Saturday Night Injury Update
I woke up *not* feeling worse than last night, so that's good. My quads are still killing me, which is the main problem. Still having problems going from standing to sitting and back again, but once I'm in a position I'm fine. I was able to drive to the pharmacy and the supermarket. So glad I have a truck, so I can just sort of swing my legs out and slide down out of the seat rather than having to step up out of a car. Plus the steering wheel is adjustable, so I can get it out of the way while I get in or out. I got my prescriptions filled, an anti-biotic to stave off infections, and some vicodin. The vicodin was because they assumed my nose was broken, and assured me that it would hurt like hell in the morning. It didn't hurt at all, except for the abrasions, and those only sting a little when I touch them, but I got the pills anyway, just in case. I doubt I'll need them.
I got about five hours of sleep last night, but I wasn't terribly uncomfortable, so at least what I had was productive sleep. The splint on the left wrist helps a lot. I got really tired as the afternoon wore on, so I lay down for what was to be a quick nap at about 4 p.m. Woke up five hours later. I guess I was really tired. (Of course, now I'm wide awake.)
Other Than That, How Did You Like the Play, Mrs. Lincoln?
It was the first ride on the new bike, so I was just getting to know the bike. In retrospect, I should've done a very short ride around the neighborhood just to work the kinks out. There are some major adjustments needed. For one, the saddle is two inches lower than on the Univega, so my legs were uncomfortable. The thing is, I already have it adjusted as high as it can safely go. The saddle itself is terribly uncomfortable, really no surprise. My ass was already sore a mile into the ride. If I can replace it with a saddle that taller, things may work out.
The other problem is the the handlebar is set a few inches lower than on the Univega, so I have to bend over further to reach it. (In fact, it puts me in even better position to dive over the bar. Sheesh.) So, all-in-all, I felt horribly awkward while riding.
On the plus side, my worries about the gear ratios seem unfounded so far. The bike was very easy to pedal, despite the awkwardness, and I was able to go up hills at higher gear ratios that on the Univega. It's going to take some time to figure out the best combinations, but I was pleased with that part of the ride. Also, the new bike computer rocks. Not only can it display both the speed *and* the time elapsed at the same time, it also stops the timer when you stop the bike. That's incredibly cool. (Huh. Examining it just now, I noticed that a big chunk of the computer's casing is missing, broken off by the impact. It's still functioning, though.) Anyhow, I rode down to the cemetary, figuring on doing one full loop there, then riding back, about eight miles or so. By the time I got to the cemetary, I was already sore from the saddle and the awkward, so I decided to skip most of the loop and head home. Had the accident on the way back home.
The Slocum Transportation Safety Board Report
It was a sunny evening, but in the high fifties with a stiff west wind, gusting occasionally, so I was wearing sweat pants and a long sleeve t-shirt for the ride. I exited the cemetary at the Rt. 2 entrance, crossed the road, and headed north on 2. The road goes downhill from the cemetary, so I was building up some speed, although I wasn't going as fast as I normally would, because I felt awkward on the bike. Also, I was having some problems with the crosswind pushing me to the right. The other thing that was awkward was that I still hadn't fitted a mirror to the bike, so I kept having to turn occasionally to see if anything was sneaking up on me. Rt. 2 was rebuilt about 15 years ago to include wide bike lanes in both directions, giving plenty of clearance from traffic on the road, so I was more worried about getting in the way of other bikes, so I drifted over to the right so as not to obstruct anyone. The road is still in pretty good shape, but I saw a patch ahead of me where the top layer of pavement was missing at the edge of the road, and I started to head left a bit to avoid it. Instead, I think I must've got hit by a gust of wind, because the bike went right instead, into the patch, and then off the pavement entirely.
There's a large patch of deep sand right there, and the bike's front wheel went into it and stuck. (It's enirely possible that had the same circumstances occurred on the Univega, I would've been okay, because it has wider tires.) The bike pivoted on the wheel, and I went over the bar. So the reasons for the accident are operator error, because I was too close to the edge on the pavement on a bike that I was feeling awkward on, with wind and design (tire width) as possible contributing factors.
Grit in my Teeth...
When I went over the bar, I threw my hands out in front to take the impact. I hit palms first, followed by my face. I was wearing padded leather riding gloves, so my palms didn't get cut at all. The heels of my hands took the hit, getting bruised and jamming back into my wrists. I picked myself up off the ground, and started trying to walk off the pain. My face was bleeding, I had a fat lip, and my mouth was full of grit. A woman saw me walking unsteadily, and pulled over to help. I was talking to her a bit, when I started to notice that I was having trouble seeing. Everything was washed out, like it was an overexposed picture. I mentioned this, and she suggested that I sit down while she called the Rescue Squad. I thought perhaps my pupils had dilated, and that was causing the whiteout. She looked at my eyes, and said it was just the opposite, that my pupils were pinpricks. I had her get the water bottle from my bike, so I could wash the grit out of my mouth. That helped.
While we were waiting, Greg from vball stopped, and offered to take my bike home for me. He stayed with me until the rescue folks showed up, and gave me his number to call when I got done at the ER. Rescue showed up, and started examining me. By this time my vision was back. Still don't know what happened there. The woman from rescue rolled up my sleeves. My right arm was okay, but we discovered that my left wrist was already badly swollen, and scraped raw. My wrist watch was dangling loose about it. Apparently, when I hit the impact sprained the wrist, and also drove the metal watchband back up the inside of my wrist, taking off the top layer of skin. The wrist was the main thing that hurt at that point.
