the pain (after the first few days) was much less.

I was on Endone (oxycodone) for the pain, but managed to ditch that after a week or so.  It was fantastic stuff, but I don't like using pain meds so was happy to be able to get off it relatively quickly.

Post-surgery follow-up

I headed back into the RBH at two weeks & six weeks post-op.  All the dressings and staples were removed at the two week mark, which was a relief to get done (and surprisingly painless too!).  Unfortunately, I was instructed to keep using my sling until the next visit.

At the second visit 4 weeks later, I had x-rays done. The surgeon was extremely happy with how the bones were healing, and with the free movement I had in the shoulder.  I was then handed over to the physio for a brief chat about some initial exercises to do for a couple of weeks - I needed to take it easy, particularly while the muscles were a bit wasted.

What's next?

Next steps now involve physiotherapy.  I do have another follow-up visit with the surgeon in a month or so, but that's more just a precautionary check-up to ensure nothing has gone wrong.

The physio (from the last post-op visit) has said I can start back on a stationary windtrainer again once we tick over into February. Although she did say that was only if I managed to not fall off that too...  ;-)

I'm not a huge fan of using trainers.  I have a magtrainer I bought second-hand when I was injured last time, but I only used it a few times.  Since then though, the Sufferfest videos have emerged - so I might buy a couple of those and give it another whirl...

I'm desperate to get back on the bike again, but am committed to making sure I follow the advice from the surgeons and physiotherapists to get the best long-term outcome.  But hopefully that will mean sooner rather than later!!

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