Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Crash: What happened and how I'm doing

I'm feeling better, but not at full energy yet. But the two most common questions I get are (1) How are you feeling, and (2) What Happened?

How am I feeling? Simply stated, much better. Last week I had an MRI of my right shoulder (no injury) and neck (no injury). So, on Monday. the orthopedic doctor said that I could take the cervical collar off. Oh, was I a happy guy.Since then, I've been recovering and getting some strength up again. Thursday has been my first day of participating in work, over the phone.

I alluded to my distaste for the cervical collar in my last post. Now that I was free, it was almost burned in effigy. What I did not appreciate (until this came off) is that the collar drove me somewhat crazy, and I had strong anxiety reactions with it on. I am told that this is not uncommon. I understand why I needed it, but it turns out that I took Vycodin more for the anxiety than for the pain. I've been Vycodin-free since Monday night. I have had a few more doctor's appointments since, and I start with physical therapy on Friday. So, the toll from the crash has been (1) a red eye and 28 stitches on the face, (2) a broken bone in my face, (3) a slightly hurt left shoulder and rotator cuff irritation, (4) Torn muscles on the right side of my neck, (4) a more messed-up right shoulder, (5) a bruised/broken rib on my back (only hurts when I laugh or cough). And I'm recovering from 12 days of sleeping no more than three hours at a time.

What happened? After a bit more retrospection, the issue was that this was a trail I have come down too many times and knew what I could get away with in speed, turns, etc. What I did NOT take into account is that we'd been getting some rain lately, and that softens the ground. When I went into a turn I was going a bit too fast )I had decided to take it a bit faster than normal), and the bike went out under me (spinning out). It happened so fast that there was no chance for a recovery or a bail. The positive part of the soft ground was that it was easier on the face. When I started mountain biking, I was told "if you're not falling, you're not learning." Guess I earned my Masters degree in mountain biking and weather impacts on terrain this trip.

Gifts. I received a number of great cards and gifts from folks since I've been home. I'm grateful to all of you for thinking of me. One set of gifts does merit special notice. Cousins and nieces of ours in Wheaton, IL sent me a two-part package from Amazon. The first was a book called Bicycling Medicine by Arnie Baker (a great book). The second package was a set of training wheels. Now, I could say that this misses the point (the wheels would not have helped). I could also say that a better item would be a Downhill helmet, which would have prevented the broken bones and laceration (and possibly even the loss of consciousness).
But, still I got a very good chuckle at getting the training wheels.

In all, I'm still much happier than if I'd had another heart attack.


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