Damaged Goods

It was a foggy morning. A little foggier than normal. Visibility was still a couple hundred feet, but it was hard to tell how clearly drivers could see me on the road.

So, wanting to be a good, safe cyclist I was pedaling as close to the edge of the pavement as I could. The shoulder of the road is about 3 feet wide (in general), and I normally cruise right down the center of the shoulder.

But, last Tuesday was anything but a normal bike ride for me.

Only about a mile from work, my tire slid of the paved road and into the dirt along the side. I evened out the bike and steered the bike back onto the street. As I did, the front tire started sliding out from under me. I could feel I was going to go down, and I knew there was a potential I could down in a bad spot. Because I was riding right along the highway, I rolled myself to the right so I would avoid falling out into the line of traffic. I couldn't tell if anyone was coming, but I didn't want to take the chances that there might be a car.

So, I rolled right and hit the ground. At one point, I found myself gliding along the pavement thinking ... 'man I've been sliding a long way'. And wondering how I could slide so far when I'm only going, like, 20 mph.

Never-the-less I finally stopped sliding along the roadway, so I grabbed my bike and drug myself off the road so I could be out of the line of traffic if any cars were coming my way.

My shoulder was killing me, I was bleeding all over the place, and it took me several seconds to be able to get a good breath. My entire body felt like it was shaking uncontrollably.

At first I started walking my bike along the road headed towards work. But then I realized it would take me forever to walk the rest of the way, so I sat on my bike and pedaled the rest of the way to work, steering with only my left arm.

It took me a long to get myself ready for work that day. I tried to clean all my wounds and make myself presentable. I ended up working all day that day. The next day I still felt terrible, so Christy took me into the doctor's office.

They took x-rays and told me that it wouldn't have to be amputated.

So ... that was good. Christy told me that with pets they often amputate as a first step. So, I felt like I was going to come out ahead.

I finally made it into the specialist on Monday.

Here's the final verdict at this point.

I separated my AC shoulder joint. Essentially, I destroyed the ligaments that hold my collar bone to my shoulder bone. These can be repaired with surgery, but for middle of the road case like mine, they only advise that if the patient is in a lot of pain over time. My arm should return to basically full function. However, I will always have a funny bump on my shoulder where my collar bone no longer is attached ... it just kinda floats freely up there. Right now, it seems pretty pronounced, and that could be because I'm still getting used to it.

Here's a link of what this is like - in medical terms:
Shoulder separation
And here is a picture of what happened. Mine is a 'Grade 3' separation.

Anyhow ... that's the run down of what happened.

I was finally able to sleep in bed for the first time last night. That's one week after the traumatic event. And I'm slowly getting better every day. Nothing like a lively crash to help you feel like you're still alive!

Thanks for everyone's prayers and well wishes!
I truly appreciate it. And thanks for everyone who was asking about me. I may be 'damaged goods' now, but I'm still happy to chat and say hi anytime you get the chance.

Here's a couple pictures of my own personal damages:

The black charred hole in the shirt is about the spot where my collar bone and shoulder met while I was dragging along the side of the road.

I am really glad I was wearing the helmet, or else those big pot holes up the side of the helmet would have been my head. YAY!

This shoulder shot is after about 5 days of a fairly rapid, but feels OHHH so slow, healing process.



InkyFingers said...

Wow Al! Are you sure you shouldn't have surgery? There's nothing middle of the road looking to that. I vote for second opinion.

Rob said...

Wow, what a story.

Although personally I think you're looking at it the wrong way. The way I see it, it's not as much "Damaged Goods" as it should be something like "Battle Scars". Perhaps you just need to show it off. More like a trophy to display for future generations. Maybe even with a slightly aggressive attitude, like "Top that story... if you can!"

See, it's all in your perspective.