Friday, June 15, 2007

Guaranteed Health Care: Be Careful What You Wish For

So one week after my encounter with a rogue tree branch, I make my way to the doctor’s office to get an x-ray of my collar bone and a follow up consult.   Surprisingly, I was recovering quite well.  At least until I got there. 

I show up, hand them $20 and they start to abuse me.  For a warm-up, they shuffle me into the x-ray room, hand me a lead blanket to protect my privates, and then contort my body into unnatural positions, tell me to hold my breath, and shoot me with radiation. 

Twenty minutes later, I am directed to an examination room where I can nurse my now re-swollen shoulder.  When the doctor shows up, he vigorously shakes my hand, further aggravating my injury, and welcomes me with a hearty, “Good afternoon!”

Staring at the floor, I mumble something like, “ouch.” 

“So, Mr. Spano, I reviewed your x-rays,” he says whilst pulling, twisting and generally mis-configuring my shoulder, as if he is in a tug-o-war with me.  Holding back my tears, I hear him continue, “Nothing has moved.  So, we’ll see you in four weeks, OK?” 

At this point, I don’t know what is more swollen, my shoulder, or my eyes.  Then I realize, “That’s it?  A $20 co-pay so I can get mutilated and told to come back in a month for another ‘round?”

The prodding, poking, and pulling has reduced me to a puddle of a man.  “Uh…can I? you think?...I was wondering if I can see the x-ray?…maybe…can you show me if it’s healing?  I want to ride my bicycle.”  Ouch

“Oh, and can I have my arm back?”

He looks over his spectacles, assessing my seriousness.   He gives me a stern look, spins about, and clicks away at the computer.  “You see, it is broken here and here and over here.  It’s in multiple pieces.”  He spins back.  “Do not blah, blah, blah, ride your bike until it’s healed.  If you fall down, then blah, blah, blah.  Blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah.”  

I didn’t really understand anything after that.  All I really remember him saying is “…ride your bike until it is healed.”   Maybe seeing the doctor was a good idea.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Another Cyclist Confesses to Using Drugs

Recently, I have been doing some smarter training.  Trying to periodize, I am training hard and resting hard – at least on a semi-macro scale.   It seems to be working.  My bike’s power-meter keeps measuring an ever-increasing threshold power.

So Wednesday morning, I am on my daily, way-too-early-in-the-morning commute to work.   Mother Nature is not happy.  The air is cold, and the wind is blowing.  Gusts of wind are arching the trees. 

The wind doesn’t affect me though.  I am riding full-force into the wind balking at Mother Nature.  “Is that the best you got?!”  I come to realize that it’s not the wind that is causing the trees to bend, but my superior riding skills.  They are bowing to me as if to acknowledge my training is paying off and I have reached cycling demi-god status.    One tree though wasn’t content with my arrogance.  Instead of letting me ride peacefully by, it decides to drop a limb in the road. The limb clips my wheel, and down I go.  I’ve been dis’ed.

Anyone who has seen me crash knows like a weeble, I pop back up.  Within seconds I am back on the bike and ready to go.  No so today.  I tried to get back up, but my body wasn’t moving.   I could hear myself groan.  I remember thinking, “OK, I am just getting old.  I’ll rest a minute, and then get up.  No rush.” 

When I finally stood up, I felt a sharp pain in my left shoulder.  Holy $%!T!  I better not have broken a bone.  I have broken a bone before, and the incessant pain is not something that me, or my wife, want to go through again.  You see, I turn into a total ass.  Imagine a guy having PMS 24x7 for 4-6 weeks.  That’s me.  Ironically, I am hoping that a tree branch has been driven through my shoulder.  Give me a stake in the shoulder over a broken collarbone any day!  I reach over feeling for blood.  None.  This is not good.  Collar Bone

Off to Emergency I go.  Yup, it’s broke.  The doctor gave me a cocktail of Vicodin (codeine) and ibuprofen.  It still friggin’ hurts.  Is codeine a banned substance??  Probably.

The last few days have been a roller-coaster for me.   I’ve been spending my time mostly whining and feeling sorry for myself.  In between these episodes, I have been trying figure out how to maintain some fitness during my ‘vacation.’  My head tells me that in the grand scheme of things a broken collar bone is not a big deal.  I do not know why my heart is telling me that it matters.  Maybe it’s the fear of losing fitness, maybe it’s the fear of changing my daily routine, or maybe it’s the fear of having to ride a trainer.

  Bicycle Trainer