what kind of day it has been

April 29, 2010

wednesday morning I got up early b/c I had gone to bed early. I took a shower, read email, etc, etc. Normal stuff. I got ready and I headed out on my bike to get coffee for me and the girl like I usually do.

I get to this intersection with a stoplight. I’m turning left across it. A school bus facing me across the intersection is turning right. We have  the greenlight so I wait for the bus to turn right. It starts to go but it cannot complete the turn b/c the person in the left turn lane of the cross street has pulled up in front of the white line and the bus doesn’t have room to make the turn.

The car is trying to backup but the car behind won’t backup b/c the car behind THEM won’t back up. So I scoot down the column of cars on my bike telling them all to backup. Waving them backward with my right hand.

A car starts coming down toward me so I do what comes naturally, I squeeze the brake to slow down/stop. But I’ve only got one hand on the brakes b/c I’m waving the cars back and I’m in a REALLy upright position so the cars can see me. My front brake engages the front wheel stops and over I go onto the asphalt – endo.

I’m wearing a light base-layer glove b/c it was in the 40s and kinda brisk out. I come down and manage to keep my knees, face and head from hitting anything. I absorb all the impact on my arms and hands. The gloves did what they were supposed to do and my hands are fine. No blood anywhere, in fact.

About 6 people get out of their cars and come over to help me all at once. I get helped up and my bike is taken to the side of the road. I sit down and take deep breaths to try to keep from vomiting. After a bit I am able to get my stuff together. My arms feel REALLY weak and heavy and I take the time to squeeze them and make sure they aren’t obviously broken anywhere. Looking back on it I realize that the amount of adrenaline I must have had would make feeling much pain impossible but… I felt okay -but my arms were weak.

So I stand up and pick up my bike – which is completely fine except for a scuff on the saddle and on an edge of the bars.

I go to get back on the bike when I realize I don’t think I can exert enough force to close the brake levers. So – thinking I’m just drained – I walk to the coffee shop, get the coffee, put it in the basket on the bike and walk home (it’s a short trip to the coffee shop – have i mentioned I love living where I live and I love my coffee shop?)

I get home and eunice is, of course, a bit worried about me – and I am too – I’m starting to feel more pain and I expect even more before long. I get 4 ibuprofen and slug them down b/c I’m expecting a lot more pain and I think getting ahead of it won’t be a bad idea. I drink my coffee, eat breakfast and start to work some. This is at about 9:15.

I notice my hands feeling colder and it worries me – and arms won’t unbend the whole way. On eunice’s suggestion we go to the ER to make sure I didn’t break an elbow or have a colles(sp?) fracture. I file for PTO and off we go.

Get to the ER at about 11:15. I check in – they triage me and I wait.

At about 3:00 they see me back to be checked out some more. The nurse is pretty sure I’ve not broken anything but she’s worried about the lack of extension in my arms, etc.

At about 5:00 they take xrays, etc. These were the most painful xrays of my life.

Around this time there is apparently some sort of band and/or family reunion going on in the waiting room of the ER where I’m sitting. This is in addition to the hammered dulcimer player beating out dulcet tones. The family reunion is noisy and odd – like 15 people came in as guests of one guy who was being treated. Very odd.

Eunice goes home to walk cori around 6pm and I chill and doze a bit. I’ve taken 4 more ibuprofen at this point.

Around 9:30pm they take us back to speak to a doctor about my xrays.

The doctor says there is what looks like a fracture on my right elbow. He pushes on it, hard, and nothing. no pain – not even a funny-bone feeling. Just normal – guy pushing on my elbow feeling. He’s confused. Wants to know if I had hurt it before. I have no idea. It’s never hurt before. He said they are worried it could be bleeding internally and causing problems. Iask – if it were bleeding in my arm wouldn’t it be swelling? He says yes. I look at my arm – it’s OBVIOUSLY not swelling unless my arms were the size of of chicken drumsticks before.

So – then after maybe 10 minutes or so another doc comes in and says ‘yah – not sure what else to do other than to discharge me – tell me to take percocet or something. I explain that i’ve taken percocet before and it just gives me nightmares – so I’ll pass on that.

(At this point i’ve been asked 3 times if I was wearing a helmet. I asked one of them ‘on my arms?’ b/c I clearly don’t have a head injury. I was getting a bit snarky after 10 hours in the waiting room.)

