My neurosurgeon Dr. C. is a cheerful and humorous guy. He promised that at my three-month visit he would “turn me loose into the wild.” And he has! Not to fly off into the forest but to do all my normal activities.
I told him that I’m doing extremely well but still working on strength, particularly in the left hip, and balance. He said balance was the last thing to come back, and suggested that my PT Valerie could get me standing on an upside-down Bosu ball to strengthen the little muscles around the hip that contribute to it.
I asked how I could avoid re-injury, besides the obvious thing of avoiding bending and twisting at the same time. He said that was the big one. But besides that, “people get injured when they are tired,” so be careful of that. Also, “avoid falls.” And “remember you’re not 18 anymore.” True, though I don’t like to dwell on that.
I know a number of skaters who are under similar orders to avoid falls. Two have hip replacements, two have plates and screws from wrists broken badly while skating. One skates with a helmet after repeated head injuries. As Dr. C. and I discussed earlier, it’s a matter of risk and benefit and it’s up to me.
I’m a lot less inclined to ever take on projects like learning the axel if I’m really supposed to be avoiding the hard falls. I never have done more than play with the axel exercises, but it’s something that I thought I might be able to learn someday.
All the areas I had that needed surgery were on the left side of my spine. I asked Dr. C. previously whether that had to do with repeatedly landing and falling on my left side through my life. I skate lefty, so I land on the left leg and tend to fall on the left hip. He said that no, it was not what I thought. The landing forces tend to be equalized by the time they get to the spine. Rather, it could be from repeated torsion, from turning more often in that direction. That certainly could be true since in every jump I rotate to the left.
Dr. C. wants me to call him at a year. I promised him a skating video then, and he wants to see that.