I was warned that progress would involves ups and downs as I got to walking, and there’ve been a few downs. It has, however, mostly been up.
Just over a month since I was weightbearing, and walking is much easier and with less of a lurch; there’s some lack of control in the hip that we are working on in PT, and it’s about 50% as strong as on the uninjured leg. There’s a little bit of a struggle in walking more than half a mile or so, but I can make it around the block here, and the times are dropping notably (showing progress). Most of the pain is in the scar itself from the surgery, though twisting on the hip is decidedly uncomfortable.
I’ve had the mountain bike on the trainer since a couple of days after I was weight bearing as tolerated, and while stepping over the sky high top tube was a pain (literally and figuratively) it’s been a good training tool. I’ve hooked it to Zwift via the Tacx turbo trainer, so can get some realism and then, March 8th, I took it out around the street to see how I’d do. It wasn’t too bad– you can see the Strava log:
I’ve managed to make a few more road rides, with and without Heather and even in some traffic (though I’ve yet to dare Tramway, where I was hit). Definitely glad to be back on a bike.
Yesterday was 12 weeks since I was hit at the intersection of Lomas and Tramway by the hit-and-run driver in a white SUV. Through this process, there’s been huge support from my partner — who has been there every day for me — and from my family both with visits from the UK and electronically.
Here’s a progress timeline for 3 months, from lying in the ICU struggling to breathe with everyone in huge doubts as to how much brain damage to being back at work and functioning.
1 hour later I was in the ER with extensive trauma and ‘in acute pain due to trauma’
1 day later they performed emergency surgery to restore my airway and manage the facial, laryngeal, and jaw breaks
Lots of double vision from the orbital breaks and the muscles around my eyes not working
6 days later they performed ORIF surgery and fixed my hip and pelvis breaks
On the 9th of December (11 days) I got out of bed and to a chair on a walker for the first time
On the 13th, the tracheotomy and NG feeding tubes were removed
On the 14th, I was released from UNMH to a rehabilitation facility, still on a walker
Heather’s care increased here, since my jaw was wired and I was both anemic and malnourished. Their feeding did not help this
On the 18th, I returned home
The freeway trip was terrifying, as the double vision was so bad.
On the 2nd of January, I started more formal PT and range of motion, strength, and other exercises for the pelvis.
8th of January the jaw wiring was removed and further checks on the vocal cords. Still paralysed, but I was louder
PT continues, including cycling on a stationary recumbent bike. It was 2-3 hours a day or low impact static exercises, but I was out on disability leave
31st of January, additional surgery was performed to medialize the paralysed vocal cord and inspect it better. This restored some, but not a lot of voice
Early February I drove for the first time; the double vision so reduced as the breaks around my eyes healed more completely. Driving was not an issue
13th of February I got permission to ‘weight bear as tolerated’ from my ortho surgeon. I was able to tolerate walking out of his office.
14th of February I drove myself to PT and was able to get weight bearing exercises and walk without crutches around the house. In fact, I’ve barely used crutches since then. That’s almost exactly 11 weeks since the accident.
14th of February I was able to return to work, and to use a regular bicycle on a turbo trainer.
I’m looking at 3 more months of PT, but I’m happy with the progress. Heather’s support has been amazing. I’ve had a good PT. And I’m the luckiest unlucky guy alive — no brain damage, no cervical damage, and my surgeries have all gone well.
I’ve spent a lot more time here talking about the recovery from a voice/throat/face perspective and rather less about the hip and pelvis. This is — honestly — mostly because the latter have been in a holding pattern for a while; my PT has been adding effort and exercises gradually, there’s only been so much that could be done until there was some measure of weight bearing. There was a lot that was done, especially towards the end in terms of strengthening the hip abductors to help reduce the incidence of Trendelenberg gait.
The surgery on the hip (an open reduction internal fixation, or ORIF) procedure was on Dec 5th, 7 days after I was hit. They plated the column fracture of the acetabular, put 43 staples in the wound, and then it was non-weightbearing for 10 weeks.
The internal hardware was fairly impressive on X-ray:
Yesterday, 76 days after the accident, we had the second followup with my orthopaedic surgeon. Joint spacing looked good, healing looked good and after those 76 days I was turned loose with weight bearing as tolerated (WBAT). I proceeded to walk (sort of) out of his office without the crutches, though my gait is still odd, my leg is still incredibly weak. However — thanks to my PT, and actually DOING my PT — I could walk. (Though my calf is so incredibly right it is not even remotely funny)
Now to the doctors orders: wean off assistance (even on day 2 I’m not using the crutches around the house), correct gait (a work on progress), and strengthen the leg. On to another 12 weeks of PT, though I now have planks, bridges, one-legged stands, and even shallow squats on the list of things to do.
To keep track, I’ve uploaded many of the recover photos until I started looking rather more like myself. I do not recommend diving into the Emergency Room album, but they are there for reference of where it started after some degree of clean up and stitching.
You can see the progress here. Pictures are dated, and pretty much in chronological order (where the date is wrong, for some reason)