He says to take more ibuprofen – and regularly and follow up with a orthopedic doctor in a few days. They also decide to put my right arm in a sling – which is hilarious b/c both of them hurt – but I take it. They think i’ve just massively overused/stressed the tendons and muscles in my forearms and that’s what’s causing all the pain – which I believe b/c it feels like it.

They discharge me – I pay the copay and move along. Eunice drives us  home. I get ready for bed – watch an episode of ‘THE TICK’  to laugh and go to bed.

This is what kind of day it has been.

I can type okay but my arms hurt like I’ve worked out for about 45 hours.

I suspect i’m going to be okay – but I’ll go to the orthopedic doc anyway and make sure I haven’t badly screwed up my elbow.

A couple of minor items:

1. Just under 12 hours in the ER – 10 of them in the waiting room.

2. the hammered dulcimer player was quite nice – just a bit odd.

13 Responses to “what kind of day it has been”

  1. Phillip Says:

    Two things:
    1. Falling is just part of biking
    2. Were you wearing a helmet?

  2. skvidal Says:

    yah – I know it’s a part – this one is just more painful than others.

    and what difference does it make if I was wearing a helmet or not. Would you ask the same question if i had been walking and had the same accident, tripping and catching myself by my hands?

  3. Phillip Says:

    No difference. You know I’m giving you a hard time because you know that I know that you get all sensitive about helmet nazis.🙂

  4. skvidal Says:

    the distance from helmet-nazis to helmet laws for adults is just not very far.

    and the stats prove decisively that when helmet laws are put in place cycling drops precipitously – 20+%.

  5. Phillip Says:

    I love statistics about as much as Mark Twain did. And I love helmet laws about as much as any good anarchist could.

  6. cyclotourist Says:

    You didn’t scratch your fancy new pedals, did you?

    Were you wearing a helmet?

  7. skvidal Says:

    hah – no the pedals are fine – scuffed the saddle, though.


  8. Hey Seth, glad you’re ok — think of this way, it could have been an accordion player.


  9. Dang, man! Be careful out there.
    That’s some odd stuff on the arms. Although I’ve had some serious muscle rigidity for 24 – 72 hours after a direct ground/body impact.

    And if the elbow flares up, get back in for a cast – I broke both wrists but didn’t go into the emergency room for two days. It took a while for the swelling to go down and the “weird hinging feeling” to become obvious.

    take care, ride safe, get better!

    – Jim

  10. skvidal Says:

    jim, muscle rigidity is exactly what i’m feeling. It’s like the joint at my elbows has significantly less travel distance in its angle. And my right forearm is giving me weird feelings. I’m going to ride it out through the weekend, see where i end up.

  11. Esteban Says:

    Hope you’re feeling better. It could have very well been a kind of soreness caused by bracing the fall. I was in a car crash on the freeway and I was really sore and limited mobility in my arms because I squeezed the steering wheel so far.

    So… you weren’t wearing elbow-helmets? I never get on a bike without them. I’m sure they’ve saved my life.

  12. Eily Says:

    My favorite people are the ones who bike with a helmet… attached to the handlebars or a backpack or whatnot. I mean, if you’re gonna have the thing with you, why not just put it on?! I can say that from the perspective of your friendly neighborhood EMT that bike accidents where the cyclist was wearing a helmet tend to be resolved better and faster than those wherein the cyclist was not.

    While I’m advocating hugely unpopular positions, as for the ER and the wait times… they see the sickest people first. It can really suck if you’re there for something that’s not potentially life threatening. Of course, wait times are also increased by all those people without health insurance who trek to the ER instead of to the doctor’s office, so that, at least, might get better sometime soon. Not that any of the above makes a 10 hour wait suck less.

    Feel better!

  13. Dominick Says:

    This sounds very familiar to what i experienced long ago.

    Picked up friend from the train station on my mountain bike. we drive to my home with her on my handlebar. Her foot gets in the wheel and we got thrown of the bike.

    After a while we resume the trip home and my arm was also feeling heavy but i did not think it was anything bad.

    My friends mother was in the hospital and we went to visit her in the days after it happened. my arm still felt a bit heavy and we decided to walk by the first aid office.

    They also felt my arm and it also did not hurt more then usual. So they dismissed me.

    Months later i fell out of a rope on a training in the army (i was in the service then, no volunteer). The sergeant thought i was a sissy so i tried climbing the rope again and fell out again.

    So they sent me to the hospital to takes an xray, and they found i had a tear in my elbow. The good thing was that i got to go home from the army internal training for 3 weeks.

    I “am just saying, if the picture shows a fracture then i would trust the picture and now what or what you do not feel on you arms.


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