« June 2007 | Main | August 2007 »

July 22, 2007

healing and a big move

here's a look at the titanium plate and the hardware that Dr. Preston took out of my shoulder.


So it's been 12 days since my surgery. my shoulder feels good, perhaps a bit tight where the Dr. trimmed away a bit of the scar tissue from the last surgery, but it's healing really quick and i'm very excited to be able to go backpacking without the weight of the pack pinching the skin of my shoulder against the titanium plate.
Also, my knee has lost most of the swollen appearance it had after the surgery, and i'm up to 90 percent range of motion. the time i spent favoring my right leg led to some significant muscle atrophy on my right quad. it's readily apparant, and physically i can feel that it's weaker when i walk up stairs. still, i've been stretching, walking a bunch, and according to my surgeon's orders, i've been riding my bike around SF a bit, for rehab as he put it. which is fine with me, better then fine actually, for the time i spend not being able to ride my bike is always a bit frustrating.

as for the big move portion of the title of this post, well, after more then a year of pondering it, i've decided to move to New York City. my plane flys out on the 8th of August from SFO, and there's no return ticket. actually, there will be return tickets, since i plan to return to SF at the end of Sept. for the premier of my film that's showing in the Bicycle Film Festival, but otherwise, i'm gonna try the East coast life.
I'm currently liquidating my possessions here in SF, with the goal of having everything i plan to take with me down to a huge duffle bag, a bike box, and a few backpacks.
i could type a lot about being excited for New York and sad about leaving SF after 3 and a half years, but those words have been floating around in my head enough these past days that i don't feel the need to subject you to them.

i might even have a going away party here in SF. That's one thing i've never done.

hope all are well.

Posted by bendan at 05:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 11, 2007

Recovering from double surgery

I'm at my mother's house, outside of Reno. It's quiet out here, especially at night. She has horses and cats and chickens, and every day there are tons of rabbits and quails in her yard.
So i had my surgery yesterday. I must say, i felt very calm going into it, even though i didn't have any family waiting with me before the operation. I sat in the pre-op room and waited, listening the the different anesthesiologists talking to their patients about how they were going to put them under, and for how long. One woman was a Jehovah's witness, and needed reassuring from the doctor that they wouldn't give her any blood transfusions, even if she needed them. It seemed to contradict the fact that she was about to be put under sedation and operated on, but i'm sure there are rationalizations for everything.
As i was sitting there, i remembered how as a child, my father would take me on his rounds to visit patients. I can still see the green walls of the VA and recall clearly the smells of chemical cleaners and urine. That must be why i am so comfortable in hospital settings.
It's such a strange moment, knowing that your breathing will soon be under someone else's complete control. I felt very confident in my doctors, and the last thing i remember is them connecting an IV to my forarm, injecting in a precursor to the main general anasthetic. I was out before they even wheeled me all the way into the Operating Room.
I awoke an hour and a half later, in the recovery room. there was a large bandage on my shoulder, and an Ace bandage wrap around my swollen up right knee. I felt so much bettter then the last time i came out of surgery, so much more lucid and not so despistado as we say in spanish. They wheeled me out to the waiting room, and after picking up my prescription for Vicodin, my mom and I headed out to her car, and out here to Washoe Valley.

I stayed up late last night, watching the Tour de France and feeling the effects of the novacaine that they "packed" into my wounds wearing off. The medical adage is to "stay ahead of the pain," and i did just that, taking several vicodin before falling off to sleep. I have bad memories from after my last surgery, memories of a dull aching pain in my shoulder and of the vicodin haze i had to stay in enough so that i could sleep. This time I am already planning to tail off on the pills as soon as possible.

One of the cool things about the surgery is that they gave me the hardware that had been in my shoulder from last September. Since i broke my digital camera last time i was in reno, i can't take a photo of it, but as soon as i get the camera repaired i will do so. it looks really cool, and it's weird to think that it was in my shoulder for so long, holding my bones together.

Today i awoke early and watched the Tour live, and they hung out with my mom and her cats for most of the day. Every time the pain started to spike i swallowed a pill, but i'm taking them far enough apart that I don't feel so dulled by them. I read a bunch of internet news and worked a little on the abbreviated film i will make with the small amount of footage i managed to take from my bike trip before i bailed out. looking over the footage and the photos made me sad, thinking about how only 3 weeks ago i was in high spirits, powering myself across the country. oh well, maybe next summer.

alright, gonna listen to this American Life on the Ipod and play solitaire. hope all are well.

Posted by bendan at 10:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 09, 2007


so after some question as to whether i would have surgery tomorrow or in 2 weeks, the result is that i'm going under the knife tomorrow at noon thirty. Not only will the doctor fill my knee up with fluid so that he can poke some scopes in to cut away some torn meniscal cartilage, but he will also revisit his previous work, and remove the titanium plate that's sitting atop my healed up clavicle. This plate has been the cause of some pain anytime that i carry a backpack, and seeing as i'm one he plans to backpack and participate in wilderness travel for the rest of my life, i need that troublesome piece out. which is going to happen. tomorrow.
this means that i'll be back on the vicodin train for a while, which means that i will be dazed and loopy. but i feel very grateful to my dad and jane for being so amazing about this, to my mom for taking time out of her schedule to let me sit around her house for a few days, eating pain killers, and to all my friends both here in SF and in little old Reno for giving me support.
as a thank you, watch this video about fainting goats:

Posted by bendan at 11:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack