Escaped from the Hospital

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The title of this post isn’t quite accurate. It should have been, released from the hospital. I didn’t have to sneak out or anything. My guy, Doctor Karam came by yesterday morning and we had a good talk. He told me that the surgery went as perfect as it can go. He said that he was confident that if I had the ability to stand on my leg that it would be strong enough to hold my weight and that he doesn’t foresee any issues. Man, this guy is one of the chosen few. I was very fortunate to get excellent counseling from my friend Stacie, which connected me to Dr. Karam. He is so good that I’m going to use him for my follow-up appointments, even though it is a 6 hour drive.

Dr. Karam told me yesterday that I could head home anytime I felt up to it. Normally it is a 3 day stay, but like I posted yesterday, the foot traffic through the room and lack of sleep doesn’t make for much recovery. So, I did a PT session, walked on some crutches, up and down stairs, had one more bag of IV antibiotics and headed home less than 24 hours after surgery. It might have been just a tad premature looking back now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to have that drive behind me, but yesterday wasn’t pleasant. It was actually down right ugly.

My left leg is so swollen that it is nearly impossible to move. Plus, my right rotator cuff shoulder is a little tweaked from the crash, so using crutches is awkward and a little sketchy. I did sleep pretty much 8 hours straight last night, so feel a ton better already. But my leg is crazy big. I weighed myself and am 168 lbs. I left Topeka just a week ago at around 150. And my stomach skinfold is next to nothing, so nearly all that extra weight has to be fluid buildup. That is a lot it seems.

I’m not going to go crazy and push anything here, but I’m optimistic that I’ll be riding really soon. I know that the soft tissue damage is going to take a long time to repair itself, but the bone should be really good in 6 weeks. That is hardly the middle of July.

One downside of leaving the hospital early yesterday was that I missed out on some treats. Bob Hayes, Muscatine promoter, came by with some homemade chocolate chip cookies after I left. Plus, Jay Thomas, (Trek Stores owner, Capo Clothing) sent me a Hawaiian pizza since I posted how bad the food was. So nice on both of their parts.

One reason I wanted to get back was because Brian is racing the Dirty Kanza on Saturday and I was hoping to be able to go over to Emporia and cheer him on some. Right now that seems like a stretch, but maybe I’ll feel a little better in a couple days.

Okay, gonna try to catch up on some sleep and food today. I have only had 4 meals since Monday morning and that is just about how many hours I’ve slept too.

This is what they did.   Looks pretty good to me.

This is what they did. Looks pretty good to me.

This is the guy that did the work above, Dr. Karam.  He is one of those guys, the special ones.

This is the guy that did the work above, Dr. Karam. He is one of those guys, the special ones.

It was nice getting all the tube out of my body yesterday.

It was nice getting all the tube out of my body yesterday.

Michael (Fatka) made a surprise visit, right when I was leaving the hospital.  We left, ate lunch with Michael, then did the 6 hour drive back.

Michael (Fatka) made a surprise visit, right when I was leaving the hospital. We left, ate lunch with Michael, then did the 6 hour drive back.

This is Kirk Willett.  He came by and visited a couple times.  He rode for Mercury and Prime Alliance 15 years ago, then took over the DS position at Toyota-Unite, before going to Medical School.  He has 6 emergency room shifts left and then he is done with residency and is moving back to the state of Washington to practice.  It was great having him come by.  He's wearing a flight suit here.  He was on call to go out on the Life Flight helicopter, so was prepared.

This is Kirk Willett. He came by and visited a couple times. He rode for Mercury and Prime Alliance 15 years ago, then took over the DS position at Toyota-Unite, before going to Medical School. He has 6 emergency room shifts left and then he is done with residency and is moving back to the state of Washington to practice. It was great having him come by. He’s wearing a flight suit here. He was on call to go out on the Life Flight helicopter, so was prepared.

15 thoughts on “Escaped from the Hospital

  1. Clay Moseley

    Hey Steve…all the best for a speedy recovery and getting back in the saddle. It’s all in the life of a bike racer…and a bull rider =) You’ll be back in no time. Definitely get on a trainer as soon as you can so that it gets all that blood flow going to that area and getting the flexibility back. It’ll also help get rid of all that fluid retention. Well, you probably know all this already. I just remember Bart, Kent, Ryan Blickem, etc. all having this same injury and how getting right back on the bike helped out exponentially.

