Tuesday, October 16, 2007

. . . aaaaaand we're back!

Yep I'm lazy. Didn't get back to the blog for a long time. Well I have to try to change that habit.

My first excuse is that I bought myself a Giant OCR c3 road bike in February and I spent a lot of time riding it this year. That is, a lot of time riding it until I had an off-road cycling accident on July 21 that left me with a grade 5 shoulder separation. This would be my second excuse.

So there I was, happily noodling around on my mt. bike in the dirt when at one point, the bike went to the left, but I went to the right. I took a header (literally landed head first) and was knocked out for a few seconds. I came to face down in the dirt and said to the kind man who had rushed over to help me, "May I mamu-dogface to the banana patch?"* He said "WHAT?!!".

After taking a quick field assessment of my bodily functioning, and realizing that I could operate (most) limbs and (most of) the brainy bit successfully, I said, "I think I dislocated my shoulder; can you look at it?" I was, by this point, sitting cross-legged on the ground instead of face down talking gibberish as before. He bent over to look at it and wisely espoused, "Yep, it don't look right!"

I collected my 12-year-old step-son and what was left of my wits from the powdery dirt, then we walked back to the trailhead (only 3/4 of a mile away). During the walk, I experienced some really cool psychedelic action in my left eye. Then I started to get a headache. We got to the trailhead and there was another nice man standing there in his rollerblades. He looked at me curiously. I suspect he wondered why I was walking my bike and perhaps thought I looked awfully dirty -- I later realized that I was dust-covered head to toe.

I was calm during this calamity. No crying. No hysterics. No panic. I sat down on the park bench at the trailhead next to where the nice rollerblader was standing. I made some small talk with him that I don't remember. Finally, I told him I had an accident and I was waiting for the hubby to come off the trail and drive me to urgent care. His eyes nearly popped out of his head when I told him what happened and that I thought I had a dislocated shoulder. I don't know how long I was sitting there talking with him, but he finally said, after several failed attempts to call the hubby, that I should call an ambulance, so I did.

Hubby had been on the paved trail all this time. He couldn't hear me calling his mobile phone repeatedly because he was jamming to his iPod. Fortunately, the rollerblader at the trailhead who gently urged me to call the ambulance was nice enough to help me load the bikes on the rack and, while we were doing that, hubby rode up. So we cancelled the ambulance. Hubby took me to urgent care. Urgent care said I had to go to an ER because I had been knocked out and needed a CT scan. We loaded up and went to the ER.

ER was pretty good about getting me into a room and to see a dr. I remember there was a man writing info for me on my intake form and he said "How old are you?" and I said "uuuuuuum ... thirtyyyyyy ... six?" He said "yep!" I didn't tell him that I hadn't actually recalled my age -- just calculated it. However, I was happy that my brain was functioning well enough for me to calculate my age -- I figured the memory part would come back later.

Ultimately, I had a CT scan. Brain was fine, just shook up. Then they said "how's your pain?" I said, "eh, maybe 2 - 3 on a scale of 1 - 10; not bad" That's when they said, "oh, ok, well we're going to torture you to make it feel worse, but before we do that, we'll give you a tiny bit of morphine to take the edge off."**

So, 10 minutes after the morphine shot, they send me to x-ray to take pics of my shoulder. My torturer (a.k.a. x-ray tech) said "reach up above your head with both your hands and grab this bar up here." Yeah right. Let's just say the pain went from 2 - 3 to oh, I don't know, 11. I thought I was gonna' pass out from the pain.

After the torture session, the dr. said I had a grade 3 shoulder separation. I didn't really register what that meant. He said all my ligaments were severed and I had nothing holding my shoulder together except my shoulder muscles. Ewwwww. I think my stomach turned when I heard that. On the bright side, he said he was impressed with my pain tolerance; he said he had a grade 1 - 2 separation before and he was in excruciating pain.

So I went to an orthopedic surgeon July 25. She said it was a grade 5 separation. The difference between grade 3 and grade 5 is in a grade 5, not only are all 3 ligaments separated from the AC joint, but the end of the clavicle is poking up between the two muscles that come together at the top of the shoulder. Neat-o! Surgery was definitely in order.

Had surgery to repair it on July 30. Was in a sling until September 5. I was allowed back on the bike on September 17(-ish). Here's a good idea of what one's shoulder looks like with a shoulder separation (the injury in this person's photo is on the right shoulder).

Naturally, I won't let a silly thing like a shoulder separation keep me off the bike. Well, it might keep me off the mt. bike for a while, but I was ready to get back on the road bike. Matter of fact, I busted out a century (100-miler, for you non-cyclist types) ride on October 7. Sweet.

* Not really. I don't remember what the hell I said at that point, but it sure didn't make sense to him. Made perfect sense to me, however. . .
** OK they didn't really say that. They were actually quite kind to me there.

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