Sunday, March 7, 2010

14 Months

Dallas has had an unseasonably long and cold winter. It actually snowed for 2 days in mid-February. I forgot how much snow sucks. Holy f*ck. It’s cold. Sh*t gets wet. Idiots drive too fast on icy roads.

On the other hand, kids have a blast when it snows. They get to pelt each other with snowballs. Mine built a wicked snow-woman.

But grown-ups can’t enjoy snow like kids. At least I can’t. See, I immediately succumb to my childish whims. Snowball fights rock. Who doesn’t enjoy throwing sh*t at other people? Good times. I start out lobbing a few snowballs at the kids. I playfully duck a few of their weak throws. But things spiral downhill quickly. While I’m goofing around with my 4-year old, my 8-yr old crushes the side of my head from 3 feet away. Oh, it’s on. My competitive instincts immediately kick in, and I transform from mild-mannered Bruce Banner into the Incredible Hulk. I need to win these snowball battles, even if I’m competing against people too short to ride Space Mountain. And I’m not content just cracking people. Nope. I want to inflict bodily harm. Before you know it, I start packing a bunch of baseball-sized WMDs into my snowballs. Acorns. Rocks. Anything to weigh down those puppies. This leads to a predictable chain reaction. Eventually I cripple one of my kids, my wife gets pissed off, and then I get no nookie for a few days. Not good times. Like I said, snow sucks.

Anyway, we finally had a decent day. Spring-like, even. Probably hovered around 60 degrees. I went biking. This was a completely different experience than my last outing. I rode around White Rock Lake and back home, about 16-18 miles total.

The knee felt good the entire time; it felt fine afterward, too. I even managed to push off my bum knee a number of times to “stand up” during my bike ride. There really aren’t any hills big enough that require riders to stand up, but, again, the competitive juices kicked in and I wanted to be able to stand up, so I kept practicing every 5-10 minutes. The first few times I tried to stand up, I was unable to complete the loop. It was a bit embarrassing. I stood up, did a half revolution, my right leg weakened, and then I got stuck at the top, forcing me to sit back down. I was playing Jack-in-the-Box on a mountain bike. It reminded me of my first efforts trying to ride the recumbent bike after my surgery, when I struggled to complete a full revolution. But halfway through my ride around White Rock I managed to “stand up” for 10-20 seconds at a time. Interestingly, I didn’t have to sit back down because the leg hurt, but because I was completely winded standing up for that short period of time.

I enjoyed my outing, but I don’t understand uber-cyclists. You know exactly the kind of people I’m talking about. The weekend warriors that wear yellow jerseys and spandex, ride in packs, and bark out instructions like they’re in the middle of some Tour de France team time trial. And you know what? Spandex is not a good look for most of these chubby riders. But I did ease into their world a few times during my ride.

Several times, I had the choice of whether to pass someone or draft behind them. Tough call. When you pass someone, you get to bark out, “on your left,” like one of those biking douchebags. And yeah, I felt like a dork, but, also, strangely superior; like sitting in first class on an airplane and watching people trudge back to coach. I paused briefly during the pass to savor the moment. I needed to make eye contact. I wanted them to acknowledge their master.

But sometimes I chose not to pass people. Instead I hovered a few feet behind them, drafting like a NASCAR driver. Drafting is a lot like stalking, actually. You just follow somebody, making them feel uncomfortable by remaining in their shadow. But when I wasn’t feeling creepy, I pretended I was at some Olympic Velodrome practicing my drafting skills. Of course, there’s really not a lot of wind resistance to avoid at my embarrassing speeds. But it did provide a pretty sweet view of some of the hotties on the trail. And those were the riders I didn’t mind stalking….

My next checkup is in 3 weeks. Not much has changed over the past month or so. I continue to increase my workouts. My gimpy knee still goes into convulsions during 1-legged squats, shuttle presses, and heel touches. The inside of my quad remains hollow. I struggle to perfect good “bending form.” But the knee continues to get a bit stronger. Baby steps.

I’m most anxious to learn how the tibia is healing. I want the screws removed, but I’m not sure how the leg will respond once their gone. Dr. Berman recommended undergoing a bone graft. That’s something I consider an absolute last resort. I have no desire to suffer through another major surgery and recovery. However, I need to learn the potential risks of having a “weakened tibia.” Does that mean the leg might break during normal activities? Would it complicate my knee recovery? Stay tuned.