They fitted me with a neck collar, even though I said there was nothing wrong with either my neck or back. In retrospect, I wish I'd been more insistent about that, but it seemed at the time like the guy was saying if I didn't let them do it, they wouldn't take me to the hospital. (It should've been clear to rescue that I had most of my wits about me. I was able to give Greg both my address and decent directions to my house so he could bring my bike home.) Then I was strapped onto a back board, and loaded into the ambulance. They put an ice pack on my wrist, and then a splint. I was terribly uncomfortable already, and then we started moving. There weren't any windows I could see out of, so after a couple of minutes I started getting car sick. I was also sliding around a bit on the board, so I grabbed one of the straps for dear life with both hands. This didn't cause me any pain in my left hand, so I was pretty certain it wasn't broken. It took about twenty minutes to get to the hospital. They checked my vitals on the way in. My blood pressure was good.
I got wheeled into an isolation room, and put up on a gurney, still immobilized. There was a nurse, who again took my vitals. He said he couldn't unstrap me until I'd been examined by the doctor. Then everybody left for about twenty minutes. Finally, an impossibly young P.A. showed up to examine me. I managed to satisfy him that there was nothing wrong with either back or neck, and they finally unstrapped me, and raised the head of the gurney up. Doogie then noticed the splint, and took a look at my left arm. His exact words were "Dude, that wrist is broken," and scheduled me for x-rays. He was also worried about my elbow, but that didn't hurt much, either. I mentioned the vision thing, but that it seemed fine now. Everybody left again.
The x-ray tech showed up about thirty minutes later, and wheeled the gurney to radiology. When we got there, I had to get off the gurney, and sit on a stool. This was the first time I'd stood up in close to two hours, and I discovered how much my quad muscles hurt. It was very painful to stand or sit, more so because I couldn't use my hands for added support. The tech took four or five shots of my forearm, then wheeled me to another room for a CAT scan. (I suspect that came from my comment about my vision.) The CAT tech told me about her sister's bike accident. She'd done the same thing, but on pavement. Much worse results. The cat scan was interesting. Didn't take long, and I was wheeled back to isolation room 14. Where I waited alone for an hour.
About 9:30, I started getting hungry. I'd only had a carton of yogurt for lunch, and nothing else since. At 10, the x-ray tech came in to get some pictures of my wrist. I guess the earlier shots were too general. Back and forth from gurney to stool again, more pain. Back to room 14. Doogie came in to express his amazement that my wrist wasn't broken after all, then finally noticed my nose. He asked if it hurt, and I said not really. He decided to have an x-ray taken of that, apparently in a desperate search for a broken bone somewhere on my body. More waiting, then a different tech showed up, and had me get into a wheelchair for the trip. That hurt. Did a set of cranial x-rays, then back for some more waiting. I went to the bathroom, and finally got a look at my face in the mirror. I also took a look at the underside of my left arm.
Finally, the nurse returned to clean and dress my wrist. The he fitted it with a bowler's splint. He dabbed my nose with some anti-bacterial, but didn't want to clean too much so as not to rip off the scabs. He also gave me a tetanus shot. Meanwhile, I was trying to call Greg to come get me. The line was busy for at least a half hour. Must have been on-line. I'd felt guilty about calling that late anyway, so I got the nurse to call me a cab. After that was done, he released me, and I wandered out to the entrance of the ER to wait. It occured to me that I was bloody, filthy, and didn't have so much as a dime in my pocket. (I generally don't carry my wallet when I ride.) I thought I had about $40 in my wallet at home, and I was really hoping the cab ride wasn't more than that.
The cab came, and the driver and I swapped accident stories. He'd hit a pole on I-95 a couple of years back, but the belt and air bag let him walk away from it. Got home, had enough to cover the fare and tip ($38 total). Finally took off my pants, and found the abrasions just above my knee. I thinking that in addition to my quads just stiffening up, they must have also smacked into and dragged along the bar as I went over. That's why they hurt so much. There were also abrasions on my stomach. My shirt has tiny holes in it now where bits of gravel ripped through it.
Descriptions and pictures of injuries follow. I don't think they're terribly gory, but YConstitutionMV. From bottom to top:
* Knees - Abrasions, bruises, and severe muscle soreness just above both knees. The abrasions on the left are much worse, but the pain is the same for both.
* Stomach - Abrasions on the left side of my stomach, no pain, didn't even realize til I took off my shirt.
* Left rib cage - Pulled muscle on my left side, even with the bottom of my rib cage. I'm not sure if this happened during the accident, or later when I was trying to get comfortable while still strapped down.
* Right hand and wrist - Bruises on the heel of my right hand, with one particular mark where I must've landed on a small stone. Scraped knuckles, and a small cut on the thumb. The wrist is sore, perhaps a very slight sprain.
* Left hand and wrist - Severely scraped knuckle on index finger. Bruises on the heel of the hand. Severely sprained wrist. Severe abrasions on inside of wrist where scraped by metal watch band.
* Left forearm - Abrasions on the underside of the arm and elbow. Bruise on the elbow.
* Face - Abrasions on nose and forehead. Possible cracked nose, but no pain, dislocation, or swelling.
In other words, I got off lucky.
This morning (Sunday) the quads are a bit better. Now they're acting as though they are merely stiff and sore, rather than blindingly painful when flexed. Hands and wrists still hurt, but I seem to be mending fairly well. I have to take a course up in Massachusetts all week, and I was worried about whether I'd be good to go, but the drive shouldn't be a problem at this point.