Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tying up loose ends...

Many of you who lived with me through my crash and recovery will have noted that I stopped posting updates on my condition. I felt I would bore too many of my readers with regular reports.

But...five and a half months since my crash: I still limp a little; I rock side to side as I walk. I do exercises every day to strengthen the muscles in my butt. I think those are the largest, strongest muscles in the body, so they toughen up slowly after what my doctor calls the two "insults:" the crash damage and the surgery. I hobble a bit after I get up from bed or after sitting in my chair at the computer for a half hour or hour. 

I can do everything I did before the accident, but climbing onto a bicycle or onto the very tall seat of my very tall motorcycle are difficult. I have to have the sidestand down to climb on the Kawasaki; I can't hold it up and throw a leg over the seat as I've always been able to do. 

Two fingers on my left hand are still swollen at the midway joint. The middle finger was dislocated in the crash; the ring finger was not noticeably injured at the time but was "buddy-taped" to the middle finger for a week. I've been doing therapy exercises for the two fingers but healing is oh-so slow. I don't have full range of motion with my left hand - almost six months later.

Luckily, heh-heh, I'm old enough to have Medicare coverage. My crash cost the government $56,000, no kidding - for the surgery and eight days in the hospital. Because I have Medicare Part A and not Part B, my ambulance ride is on me: $1,000. Plus my subsequent visits to my surgeon. I did not realize that they are not part of the paid-for package...and they're maybe $400 each time. I've been to see him four times, I believe. You do the math.

I'm trying to get help from the state of Colorado because I am low income. Wish me luck.

I'm getting hand therapy every couple of weeks at the VA hospital here thanks to my sorry attempt to serve my country in the early '60s. I hated my time in the service but now - if it wasn't for the VA I'd be in trouble in 100 ways. Had you told me all those years ago how I'd feel about my status as a veteran now...I'd have called you a liar. Not much in life is for sure, huh? 

The heroes in this drama are the EMTs who arrived so quickly and took me to the trauma center at Denver Health Hospital; the staff at DHH; the US Veterans Administration and my therapists, physical (the leg) and occupational (the hand). 

And, biggest hero of all, my sweetie Tamar, who endured the shock-horror call from the ambulance, held my hand in the ER when the nurse put the catheter in my tallywacker, walked with me as I hallucinated in the corridors to the pre-op room, brought me books and sat at my bedside in the hospital, pushed my wheelchair a mile each way to outpatient visits at DHH, helped me in and out of the shower, catered to my every banged-up whim for a few weeks, set off with me (on my crutches) barely a month after my crash to fly to Indianapolis to see my family and spectate at the MotoGP there. I'll stop; this could be a very long paragraph.

It's exhausting just reading that last paragraph. Imagine having all that responsibility thrust on you suddenly...midday...when you call your boyfriend and he tells you he's in an EMT van on his way to the hospital...and he thinks he's broken his leg. 


Khal said...

Last paragraph reminds me of when I crashed on a training ride. I had chased down the rabbit and then did a brain fart and overlapped wheels. Went down at over 30 mph and had four riders crash over me. The result was massive road rash and a compound fractured collarbone. And a lot of pretzel shaped wheels.

This all happened on the main drag into Honolulu from the eastern end of the island, mid-morning. The traffic got snarled as I blocked part of the right lane until the ambulance got there to scrape me up.

My girl friend was teaching class that morning and wondered why half her class was missing in action. An annoyed student told here there was gridlock on the main road into town because there was an accident and some injured cyclist was being scraped up off the road and into the meat wagon.

Then her phone rang, and the story about long-suffering significant others started.

Great to have the Tamars of the world around, eh, Maynard?

philcycles said...

I'm about to have knee surgery in Feb-thank God for MY brief service in the 60s that gives me VA medical care-but I cleverly banked some love when my girlfriend broke her arm last year. So now I get some back.
Boy, the Tamars and Sandras of the world are a God send to us old duffers who still do things like ride unstable vehicles.
Phil brown

Khal said...

And the Meenas.