Sally just went under the knife.
Being in this waiting room has reminded me of all the really important reasons that we should do our best to take care of our bodies and minds. When I get really tied up in measuring and restricting and calculating, it’s nice to have a moment like this to bring it all back into perspective.
Live smart so that you can live long.
Last year we discovered that Sal had a condition called Cholesteatoma. Tons of tiny, benign tumors had grown in his ear for years, eventually tunneling through his eardrum, destroying it completely. It had also begun to grow into and deteriorate his facial bone structure. He was lucky – they caught it before it eroded his skull, exposing him to brain infection.
He had surgery last summer to remove the tumors and it took 6 hours to do the job. Upon completion his surgeon pronounced it the worst case she had ever seen. Luckily, they have not grown back in the past 9 months, and today Sal is able to have a second surgery in which they will reconstruct his eardrum with the help of a prosthesis. Hopefully, this will restore a lot of the hearing that he’d lost.
Surgery is traumatic and invasive. The body is not accustomed to be hacked apart and then resewn. It’s a huge stressor on all systems and don’t even get me started on general anesthesia. The better your fitness level going in, the faster you’re going to heal and the faster your recovery time. Keeping your body in good shape is about a lot more than looking good, it’s essential for staying healthy over the long haul.
Sal’s recovery last year was astoundingly fast, impressing his surgeon to no end. His drive to get well? The bike, of course. The faster he could get back on two wheels, the better. He virtually willed himself well.
This year he vowed to be at top form going into the surgery to ensure a speedy return to the bike and to racing. His gold medal last Saturday in the Oregon State TTT Championships was just the boost that he needed going into this.
Yesterday he came home from work with “33 of 252” written on his hand.
It was his overall OBRA ranking for Cat 4 riders – 33rd out of 252 racers!
“I wanted to remember to tell you!” he explained. “I knew you would be proud of me.”
And so was the intake nurse this morning when she noticed it as she inserted the I.V.
“We’ll just put the IV over here,” she said, careful to avoid the barely visible stat. “That’s pretty impressive.”
She’s right. It is. And Sally has earned that number with hours of suffering, sweat, and lactic agony. I know he’ll come out of today’s surgery fists flying, ready to heal quickly and return to long, lonely training miles in the country roads surrounding our Portland home.
Hell, I’m so inspired I might even join him.