    Great to see Kirk Willet! How cool. I did know he was just about done with his residency there, but didn’t think about the fact that the two of you were in the same place at the same time. I have some memories of riding with Kirk. I still remember when he won the Visalia Classic in such an amazing way.

     
  2. Clay Moseley

    Hey Steve…all the best for a speedy recovery and getting back in the saddle. It’s all in the life of a bike racer…and a bull rider =) You’ll be back in no time. Definitely get on a trainer as soon as you can so that it gets all that blood flow going to that area and getting the flexibility back. It’ll also help get rid of all that fluid retention. Well, you probably know all this already. I just remember Bart, Kent, Ryan Blickem, etc. all having this same injury and how getting right back on the bike helped out exponentially.

    Great to see Kirk Willet! How cool. I did know he was just about done with his residency there, but didn’t think about the fact that the two of you were in the same place at the same time. I have some great memories of riding with Kirk. I still remember when he won the Visalia Classic in such an amazing way.

     
  3. SB

    STEEL IS REAL, BABY! Ha! Wondering why you did’t specify Ti for the hardware??? Kidding of course… take care old man, be smart and heal right, tired of seeing you on injure reserve all the time!

     
  4. Mary Pelletier

    The fluid is a result of the trauma (and the surgery) . It will begin to dissipate. Watch for signs of infection, blood clot etc. It should be mentioned in your discharge orders. Heal fast

     
  5. MV

    Great to see you do so well.
    I do feel you are cutting a lot of surgeons short for calling your surgeon “one of the chosen few” for a repair that seems the standard of practice for a fracture like that.
    Looks nice on the film for sure.

     
  6. Steve Tilford Post author

    MV-No insult intended at all to other ortho surgeons. But, just like all occupations, there are okay surgeons to great ones. Dr. Karam is on staff, at one of the best teaching hospitals in the country. Plus, it is a level one trauma center, so they see many more surgical cases from accidents, like mine. It is very hard to get a residency at this hospital in surgery. It is nearly a given he is the best of the best in his field.

     
  7. usedtorace

    Cool, Kirk Willett was in a couple of junior nationals road races that I did in the 80s. He must be in his early 40s now and just finishing med school….very cool! Originally from Washington state?

     
  8. ScottO

    Hope you heal up fast!

    I’ve been following your posts, have you yet heard an explanation from someone at the race? It seems that your hip absorbed all/most of the force from the fall. What happened?

     
  9. Mr.Frack

    Now you listen Steve. I know you hate antibiotics, but this time you take every dang one of them they gave you. If you get an infection in that fracture, you are major screwed over. Trust me on this one, please? Best wishes and heal fast.

     
  10. Brian

    Best of wishes for a full and speedy recovery!

    Now that the surgeon has done his job, your recovery will be up to you and your physical therapy and therapists. The therapists will do their very important part, but you will do the sweating. Because of the active life you have lived, you are an exception to the norm and this should help you alot in your recovery. Plus, you have been training for a long time and the p.t. is simply another type of training. You will do fine. Let the experts direct you and do what they ask of you. Push hard, but don’t overdo it.

    Most likely, you will meet some pretty cool people along this journey. Other recovering patients, therapists, nurses, doctors and such. Since you won’t be riding for a while, you will be forced to do other things for entertainment and exercise, and that can also be a positive experience. It is very possible that sometime in the future, you will look back on this whole experience as being a positive one. Painful yes, but to a large degree, positive. I speak from personal experience on this subject.

    As for getting back on the the bike- There are very few, if any, doctors and/or psychologists who would advise a person to stay away from cycling unless there are specific medical reasons for doing so. Obviously, there are many more positive aspects of cycling and sport than negative. Good for the body and good for the mind. And if you still like to ride and you still want to ride, then you should ride. If not, then don’t. Use your best judgement.

    Give your now repaired body the time needed for healing and you’ll be in good shape in a relatively short time. Chin up and good luck!

     
  11. KevinK

    Steve, did he discuss hardware removal (I know it is early)? I had a similar fracture three years ago, ultimately fixed with a blade plate and screws. They removed the hardware a year after the surgery to reduce residual pain – and found that my leg muscle had adhered to the plate (which was causing the pain). I’m actually glad I went through the additional surgery….

    Best wishes for a quick recovery, we aren’t getting any younger.

     
  12. mickey

    you’re a true warrior, steve…and a warrior with heart. unfortunately, this is one of those things that warriors have to go through sometimes. keep fighting and heal-up. i look forward to more from-the-heart posts.

     

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