Hip Hooray!

Hip x-raySix years ago today, I was run over by a truck while cycling. My left femur was broken in two, and I suffered a major concussion. Emergency surgery followed, and the result is what you see on the left. A couple of stainless steel rods, drilled directly into my bones, and a big screw to hold things in place.

I love this x-ray. (Click on the image to see all the gnarly details.) It’s a wonderful combination of sophisticated orthopedic surgery and some very basic mechanics. I think of it as my hardware upgrade.

Following the surgery, I had fourteen months of physiotherapy, three times a week, until I was functional again. That meant I could walk, climb stairs, and sit normally. But I couldn’t walk for more than twenty minutes at a time, and then I did so with a slight lurch. As if that weren’t enough, seven months after the surgery (the day before Christmas Day, in fact) I was told I had prostate cancer. 2005 wasn’t exactly a great year.

I did start running again, but not until January 0f 2008. During the interim, I went through a lot. The physical rehab was part of it, but the psychological and emotional stuff was an even greater journey. I struggled with my image of myself as a strong healthy man. I was forced to admit that I don’t deal with pain very well. There were times when I was simply frightened, more than I’d ever been before. But I also learned that I was a survivor, and that I could, with patience and determination, work things through. As a result, I now look at life differently that I did before May 4, 2005. I realize that I really am a very strong old animal – and I celebrate that truth every single day.

Hip hooray, indeed!

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4 comments

  1. Alan:

    This literally brought tears to my eyes. You’re an awesome dude, my friend…and I’m proud to call you that!

    Happy Anniversary! :^)

    T

  2. Just goes to show you – You can’t keep a good man down!

    It’s no small thing that you’ve gone through all of this and worked your way back to running ultra’s. Your struggle through your ordeals are inspirational.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Daniel. In truth, though, the hip thing was a kind of gift. I wouldn’t have asked it to happen, but I’ve learned an awful lot from it.

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