Posted by: hagengreen | March 2, 2010

An experienced crash

I was on my way to work yesterday as I do every weekday morning, when unfortunate series of events took place.  It was a nice morning, the roads were dry, and it was a relatively warm 50°.  I took off from my house and started going down the hill.  Nothing unusual.  After the first sweeping left downhill, my left foot came out of the pedal clip.  I was on a short flat straightaway going about 22 miles per hour.  My fixed gear bicycle doesn’t allow for coasting, so at 22 miles per hour one leg out of the pedal can be catastrophic.  And indeed, this time it was.  I remember the moment my foot came out of the pedal, my first thought was to hold on and start hitting the brake.  Before I knew it, I was getting launched over the handlebars.  Because my right foot was still in, I was thrown to the left.  I remember being in the air and then hitting the ground left hand first.  While my hand hit the ground first it quickly rotated to my left elbow.  And then I remember rotating onto my head and then onto my back.  From there I slid about 10 feet until coming to a stop.  There was a car behind me that stopped, and a lady came out and asked if I was OK.  Of course, I said I was OK.  I was still in shock and I needed a minute or two to just stand on the side of the road.  The nice lady left and said if I needed more help someone else would drive by in a moment.  I took a moment to examine what happened.  The back left of my helmet was crushed and cracked.  My clothes were shredded.  My whole left arm was in a lot of pain.  Since I was just a couple of minutes from my house, I ended up walking home up the hill.  My first instinct was to clean up my wounds and get the dirt out of them.  I tried to make my way to the shower, but got lightheaded several times and had to lay on the floor.  I felt spacey and dreamy.  While I was focused on getting cleaned up, my primary concern was whether not I had brain damage.  I began to recount simple facts, such as my name, address, birthday, phone number, and friends names.  So far so good, but I didn’t really trust myself.  I ended up calling Jaime to get a ride to the ER.  I didn’t think it was smart to try to drive myself there.  I thought about calling 911, but I didn’t feel like I was in a life threatening situation.

The ER at Evergreen is wonderful.  They took me right in and took very good care of me.  I got an MRI because I was worried about my head injury, thankfully everything turned out ok. At that point, everything else seemed insignificant.  I told my doc that, but he disagreed given the two breaks in my left arm.  The break at the elbow was a clean break and not displaced.  The wrist was another story, as the bone that broke is right next to the blood supply to the hand.

Last night was the most miserable night of sleep of my life. The Dr. prescribed me vicodin.  I’ve had broken bones in the past, but I’ve been able to manage the pain pretty well.  I’ve never taking pain medication for anything that I can remember.  But I really wish I would have had that vicodin last night. The swelling has gone down a bit this morning, which makes the injury a bit more manageable.  I hope the worst of the pain is over, and I’ll continue to do my best to stay away from prescription meds as much as possible.

The Doc told me I will be out for six weeks.  That means only have two weeks to prepare for the wildflower triathlon.  Of course those two weeks are really meaningless since that’s the taper anyway.  I love to defy the odds, and push up against the impossible.  I can’t wait to get to the point very soon or I can start my alternate training and figure out a way to get in great shape for swimming/biking/running without using my left arm.  It’ll be tricky, for sure, but I’m up for the challenge.

In my experience with past injuries, I usually recover before projected dates. I broke my arm and collarbone in years past, and was literally back up to speed within weeks.  While I don’t want to set a lofty precedent for this injury, I am very hopeful I can recover well before doctors expect.  Immediately after my crash, I started icing my wrist.  I’ve kept my arm elevated, and have iced on and off since the accident.  I’ve also change my diet somewhat by focusing more heavily on greens and fruit juices.  And last but not least, I’m keeping a positive attitude and am optimistic about the opportunities this injury brings about.  It’s too easy to be negative and pessimistic about an incident like this, so I turned to the bright side to make the most out of the situation.  Experiences are what we make of them.  Might as well make it challenging, interesting, and fun.

You’re probably wondering how I’ve managed to type this blog entry with my broken wrist and elbow.  It was actually pretty easy.  Windows 7 has a speech recognition feature that’s really easy to use and quite accurate.  Not only can I dictate blog entries and email, but I can also control my entire computer.  It’s not so bad being one handed after all.  Now, if I can just figure out a way to safely ride my bicycle one handed.

I have a few parting words of advice. There’s one thing that’s for sure: the helmet saved my life.  Always wear a helmet, and make sure others wear helmets too.  Also, make sure it’s worn properly.  This helmet did exactly as it was supposed to do.  You can see multiple cracks on the inside and outside of the helmet.  On the outside, you can also see where the helmet compressed under load.  Wearing a helmet is pretty cheap insurance if you ask me.

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wrist elbow

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