Photos and text copyright Romping and Rolling in the Rockies 2009-2017.

All photographs and text within this blog are copyrighted.

You may not copy or repost any photos or text without specific permission from the author of this blog. When in doubt, please ask.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The recovery roller coaster

After every surgery, a day dawns when the reality of the long road ahead truly penetrates my consciousness. Events conspired to anoint today my 'reality day' for this surgery. On my morning walk, even the view of the mountains looked gloomy. But, I reminded myself that I was extraordinarily lucky to be capable of walking to a mountain viewpoint.
The first event that contributed to my dark mood was that the long weekend was over, so I was on my own except for my lovable furry companions. What would I do without them?
Since my surgery, I've had the luxury of family and friends popping in frequently, keeping my mind occupied with fun things. Today, I'm on my own so I need to generate a serene and happy spirit by myself. An upside to the relative solitude is that I'm taking more naps, something that I sorely need. So, there's a good side to everything if I look at it from the right angle.
A second contributor to my less cheery mood was that, for some inane reason that even I can't fathom right now, I decided that I could cut back on my pain meds today. It would be an understatement to say that I wasn't prepared for the avalanche of pain that greeted that decision. Unfortunately, pain tends to be tenacious once it takes hold so returning to yesterday's dosage hasn't made a dent in the pain. I've learned my lesson, and each lesson learned is like a glimmer of sunshine through the dark skies.
The final straw was that I caught a glimpse of a mountain biker zooming by on my road. The sight literally stabbed me in the heart. I desperately wished that I was on a bike, flying free. But, to look on the bright side, I'm lucky that I'm allowed to ride a recumbent stationary bike to keep my heart and legs prepared for the day when I can ride a bike outdoors.
Alas, I know from past experience that I just have to slog through this phase until I'm able to focus on the glimmer of hope far away on the horizon.

I took a number of short walks on our snow-packed trails today. I have to be super careful not to fall during the recovery period. To enhance traction on the slippery trails, I have 'screw boots', a pair of Sorels with sheet metal screws drilled into their treads. They work as well as commercial traction devices, and they don't wear out or fall off.
On our first walk of the morning, K and I intersected the elk herd, who were just about to cross 'our' meadow. This herd frequently encounters people and dogs hiking the trails so they simply retreated into the trees, watched us hike almost out of sight, and then resumed their trek.
At instants like the one when K spotted the herd, I'm glad that I spent innumerable hours training her to walk politely on a leash. She watched them with interest but didn't yank on me, which would have been a disaster for my neck. Normally, K is off-leash (and doesn't chase elk even then) but her surgery recovery requires leash-walking for 2 weeks.
On a later walk, R joined us, and he was a model citizen. He romped off-leash but stayed close and responded to every cue. I can't call him as loudly as usual because of the swelling around my throat but he heeded the softest call! Both K and I were jealous of his romping as we plodded along the trails.
Tomorrow will be another, perhaps brighter day. I'm lucky to have wild forest surrounding my house so that I can sample a modicum of nature each day while I do my rehabilitation walks. That makes all the difference to my spirit.

And, the support of my blogging buddies keeps me smiling!


  1. makes me so sad that you have to struggle with the mental hurdles as well as the physical ones, KB. I think tomorrow is the perfect day for me to swing by and visit, don't you? I cannot wait to take a happy walk through the woods with two of my favorite doggies and one of my most favorite humans. See you tomorrow and I will be crossing my fingers that the pain meds kick in so that you sleep well tonight!

    Sending tons and tons of hugs,

  2. If only PA were just a bit closer, we'd be there too!

    Just remember, one nap at a time -
    One walk at a time!

  3. Glad to see that Sue is going to join you for a walk. I'm so jealous! I'm sure you understand how I can relate to your post. For me, it's seeing couples and wondering why not me and will it ever be me again. Wishing you the very best!

  4. Oh, how we would love to have the chance to walk with you and R and K - we would feel honored. Don't rush things -we know the feeling of not wanting to be dependent on drugs, but don't go looking for trouble. Sorry, Mom speaking again:) Hope the sun comes out for you tomorrow in all ways possible.

  5. Oh, KB, what an apt title for you and for me! Sorry you had to experience pain to learn a lesson - guess you better stick to the meds awhile! There is "a glimmer of hope on the far away horizon" - keep your eyes focused on it! I'm thinking of you.
    PS I really like your bigger type. It's great on the eyes.

  6. I think you'll feel more optimistic once you get your pain back under control - pain like that can really take a toll on your psyche.

    I know it doesn't compare to your situation, but a few years ago, I tore my plantar fascia, and it was about a year of physical therapy before I could run again. I remember exaclty how I felt as I limped down the road on a beautiful spring day, with runners zipping past me on all sides. I'm familiar with that stab in the heart.

