The highs and (mainly) lows of breaking a collarbone

23rd May 2019

The highs and (mainly) lows of breaking a collarbone

I think it's fair to say this year has been a DIS-A-STER. Rehabbing from plica syndrome in my knee since November, broken ribs and now a broken collarbone. 

Iím now at week 8 post-accident. At week 5 it was clear the collarbone wouldnít heal on its own, so I had an operation and a plate put in. I was fairly upbeat as the consultant said 4-6 weeks to full-recovery; all very straight forward.

Europeans in RomaniaÖgame on!

Then, just before the op, the surgeon came in to talk me through things. The mood took a downward turn when he started talking 4 months' rehab and then another operation to remove the plate. 4 months! 4 freaking months!! I know I can be pedantic but thatís a tad different from 4-6 weeks.

Europeans in RomaniaÖno longer game on!

So, the highs and lows of breaking a collarbone. Well, let's face it, the highs are non-existent, so, letís crack on with the lows.

1. Since the op, my collarbone hurts. It really hurts. It makes all other experiences, including two drugs-free childbirths, a walk in the park. Iím amazed this is categorised as day surgery. I was bed-ridden for 4 days. 17 days on I am still really struggling.

2. Sleep. Oh, to be able to curl up in the foetal position. Oh, to not wake every 3 hours in pain. It turns out my traditional herbal medicinal restful nightís sleep product is utter tosh!

3. Strong painkillers send me loopy, give me heart palpitations and make me panicky. 

4. I'm finding a lot of people really annoying! 

  • Nosey strangers thinking I want to recall everything to them for the zillionth time. For the record, I donít! 
  • Well-intended up-beat problem-solvers suggesting the break from training and racing will be good for me. Itís an opportunity to take up a new hobby. Let's be clear, when you're in the form of your life, you are not wanting a break; you just want to bask in that form. So, please, just hush down!
  • People with injury-stories. Just because Iím injured I donít want to hear about other injuries. From some bloke showing off about his son being back on the bike after 2 weeks, to horror stories of recovery taking 2 years. I feel I'm having to work really hard to keep myself in a good head space. These don't help!

Iíd say the two best things that can be offered to an injured athlete are: empathy and practical help. Certainly, that's what I'm finding useful. 

P.S. Two things Iíve found really helpful on this ďjourneyĒ:

  • Form is temporary, class is permanent
  • There are always other races.
Author: Claire Hitchings


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