Wednesday, August 24, 2011

anatomy of a beatdown

Last Wednesday marked the first meeting of the season for the Forest Hills Park Cyclocross Association (FHPCXA). Most of the Trustees were in attendance and it looked to be more of a fun social ride, rather than on of the typical bile-inducing workout sessions. An excellent way to kick off the 2011-12 season.

With grand ambitions, Linus and I were discussing the logistics of an October 22nd Durham CX race (stay tuned). Rolling easily at the back of the pack for the first portion of the first lap, shortly after we turned from pavement onto grass, well, that was the end of it.

We were turning toward the left, just slightly and my front wheel seemed to hit something. I felt like it slid out, but that would have dropped me down on my left size. Instead, I must have hit a rut or a root and toppled over the far side of the bike or handlebars, landing squarely on my shoulder. It didn't seem too bad at first and I checked my right shoulder to make sure I hadn't dislocated it (again). It felt fine but something else wasn't quite right. Surveying the rest of my body, I quickly noticed that my collarbone was much lumpier than it typically is. Okay. This is happening.

The FHPCXA quickly sprang into action. Although my memory of the specifics are a bit hazy, I am thankful I was riding with such a helpful and experienced group. I was swiftly helped back to the parking lot, strung-up with an innertube sling, reassured with several other personal accounts of broken collarbones and other tales of assorted injuries and subsequent recoveries.

Soon enough I was back to familiar territory, the Duke Hospital ER. The staff was very helpful and got things moving pretty quickly and my gratitude to them for that. Since the bone didn't look like it wanted to go back to it's normal place on its own they decided to do surgery, but since the bone wasn't actually sticking out of the skin, they decided to wait until Thursday morning. Even with heavvvy medication, a broken collarbone does not make for a good night's sleep. Add to that the fact that nurses stopped by every few hours to check my vitals, which is good for death prevention, but I had to keep telling them that yes, my resting heart rate is in the 30s now and just because the machine is set to have an alarm go off for heart rates lower than they typical Durham couch potato, there is nothing to worry about.

I'm guessing that trauma clinic reports are a lot like race reports in their similarity and tediousness ("and then this nurse stopped by and gave me jell-o!") so I'll cut to the chase. One titanium plate, 6 screws, and about 24 hours later, I ambled out to the curb to meet the awaiting Kathleen (who was with me the whole time and was so supportive). I was still wearing the hospital "reverse-robe" since I couldn't really get a shirt on. I hadn't showered in 3 days, which included a bicycle ride and lots of drug/pain induced sweating. I was wearing pants (I ditched the chamois the first day, in case you were wondering), but I reckon I looked like a patient trying to escape the hospital, or at least the bill (I haven't seen that yet, but I'm sure that'll be worth of a blog).

In any event, thanks to all for your tremendous support and I hope to see you back on the bike very soon.

4 comments:

John Miles said...

Ugh. That's awful. Sorry to hear about your wreck, but glad that you got some good care.

oishikatta said...

Titanium plate? And to think I thought you are a steel guy?

co2cycle said...

perhaps i'm really a titanium guy trapped in a steel guy's salary. either way, the torsional rigidity of this plate should make shouldering any bike pretty easy. well, easy on the shoulder, perhaps not on the bike.

AllysGma said...

Sorry about your injury...and those annoying nurses. Hope you are feeling better!