On Being Injured and Exploring Wisconsin

I meant to write a “4 weeks since the accident” post, which turned into “1 month since the accident,” and here we are 5 weeks post accident. The thing is, there isn’t much to say. I went to a few water aerobics classes, and at first I enjoyed getting to move around and play in the water. Eventually though, I grew bored – probably because I went three days in a row. Then on Wednesday I tried to do a spin class. I’m not sure what made me think I was healed enough or in shape enough to do it. After getting completely out of breath within 10 minutes and then having my entire upper right body ache, I walked out after 30 minutes. I bought a cupcake on the way home from the gym to help the sadness, so at least I’m dealing with my feelings in a healthy way.

I finally saw my x-rays at my follow-up appointments. Sadly I didn’t get a chance to snap a picture of the rib one, but just imagine a rib with a crack. Here’s a picture of the original x-ray of my collarbone. That little piece at the end is supposed to be in line with the rest of the bone. People break their collarbones much worse than I did, as a quick Google Image search will tell you. And the white dot in the lower right corner indicates where the pneumothorax (hole in my lung) was. The doctor explained to me that they can tell the blood vessels weren’t filling the space where my lung should be, so they knew air was leaking out of my lung. Or something like that…

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Online forums and blogs talk about people breaking collarbones and ribs and getting back on their bikes (and even completing short triathlons!) within a few weeks. I can’t even handle a stationary bike right now. I think my pain is due more to whatever muscles or ligaments I messed up in my crash than the actual broken bones, but honestly I still feel pain in many places . The internet is a dangerous place, and I’m learning an important lesson not to compare my injury and healing with anyone else’s, but it’s hard.

The other night I was telling my mom about my frustrations with the spin class, my boredom with the recumbent bike at the gym, and just general anger at not being able to complete any satisfying workouts, and she said what I really needed to hear: “ You know, you don’t have to work out at all right now. You can just heal.” And she’s right. I’m not training for anything, and I want to be back to 100% as soon as I can. So for now, I’m staying away from the gym and focusing on other things, like reading, traveling (for work), and exploring the areas around Madison NOT from the seat of a bicycle.

On a quest to find an activity that wasn’t shopping (I’ve never lived closer to a mall than I do right now), Eric and I drove out to the Cave of the Mounds, a small cave about 20 minutes outside of Madison. We toured the cave and walked around the very pretty grounds. We both can’t get over how much cooler summers here are, so it was a gorgeous day to be outside. On our way home we stopped in Mt. Horeb to walk into a few gift and antique shops.  And to take pictures of the trolls. Wisconsin’s an interesting place, I tell ya.

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Entrance to Cave of the Mounds

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The landscape above the cave

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Trolls along the main street in Mt. Horeb

As for reading, right now I’m about halfway through The English Patient, and I have The Handmaid’s Tale  and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People  on my nightstand to read next. If you have any recommendations for books NOT related to running/triathlon/sports in general, pass them my way!

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