Chest shoulder x-ray

Check it out! Click for a full res view of this wonderful x-ray.

That’s an Acumed Locking Clavicle Plate in there. Cool technology. Take a look here. They lots of good info, images and videos.

The good news is that it’s all looking good, no complications, and I can get rid of the sling in another couple of weeks.

The bad new is: no significant loads for three whole months after surgery. That means no cycling until mid January.

Healing

October 15, 2010

The pain of Tue night and Wed dissipated surprisingly quickly. I didn’t take any narcs Thu, only a couple of Alieve, and today nothing. From the worst experience of pain of my life to a tolerable throb in about a day.

Now I feel tired a lot. I sleep 9-10 hours at night and take one or two naps during the day.

The dressing is off. The incision is seven inches long and messy looking—mostly still covered in steri-strips.

Sugery – pain

October 13, 2010

The surgery yesterday went smoothly, all according to plan.

The regional block anesthetic worked well and lasted, according to plan, to the late evening. It is now 1.30am and the pain is really bad, much worse than the days of/after the crash.

I’ve maxed out on the narcs—it seemed a generous Rx to me—but I’d take something much stronger now were it on offer.

It’s unfortunate. I’m sure I could benefit from some sleep.

Shoulder with road rash scab

Considering the effect of the crash on my helmet and collarbone, and the road rash on my shoulder, why wasn’t my jersey damaged in the slightest?

The photo of my shoulder is from 8 days after the crash. By the time of this photo, more than half the scab had fallen off. You’ll just have to use this as a basis to imagine what it was like on the day of the crash. The central stripe was a pretty good gouge into the skin.

Now look at the jersey. You can look closely at the picture at full resolution. There’s not a mark!

Cycling jersey back sideCycling jersey front side

It was nice of the ER staff, and the operators of the CAT and X-ray machines to not cut off the jersey. It’s not expensive but it’s unusual and cool and I dig it. It comes the era in which I first started following pro bike racing in my youth.

Actually, I don’t think the ER medics had much/any idea about the shoulder abrasion because the tight fitting jersey hid it—they would have given it some treatment otherwise.

My Oakley M-Frames were presumably left at scene of the crash. They had seen five years of solid use but there was nothing wrong with them apart from some lens scratches.

This stuff isn’t cheap to replace!

So far there’s a new helmet, the dental repair, co-pays for the ambulance ride and for the ER, opioid pain medicine, a second sling (they need to be laundered), more medicine for opioid side effects, another co-pay yesterday for the ortho-MD consultation.

Then there’s lost productivity (I am self-employed) and the upcoming costs of surgery.

It adds up.

But I am enormously thankful for the Commonwealth’s affordable socialized healthcare plan, without which things would be real bad.

Chest shoulder x-ray

Today the orthopeds took a new snapshot of the shoulder.

Now that the swelling is gone, you can see the broken end of the inboard part of the bone poking the skin way up, just like the X-ray suggests.

Faced with this image the ortho-MD said it’s not likely to put itself back together and metalwork is needed.

They rescheduled some jobs in the body shop for me so he can screw in some sheet metal on Tuesday next week.

Now it’s looking like mid to late november before my next ride.

Tuesday: teeth

October 6, 2010

It cost $159 to patch up my chipped front tooth.

Bell offers $30 off the MSRP of a helmet if you crashed your old Bell. Free shipping and no sales tax.

It’s not really a better deal than at many online discounters but I took it anyway.

It will be a color match with my new racing bike that’s currently at the paint shop.

Saturday: Crash analysis

October 2, 2010

Subjective crash description

Around 10.45 am on Thursday Sep 30 2010 in good driving conditions I was riding beside the golf coarse. It’s a wide road with two travel lanes. I rode in the margin, which is a good size. This section of the road is straight.

I was riding probably between 23 and 25 mph (targeting 90% FTP).

The incident happened extremely fast, so fast that I have been able to recall very little about it at any time after. What follows is all I have.

I am sure that I heard a squirrel scream. It’s an uncommon sound and very distinctive. I learned it well in the spring when squirrels were fighting in the tree in my back yard.

I believe I saw a squirrel at the same time as hearing the scream. The memory is not clear. I recall knowing, in the moments immediately after the crash, that I had seen a squirrel but I quickly lost the visual memory.

My memory of the crash itself is that everything happened at once, in an instant, without sequence or temporal separation: squirrel, scream, crashing, pain.

Spoke nipple with squirrel fuzz

I am sure that I did not use the brakes.

I moved as quickly as I could away from the travel lanes and sat on the verge. I saw that the bike was about 20 meters farther down the road.

I did not see the squirrel after the crash.

Physical evidence

The helmet has indents and scrape marks on the left side running in the direction from the crown of my head to my ear. There are four cracks in the foam between the front and the middle of the left side.

Downtube with squirrel fuzz

I sustained a bruise and slight abrasion on my left temple, a clavicle fracture, moderate abrasion (road rash) on my back over my left scapula and small wounds on my left hand and elbow.

There is a tuft of squirrel fur stuck in a spoke nipple of the front wheel. It is a 16-spoke low-profile wheel so there is plenty space for a squirrel to get into or through the wheel. There are squirrel hairs on the under-side of the down tube of the frame about eight inches from the head tube, hairs also on the inside left of the fork and on the inside left of the front brake caliper.

Brake caliper with squirrel fuzz

There are two new and distinct scratches trough the paint down to the primer on the under-side of the down tube of the frame about four inches from the head tube.

There are significant scrape marks on the right side of the heel of both of my shoes.

Piecing it together

A squirrel jumped out of the grass/shrubs/trees to the right of the road and got entangled in my front wheel. It jammed the front wheel during the wheel’s next half rotation. (At 23 mph the wheel turns 5 times a second.) With the front wheel locked and skidding, I was launched over the bars.

I probably hit the ground on the left side of my head and my left shoulder. Then, while sliding down the road, I rolled onto my back, getting the abrasion on my left scapula during the slide/roll. I was still sliding when my feet met the road, giving both shoes the scrapes on their heels.

As I was launched over the bars, the rear of the bicycle would have been lifted up and over the front wheel. At some point I separated safely from the (Keo) pedals and the bicycle passed over me, met the road and slid a lot farther than I did.

Smacked down by a squirrel

October 1, 2010

The squirrel screamed but I did not. Have you ever heard a squirrel scream? They don’t do it often but it’s quite something when they do.

It jumped out of the golf course in front of, or, perhaps more likely, into the front wheel and I went over. How does such a small animal crash a cyclist? It happed so fast the question remains unanswered; though I have learned that it is possible whereas I would have been skeptical beforehand.

The bicycle skidded west a lot further than I did down Newton St but we were both on the verge with a good margin to the traffic. EMS arrived after I had called and asked S.O. to come rescue me. I told the paramedics I wanted to ride to the ER with her but they vetoed that after looking at my helmet. A policeman kindly offered to take my bicycle to the fire house around the corner. It didn’t seem to be in bad shape but I didn’t really look at it.

Chest and shoulder x-ray

I was discharged after about 5 hours with my arm in sling and this picture of my fracture. I saw the problem only after it was explained to me that the two bones at the top center-left were supposed to be one.

After all that racing I did, all those racing horror stories I heard, and all those crashes in the pro pelotons I watched — I get smacked down by a squirrel. Absurd.

I saw no sign of it after the crash. I wonder if it is doing any better than me.