Sunday, November 23, 2008

Slow road to recovery: milestones

In many ways it feels like my recovery from the crash in April has been taking far too long and in other ways it has been moving very fast. I know that April 29th was not that long ago, when considering the number and severity of injuries. Though it has been almost 7 months since the crash, I am still a very fortunate person to be as recovered as I am. My standard answer to the "so, how are you doing these days" question is this; I'm well enough to be able to complain about not getting to ride as much as I would like to. In the past 2 months, I have ridden so few times I could count the number of rides on one hand and maybe a couple fingers of the second hand. Needless to say, I'm not in great shape these days. That 184lb low I reached in May after my second stay in the hospital due to the blood clots, is now LONG gone... and I now "hover" around 220.

During the recovery, I have focused on little milestones- you know, things like first day without the neck brace, first day walking without crutches, first ride, first flight, etc. Today marks another first and one of the more important ones for me; the first day of not having to wear a band-aid on my right thumb. If you don't recall, the end of my thumb was severed off in the crash and had to be reattached with a metal pin sticking out of the tip of the thumb to help the two pieces of bone mesh back together. The thumb was cut in two right through the nail, so it cut the nail and I lost most of the nail and had a fleshy red and bloody mess that I had to cover to keep from bleeding all over everything all the time. Due to the blood thinners I have to take because of the clots in my right leg, my blood is thinner than water it seems and I bleed if I even think about using my right hand. I can't tell you the number of band-aids I've used or the number of shirts I've bled all over. I peeled my band-aid off in the hotel shower in Taipei earlier this month to wash off the wound area like I have done every day since losing the nail. Somehow though, I bumped the thumb and I began bleeding... and bleeding... and bleeding... and bleeding... to the point that it looked like a crime scene. Getting ready to go to dinner one night there, I tried to button up my shirt and bled all over the white shirt as I fumbled with the buttons. In Japan, I had a similar shower experience and bled all over the place there too. The constant bleeding has been a major annoyance and just another of those little (messy) reminders of not being totally recovered.

Today though, I was able to go the day without a band-aid and without bleeding. The nail has finally grown back over 100% of the nail bed area and covered all of the flesh that was always bleeding whenever I bumped the thumb. It may sound a bit dramatic- considering all the other much more serious injuries I had- but not having to wear the band-aid and not bleeding all the time is a BIG deal to me! The thumb still isn't pretty and looks "different" from the left thumb... but it is still attached and the nail is growing out and the old part of the severed nail will soon be gone as well.
I know it doesn't look healed and the shape is different, but I'm beginning to really like this thumb... you might say it's growing on me. (Sorry... I just had to.) The last remaining bit of the original nail is almost grown out to the point I can begin trimming it off. It isn't there yet, but it is getting closer. It may not be much, but it's mine.

(PS- Thank you again for all of the support and caring that you have shown to me. As we approach Thanksgiving this year, I am filled with many things to be thankful for and your kind support is one of the biggest- I promise.)


Chris said...

welcome back to the world of dual thumbnail clippings and scraping off of annoying stickers you didn't want on things.

Kk said...

It's a darn fine thumb, it works and it's yours. Not everyone has a body part that is also a conversation piece - at least not one they can show in polite company.

wrw said...

"How is your injured right leg coming along?"
Why the concern, pedaling a bicycle implies correctly functioning limbs!
Medical Recovery -
It has taken me five (5) years and certain body parts do not, likely never will, function as before.
Interesting fact, I was able to ride my bicycle BEFORE I could regain correct walking action.
Where's Honda's ASIMO when you need his assistance? :-)

Joe Marinelli said...

Awesome news! Any day now you'll be having thumb wars with your daughter, and winning!

Yokota Fritz said...

Glad to see you're on the mend, Tim. Your thumb looks much better now!

Danilo said...

Congratulations for your new thumbnail, Tim!
The road to recovery is somewhat long, but full of little rewards like the new nail, so keep the faith: -A full recovery is right around the corner!


P.S.: Any info about a brazilian distributor for Masi? There's one for Haro...

Mike Wagner said...

Tim, thanks for the update on your recovery. Good to hear the positive report.

"I have focused on little milestones" is the BIG lesson I've taken from this post.


Keep creating...a story worth repeating,

germaine said...

THAT'S AWESOME!!! things are really starting to resume to normal :]

Donna Tocci said...

Wonderful news, Tim! congrats.

Velo, Tx said...

Awesome! Glad to hear that your body parts are nearly at 100%.