December 08, 2016
Next week I'm having surgery on my shoulder. It turns out I've dislocated it a few too many times, and I need to get it sorted. It's not that big a deal but it is going to affect how Airdrop is run over the next few weeks; it's kinda hard to build a bike with only one arm...
Anterior dislocation of the right shoulder. It's a classic mountain biking injury, and I guess it's one that plenty of people reading this have been through themselves. The first is always the worst, and I wish I had a rock & roll story about landing a 60ft gap to flat, but I haven't. Actually I did it half drunk at my wife's birthday party when the inevitable mucking-about-on-bikes kicked in (I was on a hot lap and would clearly have won if someone hadn't put that tree in the way). I was younger than I am now, so didn't do the recovery like I should have, and just carried on riding bikes. A few dislocations later and now it just pops out for the stupidest of reasons. Last time it was the night before the 'Ard Rock Enduro, and I didn't get to race. Time to get it sorted.
I'm going in for a surgery next week. An Arthroscopic Bankart Repair, to give it it's full name. Basically they're going to pin the glenoid ligament back into place using what appears to be a only-slightly modified rawl-plug. Yes, there is a hammer and a power drill involved. But I'm assured it will all be fine and the good news is, I'll be under general anaesthetic so I won't have any idea what the dude with the drill is up to. The bad news is that I'll be out of action for some time - and that's likely to affect how I'm able to run Airdrop Bikes.
The short answer is that I don't know - not exactly. We can pretty much write-off next week because I'll be in hospital and then recovering from the surgery itself. Then I'll have my arm in a sling and totally immobilised for at least 4 weeks. After that it's a 12-week course of physio to gradually regain a full range of movement and only then will I be able to start training again.
In the short term I have to ask you for your patience. I'm not shutting Airdrop but I'll have to take things a bit slower than usual.
Normally my way of dealing with a problem is to break it down into chunks and then just work my ass off until the problem has been crushed. That's not going to work this time so I'll be getting some help in to do the physical stuff - building bikes and shipping orders. That'll take a short while to get sorted and to get everything dialled.
You can contact me as normal either on email or through Facebook Messenger. I'll get back to you as soon as I can. If you want to place an order, you can still do that, it'll just take a bit longer for me to process than it normally does.
Since my first meeting with the consultant, the big question for me has been how to judge whether or not to actually have the surgery. Yes, the shoulder is a problem as it is, and I'm developing arthritis in it which makes matters worse. But the consequences of the surgery are also hard to deal with: I'm running a small business single-handed, I have a young family and we're about to have another child in the next few weeks. Looks like some interesting times coming up...
There's plenty of official medical advice out there but as usual it's pretty bland and nobody really wants to tell you what the recovery is going to be like. The only thing I found that was really informative was a skier's personal account on the Teton Gravity Research forum. So if any of you reading this have knackered your shoulder, and you think there's value in me keeping you updated on how the surgery goes and what the recovery process is like, I'll post it up on here.
If anyone out there has actually had a Bankart Repair, and you want to share your insight into the process, I'd like to hear from you. Contact me in the usual way.
Ed is the owner of Airdrop Bikes. A former web and graphic designer, he sacked off his job one day and decided to start up a bike brand.
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