Convalescence

posted Nov 18, 2009, 8:46 AM by Richard Sevenich   [ updated Nov 18, 2009, 3:34 PM ]
2009.11.17

My recovery from the broken neck (C1 and C2 fractured) and collateral damage (2 thoracic vertebrae fractures and right little finger) is now nearing 4 weeks. C2 was repaired with a compression screw; all else heals as is. Tomorrow's appointment with the surgeon for an assessment of my progress has been canceled, due to the death of his mother. I am eager to begin physical therapy and to discard the cervical collar (targeted for 6 weeks). Currently, my only exercise consists of walking 1 or 2 miles on the flat. Tasks such as raking leaves and hauling out the trash have been assumed by my lovely and uncomplaining wife.

I went off pain meds on November 10 as pain gave way to discomfort. When I've walked my route or been up for many hours, my back aches as if over tired - in the thoracic region where the other 2 vertebrae were fractured. At night, I mostly do without the cervical collar, but do experience some neck discomfort - but can sleep more or less normally. Both these skeletal areas are becoming happier. My broken (right) little finger remains without pain, taped to its next door buddy.

The imminent ski season is likely a goner for me, but I'll await definitive word from the surgeon and physical therapist. I may join the local health club to use the various exercise machines and perhaps to swim. Once upon a time, I loved to swim. However, of late I prefer outside activities to being a gym/pool rat. It's not impossible that I may get in some kayaking on LPO. Give me a warmish (above freezing), calm day and a launch site with no ice and I may try it - but clearance for that is at least 2 weeks away. That would be an infrequent opportunity in any case.

Earlier in my recovery, when I could do very little that was physical, I spent some hours converting all our music CDs to mp3s. We are not audiophiles, so the lossy mp3 compression still yields acceptable music. I then backed up the mp3s to DVDs. The resulting 5 DVDs replaced many CDs.

My next non physical activity will be to plan some trips for the 2010 kayak season. For example, Matt Davidson has suggested a few of us circumnavigate LPO. So I'll plan some earlier trips of lengths around 12 to 15 nautical miles to calibrate the group's readiness. None of us is a seasoned expedition paddler, but should be able to handle 12+ nautical miles per day for a few days in a row. Someone like Freya Hoffmeister, who can churn out successive 75 kilometer days, would find our daily goals amusing. She could do the circumnavigation in 2 days, unless she was in a hurry to get it over.
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