  7. I hope you get your pain under control quickly. That will surely improve your outlook. I also hope that you will have visitors on a regular basis! I would come by and check on you but I fear we are too far away :)

    Emma Rose

  8. Like others said, we'd be there with you if you were closer.

    Sorry about your glimpse of the biker - it really stinks to see something that YOU want to be doing, but can't yet do. Though it doesn't compare to the magnitude your situation at all, I felt a similar pain when I no longer rode horses but still saw others out with them.

    You'll be on that bike again, soon - just think of how far you've come. The hardest part is over, and I'm optimistic that every day will get a little bit better.

  9. Hoping tomorrow will be a better day for you!

  10. As difficult as it is, try to think of this time you have as your "me" time and relax and get well! Sometimes the peace and quiet is needed just as much as the fun visits from friends and family. At least you won't have cabin fever by being stuck in the house. When you ride your recumbant bike, just close your eyes and picture yourself on one of your previous outdoor treks!


  11. I loved the picture of the elk, and enlarged it so I could see the animals better. What a treat to see that herd in person!

    I join the rest of your chums in wishing you a better tomorrow. Keep your Sunny side Up!

    Cheers and hugs,

    Jo and Stella

    My word verification is picili. As in I am feeling picili about things! lol

  12. OM dawg...the pain med decision. i've been there. so has my husband. the pain meds suck in so many other ways (metameucil cocktail anyone?) but i'd take them anyday over the agony you must be in. oy. rest! rest! rest! your body needs it!

    so awesome you trained your dogs not to chase prey. really awesome. how did you do it? how many beatings a day did it take? (kidding... i kid about beating my dogs)

    you have some gorgeous labs. we had a yellow one many years ago. they are such great dogs.

    wild dingo
    pee ess: i haven't dug back into your archives, but are your dogs really named K and R or are they abreviations for anonymity? just curious as to the orgin of their names.

  13. Oh, KB, I will be thinking of you walking with Sue today, THERE is a spirit lifter !

    I'm sure you'll be a good little pill popper after yesterday's experience !


  14. Hey there KB
    Oh dear, how we love to keep the control we have over our own lives! The meds are your friends at this stage (embrace them?), but i appreciate your frustration.
    I had an idea - suggested in totally good faith...How about going back and re-reading some of your own posts (pretend that you are an outsider)? You might also be blessed with their inspiration and upliftment. You will notice that many of the things you have feared most have simply not happened. I am sure that they will uplift you too!

    Hope tomorrow is a much better and painfree day. Sending lots and lots of love from us all

  15. I hope tomorrow will be a better day for you.
    I have no doubt that you will be back on your bike soon.
    Thank goodness for your two wonderful companions.

    Byron's Mom

  16. Oh, hang in there KB! I've been tempted to chicken out of my morning hikes with my dog because of the inclement weather here on the West coast. Whenever temptation arises, I remember all your winter treks, and your current strength to get moving, and I'm out the door! My dog and I stop at our favorite lookout point to think of you and your canine family.

  17. When you start messing with your pain med dosage it's yet another sign that you are healing faster than expected. You've got a crazy great view from that recumbent--and a cup holder! Keep it up! You are an inspiration!

  18. KB, I like Max's reminder that a lot of the things we fear most and try to prepare for, simply don't happen. I sure wish I knew how to balance not worrying about those things and not being oblivious and doing something foolhardy. Still, it comes down to fitting whatever goodness we can manage into today. For now that's your walks and the time spent with your pups, family, and friends (and reading all the wonderful, supportive comments, of course).

  19. We know how tough the early part of a surgery recovery can be, but just remember it will get better. Hopefully the pain meds will start to do their jobs after a while - it does take them way to long to get back to the level they were, but of course, when they aren't working that is immediate, isn't it. We are glad that you have such a great place to recover in and can at least get out and walk a bit. Plus, you are right that this give you a lot of nap time - take advantage of it while you can. Sending lots of purrs and feel better thoughts your way!

  20. Hi!! K and R know you need them more than ever right now. They have beautiful spirits! So glad you have many wonderful folks that are visiting. And, the indoor bike! Great that you can keep those cycling muscles warm, and with a view! The many naps and screw-bottom boots sound perfect for progressing your healing as well.

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose

  21. Ooph. Definitely stay ahead of the pain. Sorry that lesson crashed upon you.

    I'm glad, though, that you can spin on the recumbent inside and keep your legs/heart/lungs strong.

    If my life wasn't so ridiculous right now, I would totally come visit. I'm sorry that I cannot.

    Enjoy your naps and your canine pals. I'm glad to see K out and about too. Poor girl with her tummy trouble.

  22. Hang in there! Tomorrow is new day and with each new day your healing will be farther along and the pain less...

    My little smushfaces say to put everything in perspective. They couldn't even walk in that snow or they'd be buried up to their snorty nose.

    Enjoy the winter and your solitude. Before you know it it'll be a new season.


If you are a Blogger registered user, you can skip the step asking you to verify that you are not a spammer. For posts older than 5 days, I have comment moderation turned on.

Thanks for your comments!!!!!