Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Arm Story

As I'm not always so great about keeping in touch with people (hopefully this blog will help!), I've had several requests to hear the story of what happened to my arm. So here goes. July 5th, 2008. Morning bike ride with a few roadie friends, great ride, up and over Emigration Canyon, then up East Canyon. It was one of the best rides I've ever had; what is usually a pretty tough grueling climb felt easy that day. A couple hours later, some other friends called to see if Albert and I wanted to go mountain biking. Good old gung-ho me couldn't say no. So we were riding up a trail in City Creek Canyon with our dogs in tow. A mile or so up we crossed over the road to head down a small path on the other side to where the dogs could get water from the creek. Coming off the road there was a sharp left hand turn onto the path with a drop-out. I've always been a bit shakier at left-hand turns than on rights, and when I saw the drop-out I freaked out and slowed down too much. I wish I had a great story of a high-speed-moose-stepped-out-on-the-path-and-I-flew-over-the-handlebars kind of crash, but alas it was more of a tipping over sideways and taking the brunt of it in my arm. I'm guilty of breaking Rule Number One of bike crashes: never stick out your arm to break your fall! You end up breaking bones instead.

Which is exactly what I did. I snapped the radius clean across just above the wrist, and chipped the ulnar process (the knobby bone on the outside of the wrist). It was obvious right away that something was broken. My hand looked like it belonged to someone else and had been crudely stuck onto my arm instead. Luckily we were near the road, unluckily the road is closed to cars. So an ambulance was called and the canyon road subsequently closed to pedestrians and cyclists to avoid a collision with the emergency vehicles. Once at the emergency room, the doctor set my arm (which was actually kind of cool to watch) but told me he wanted to keep very close tabs on me because of the severity of the break. I saw him again two days later and he put me in a hard (waterproof!) cast. If the bones stayed in place there would be no need for surgery. Unfortunately, at my three week check-up the x-rays were not so good and I had to go in for surgery two days later. They put five removable pins in my arm to hold the bones in place, then wrapped me up in a clunky (non-waterproof) cast. With the pins poking out of my skin under the cast, there was a huge bump on the back of my wrist and it was bent forward at a funny angle to make way for the pins. So my arm basically looked like a big white lobster claw. Very attractive. Luckily I only had to wear it for three weeks. Then the pins came out (with pliers, made me queasy) and another waterproof cast was put on. Two weeks in that then I was home free! Or so I had thought. But my arm was pretty weak and shrivelled, and no matter how much my brain told it to move my wrist simply would not bend even a little bit. A little time and some rehab exercises have done wonders though, and as you can see from my last post, I'm back in the saddle again!

1 comment:

Katie said...

Nasty. At least you didn't have bones jutting through the skin.

Glad everything's ok now.