Reality Check

Lately I’ve been writing a lot about getting back to normal, to a pace of life that allows me to fit in work, workouts, housecleaning, cooking, and some time to relax. I felt like I was making pretty good progress – and I am, compared with where I started 10 weeks ago. However, I still haven’t been able to actually go to the office or drive, and I’m still slow.

This past Thursday and Friday I’d been scheduled to go to a meeting of home garden seed companies in Geneva, NY, which is a 30 minute drive from our house. The meeting was to involve both traditional sit-and-listen meetings and also tours of the Cornell Seed Lab and various vegetable trial plots. My doctor had cleared me to go, I’m sure thinking that the meeting was heavy on sit-and-listen and low on hike-around. I was excited to get out, and I really thought I’d be fine as far as energy and ability to get around.

Lovely cabbages in a trial plot.

This is where the reality check comes in! The meetings started at 7am, leaving me time to do a tiny bit of stretching but no PT exercises before leaving home. Then we toured field trials all of Thursday morning in the 55 degree mist and 10-20 mph wind, which translates into COLD even though I’d layered up. I was dressed well enough on my upper half, but I hadn’t worn long underwear on my legs, as I figured I’d bake during the indoor sessions. So it was the kind of cold where your muscles tense up imperceptibly, where you end up post-workout stiff even though you’ve just been standing around. Combine the chilliness with uneven ground and plenty of plots to visit, and the end result is, literally, a giant pain in the ass. I couldn’t wait to get off my feet by the time afternoon rolled around…and then I got to do it again on Friday. Oof.

This awesome red okra was my favorite variety from the trial plots. I think I'd name it Devil's Tower if it were mine to name, which it's not.

Equally frustrating was that, although I learned a lot from the tours and made some good contacts, I didn’t have the level of mental energy I usually do in settings like that. I got through the days and managed to get something out of them, but I couldn’t muster the level of focus or engagement I usually can. After the morning sessions, I just wanted a nap.

I also saw my doctor on Thursday afternoon, where she took my final xray, cleared me to start driving, and said I could start physically appearing at the office, part time, during the week of September 20th. Good stuff. But after the last two days, I’m glad the doctors are continuing with a gradual approach to this recovery. I’m learning that recovery really isn’t black and white, laid-up or walking, injured or healed. It’s a progression through many shades of gray, and the last couple of days showed me that although I’m making progress, I’m still firmly in the gray zone.

Last night I got to take a hot shower, eat a dinner of salad and leftover chili, and watch a Netflix movie with Michael. It was perfect, and I didn’t have a single dram of energy for anything more. (We were going to stop in the bike shop on our way home, and after parking outside, I couldn’t convince myself to get out of the car, even to see one of my favorite groups of people in the state.)

Back on the trainer!

So, it’s the weekend!!!!!!! It’s getting towards noon, which means I might change out of my pajamas and get my PT done. The Highlander Cycle Tour, which I got to ride in last year with my friend Toby, is going by the house this afternoon, so I might have to sit in the driveway and cheer. Michael is out for a ride right now; it’s mid-60’s and sunny, with no wind. Perfect. I’m so jealous!!!!! But I DID get back on the bike trainer this week…so I’ll be riding the Highlander next year!


About solveighanson

I'm a (late) thirtysomething Plant Breeding Ph.D. student, daughter / sister / auntie, vegetable fan, yogi, sometime cyclist, and enthusiastic if infrequent baker. I started this blog in the summer of 2010 to trace my recovery from a pelvic fracture sustained in a cycling accident. That healing process was truly transformative, and since then I seem to have written mostly about the transformations that have followed. And hence the title of the blog: Don't call me a butterfly, because I'm not done changing.
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2 Responses to Reality Check

  1. Ruth H says:

    We were thinking about you on your Thursday/Friday meetings—a reality check, but also another point to measure yourself against, in another week or two. What is “normal” is flexible—something for all of us to remember.

  2. Eddy Clark says:


    Keep at it girl, you’ll get there! I love following your recovery. By spring you’ll be crushing people on the bike!

    I know in a smaller degree how much it sucks to be limited by an injury. I did the Mountaineer part of the Highlander today and am pretty sore. Still not 100%, but I don’t have the sense to take it slow.

    I’m praying for you and looking forward to the day when you blow past me again!


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