My biggest fear going into the surgery was inactivity (little did I know how much inactivity I was in for). For this reason, I purchased one of those cheap little pedals that you can use to work out either your arms or your legs and set up shop in the kitchen by putting the pedal on a table under a bathmat so it won't move around. I never thought I would be so happy to use a handbike.
I have a rather ambivalent history with handbikes. Two years ago, I was not allowed to play basketball because no one knew whether my crazy hip was causing nerve damage. I was therefore the only one who didn't suit up when the Fighting Illini visited Alabama for a women's tournament. And I was the only one to receive a concussion.
Frustrated by being on the sidelines, I slipped away for a little handbiking in one of the facility's many workout facilities. I had my ipod cranked up and was sweating away in the little room, sweating out my incredible frustration levels, getting the old exercise-induced endorphins flowing, totally caught up in the kick-ass fiddle of some Celtic rock, when I reached down to change the track on my Ipod. And was thrown backwards. For a moment, I thought that someone had thrown a rock at me and I looked around to see where the attack was coming from. There was a sharp pain in my forehead and blood on my fingers when I put my hand up there to test. And suddenly it occurred to me: I had not been shot or hit by any other flying projectile. I had not been bitten by an exotic Southern bug and I had not been the victim of a random attack. I had conked my stupid head on a sharp metal piece protruding out of the handbike when I bent down to change the song. With blood running down my nose, I went to sheepishly alert our poor athletic trainer Jen that I would require some assistance.
Ten minutes later, I was remarking on how painfully bright the light coming through the windows was. A few minutes after that, I was suddenly immensely tired. I have a few hazy memories of JB poking me and urging me to wake up and fighting off the urge to tell her to f*ck off because I was so incredibly, unbelievably exhausted and I had a bad headache. That's right. I was the only one player in the entire tournament to not spend a minute on the court. And I was the only one to be off for two weeks with a concussion. Because I am just that special.
Fast forward to today. Same euphoric state of hand-bike bliss, different music (The New Pornographers' "Challengers"). I reached out to again change the volume on my Ipod and felt a pain in my hand, which was quickly turning red and throbbing. It turns out that you get what you pay for. My poor little handbike was not used to my particular brand of enthusiasm and friction had caused the metal I had rested my hand against had been heated to red-hot. I had been burned by my own kinetic energy.
Still, (since I am supposed to be in the business of doling of hip replacement advice), a handbike is a cheap and effective way to get your heartrate up when you're spending months perfecting the ass-indentation in your bed. It is more fun than trying to predict just how low TLC will go in their quest for the most ridiculous reality show (their latest offering: "I'm a Hoarder!") Just make sure that you invest in a model that does not pose a significant burn risk or you, too, will be unable to fully grip the handrails as you descend the stairs because the side of your hand has been lightly seared.