In the 11 days since my last post (sorry), I’ve jogged. Since I resumed going in to the office to work, I got up at 4:40 am, went to Ian’s gym, jogged on the treadmill for 40 minutes, and then came home and started my regular day. A couple times I jogged outside, but mostly I stuck pretty consistently to the surgeon’s instructions: No biking; no weight training; jog on a treadmill as much as you want until the two-month follow-up visit.
Needless to say, I keenly anticipated that follow-up visit, which took place yesterday, January 17.
Let’s skip the dreary logistics of visiting California for one day. I’ll only note that, since we had snow the entire first three days of the week, I felt deeply relieved to drive on and take off from clear, wet roads.
Let’s also skip over how I killed time before and after the appointment, which was at 1:45 pm. I’ll write another post about the delightful “open spaces” (also known as “parks” everywhere else in the world) I enjoyed hiking through.
In fact, let’s skip straight to the heart of the post and talk about…
How The Follow-Up Went
I was scheduled for two back-to-back appointments:
- An ultrasound combined with the same ABI bike test I did right before the surgery. They did an imaging ultrasound to look at the artery; the ABI test measured my blood pressure before and after hard exercise.
- A 15-minute visit with Dr. Lee to review the test results and, hopefully, give me the go-ahead to resume normal biking and exercise.
The first appointment started off well. The technician, also an avid cyclist, got good pictures of the surgery area. He left to let me change into my bike clothes for the bike test, and when he came back in, Dr. Lee accompanied him. That’s where the plan got derailed: Dr. Lee came by to see me early because had to go do an emergency surgery, and couldn’t make our appointment that day. Instead, he said he’d review my results and arranged to call me Saturday morning.
With the slightly gloomy prospect of not actually getting the stamp of approval that day hanging over my head, I did the bike test. It went like this:
- Do 4 minutes of warm-up on super-easy resistance. After 4 minutes, turn the resistance up 50 watts.
- Ride with that resistance for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, turn the resistance up another 50 watts.
- Repeat step 2 until you can’t go anymore, or the leg starts hurting again.
When I did the test the first time, I made it a total of 8 minutes, including the warm-up. That means I rode with low resistance for 4 minutes, then at 50 watts for 3 minutes, and then I was barely able to do another minute after turning it up to 100 watts before my leg hurt so much I couldn’t continue.
This time I made it a total of 16 minutes, including the warm-up. I rode at low resistance for 4 minutes, then 3 minutes at 50 watts, 3 minutes at 100 watts, 3 minutes at 150 watts, and 3 minutes at 200 watts.
Now, admittedly, 200 watts isn’t exactly impressive output. I ride with guys who hold 200 watts as their regular power, and go way past that when riding up hills. But considering I haven’t ridden a bike in 57 days — that’s 8 weeks and one day, or 1 month and 27 days, but who’s counting? — and considering that before that I had been slowly tapering down as I babied my leg, so that I rarely put out more than 100 to 150 watts, and I never made it to 200 watts… Considering all that, putting out over 150 watts at all was doing pretty darn well.
I also wonder… I think I could’ve made it through another set. At the time I wasn’t sure, so when he asked, “Can you keep going?” I said probably not… but now I wish I’d tried.
Anyhow, I rode to fatigue and my leg never bothered me. That’s awesome news in and of itself, and I don’t need any other readings or data to tell me the surgery succeeded. But of course the technician took my ABI readings so we could empirically measure the difference.
Now I wait for Dr. Lee to call to discuss the results. Then I’m going for a bike ride!