It's hard to believe that it's been almost a year since I got my artificial hip. Today I went for a one-year-out follow-up with Dr. Hikes. The techs took some new x-rays and the Doc and I looked at the results. The prognosis: excellent. Everything is healing as it should, with plenty of solid bone growth and no nasty looking anomalies.
Here's the most fun x-ray, which shows not only the two screws Dr. Hikes used to secure my artificial socket into the tattered remains of my pelvis (the screws pointing upward in this photo), but also the big honkin' screw that's perpendicular to the joint which Dr. Sorkin (the trauma surgeon in Rockford, IL who put old Humpty together again) used to kinda gather all the pieces together. It's strange that I don't really think of all this hardware as alien artifacts or violations of my person. I think of it as really cool engineering. I guess that's because it's been such an improvement over the pre-surgery mangled hip.
In fact, I've healed so well that Dr. Hikes said it would be fine for me to attempt to ride the monster distances I used to ride before the calamity (with reasonable training first, of course). I wasn't sure if 50-70 mile rides through the mountain ranges of Oregon would be a good idea as far as wear on the hip was concerned. But in fact bicycling is one of the best things I can do. It's not weight bearing, doesn't subject the joint to the shock and pounding of an activity such as jogging, and it helps keep all the muscles and connecting tissue loose and flexible. Dr Hikes even said that my hip would likely withstand a spill without major damage. "Just don't get hit by another car," he said.
Aye, there's the rub. Do I confine my riding to bike paths, or do I get back out on the open road where it's most enjoyable, and most dangerous, to ride. Lisa would just as soon I stay in the "kiddie pool" and I can't say I blame her. But one of the reasons we moved out here from Chicago was to enjoy the beautiful scenery, and there's no better way to appreciate it than from a bike seat. I've been meaning to ride from Portland to the coast for FOUR YEARS now and for various reasons still haven't done it.
I also used to hike in the mountains but assured Lisa that actual mountain-climbing was not for me, mostly because of the risk of avalanches and crevasses. Said I, "I don't want to engage in an activity where you can do everything right and still get killed." That phrase sticks in my mind about cycling as well...it only takes one motorist yapping on a cell phone/reaching for a CD/putting on make-up/punching in a radio station to ruin your whole day. Look around you sometime and take note of the percentage of inattentive/distracted/angry motorists there are! Of course, everyone out there is rolling the dice on survival. It's just that it'd be really bad if I came up "snake eyes" again. If only I got the same thrill from knitting.