Saturday, August 15, 2015

A Flair For The Dramatic

As I sit here typing slowly with only my right hand, I'm trying to figure out how to explain how I'm feeling about all the miles I've put on my bike this year, all the recent hill climbing, the weight loss, the noticeably improved fitness...and the fact that I won't be able to ride the 108 mile Coeur d'Fondo next month.

Yes, my friends, I've once again had a bike accident. This one, however, was a doozy. It was violent, and it broke my left arm.

It was going to be a relatively short, flat and easy ride with my riding buddy Tom. 40 miles total, out and back on the Centennial Trail. All was going well. We were two miles from the end of the ride when we had to move left to pass a runner. I was on the far left and didn't see a big bump, hidden in a shadow. We were riding at a good clip when I hit the bump and went flying with my bike. It happened very fast, so I couldn't tell you exactly how I landed. All I know is that my body skid several feet before stopping. I laid there moaning, and Tom told me not to move. Blood was gushing from the back of my right arm, and my left arm was bent in a very unnatural way. The shock and adrenaline masked the pain at first, but once I stood up, I started feeling it. I had to hold my left forearm in place with my right hand, otherwise it would twist and flop completely over (sorry) and hurt. Badly. Tom walked me to a shady spot in a nearby parking lot while he rode off to get his car to drive me to the ER. My wife, who Tom called for me, was already at the ER when we arrived.

After too long a wait, I was taken back for X-rays. They X-rayed my left arm, right elbow and left knee, all of which took the brunt of the impact. My left radius was cleanly snapped in half and nearly sticking through the skin. Any movement of my left arm was agonizing, and I nearly shed a manly tear or two as the X-ray tech positioned my arm for several images.

Back to the waiting room for a L-O-N-G time again, then finally back in to get the bone re-set and splinted.

I was given a tetanus shot, Propofol (the drug that killed Michael Jackson) to put me under, along with Demerol for the pain. For some reason (adrenaline? fear of ending up like Jacko?) I never drifted off. One of the docs said he had never seen that before.

The procedure involved hanging my left arm by my fingers (using metal traps that look like those old Chinese finger traps) and having the arm bent at 90 degrees. Then, they hung a sling from my upper arm with weights in it to pull the bones apart. Even with the drugs, that was loads of fun, kids. After several minutes of manipulation, they still weren't able to get the bone to stay in place, so they did the best they could, splinted it, and said I would likely need surgery.

After the splint hardened, I was wheeled back for a CAT scan, which confirmed that I also had a fractured bone in my wrist (probably from an earlier crash this year). Since it doesn't seem to be an issue, it'll be left alone, although they said it could be removed entirely if it still caused pain.

Finally, six and a half hours into my happy hospital visit, I was allowed to go home (stopping by the pharmacy on the way to get my pain meds).

I met with the orthopedist yesterday and will have surgery this coming Tuesday to get a plate and pins put in to keep the bone in place. They will be permanent. If my insurance will cover it, I'd like to opt for bionic parts, maybe with a lazer gun option.

The important question, you're probably asking, is, "how's the bike?" Well, it's pretty banged up and will need some repairs. I'll let the bike shop assess the damage once I'm able to take it in.

In all seriousness, that invisible bump may end up making our savings account invisible, even WITH my insurance.

Sleeping with a splint and sling has been difficult, but the Percocet has helped a little. And, fortunately, I'm married to a patient woman. She'll have to be, not only because I need help doing many things, but also because I'll be getting very restless and grumpy not being able to ride, run or work out for several weeks.

So, with that said, here are some pictures. Don't scroll down if you're queasy about this sort of thing...

Are we having fun yet? Just before drugs & reduction time.

Side view of left forearm

Top view of left forearm

Right arm, after clean-up. Somehow got a hole nearly down to the bone.

Nice road rashes on right knee.