Archive for November, 2008

Elbow: Before and After

Posted in 1 on November 26, 2008 by bencycles

Dislocated left elbowAfter Reduction

So above is my dislocated elbow on the left compared to my elbow after the reduction. They look a little different, eh?

It’s been about 1.5 weeks and my arm is feeling much better. though that is a bit relative. I had my 2nd follow up today. They took another set of x-rays to make sure everything was still in place. From the new angle, it turns out I fractured my elbow, as well as dislocating it. A small hairline fracture on the radius, I believe. It’s very minor and doesn’t change the handling of my arm, bonus.

I can leave my cast off to let my arm hang free or just loose in a sling and I can start working on some range-of-motion (rom, too damn hard to re-type with one hand). At the moment my rom is about 40 degrees, or less than half of the rom compared to my right arm. I have to perform rom multiple times a day to train my tendons which direction they need to pull so they heal properly. It is uncomfortable, especially trying to straighten.

Next week, I hope to try riding a stationary trainer just to get a little eccersise. Happy T-day.


Recovery Update

Posted in 1 on November 20, 2008 by bencycles

I had an encouraging update yesterday. Dr Cooperman, who apparently reduced my arm Saturday (I didn’t recognize him at all), said my bones went back in place very well. He checked my range of motion at the time and it was good. Also, since I didn’t brake any bones, I can probably go to a smaller removable cast next week and start working on my range of motion by trying to move my arm a few times a day by mid next week. I shouldn’t have to be very worried about accidentally dislocating it again – as long as I can get the swelling down. That was the one thing he didn’t like. My arm looked like a big sausage when they took the cast off. Guess I was spending too much time on my feet. He was adamant that I get the swelling down by elevating and icing.

I decided to get a little more proactive with the swelling, because if that’s what’s holding me back, I intend to make it go away. I filled our sink with ice water, carefully unwrapped my arm and put it in. Yow! that stings! I set the kitchen timer for ten minutes and kept my arm submerged until the bell went off. It was an odd sensation of stinging pain, almost like burning, mixed with an aching relief. Sort of like a strong spicy soup that is not so pleasant in flavor but is so enticing, you can’t really stop eating it.

My arm felt so much better afterwards. My fingers even looked like fingers again. The swelling stayed down pretty well, too. I hope to repeat the icing once or twice a day until I see Cooperman again next week.

I have a couple good referrals for orthopedic surgeons, but I was pretty happy with Cooperman. I like that he is familiar with my case and he seemed very aware of me as a patient, my behavior, noticing how I tried moving my arm as soon as they took off the cast  while I didn’t think they were watching.

I was very encouraged to hear the details of my situation and to get some direction for recovery. At least I have some starting point to work with now which is more comforting than the nebulous idea of “6 weeks” without any idea of what would be going on in-between those 6 weeks.

Dislocated left elbow

Posted in 1 on November 19, 2008 by bencycles

Dislocated left elbow

Originally uploaded by Ben Love

There it is in all its glory.

Game Over…for now

Posted in Race/Ride reports on November 18, 2008 by bencycles

During a club ride Saturday, I got caught in the back end of a pile up when a giant tumbleweed blew into the riders in front of me and I managed to land directly on my arm while trying to avoid the guy in front of me. I had a “simple” complete dislocation of my left elbow. That basically means I completely dislocated the elbow without braking any bones or penetrating the skin. Guess I have strong bones. As a few of you saw, it certainly made my arm look odd… I figured it was a bad sign when the MP who arrived saw my arm and stepped back with a cringe on his face. The x-ray’s made it look like my forearm had been pushed into my upper arm an inch or two from what I saw. It was indeed a bit painful, but I was pretty drugged up on morphine from the medics and the pain only seemed unbearable when they moved my arm to put it in a splint before taking me to the hospital.

At the hospital, they gave me something even stronger and told me it would make me feel really strange and caused some people to “freak out a little” but to just “go with it and enjoy”. Remember Trainspotting? Yep.

The treatment for my injury involves anesthetizing the patient and performing a “reduction” of the arm, which basically means yanking it back in place. I don’t think I would want to be awake for that anyway, so I had no problem sleeping through it. The first round of drugs to knock me out had little affect, so they doubled it. I still wasn’t out completely, though I apparently had some interesting conversations with the nurses which I don’t seem to recall. We had to wait an hour or so for those drugs to ware off so they could inject me with some stronger stuff which must have worked just fine. I got kind of tingly all over and then woke up with a cast extending from my shoulder all the way to my fingers. One big heavy uncomfortable club where there used to be an arm. I was pretty loopy the rest of the day with all those different drugs in my system. I apparently had the same conversation with the Professor 4 times with no recollection.

My cast is pretty heavy to walk around with and my fingers get really swollen if I stay on my feet too long. By Sunday afternoon, I was pretty much over the novelty and attention from the cast and just wanted my arm back, but so far, that hasn’t changed the situation. So instead of getting too bummed out, I’ve been working on skills I used to take for granted; putting my shirt on, typing with one hand, going to the bathroom, showering and the like. It all has to be thought through as a series of steps to figure out where there will be complications and then come up with a satisfactory workaround. Sometimes figuring out something isn’t going to work once you’ve started can be hard to get out of alone, so it’s good to plan a little…

I have a follow up tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll get an ETA for when the gimp-club can come off and I can start some PT. I am also in the market for a good orthopedic surgeon who specializes in elbows, if you happen to know one. I’ll try to get a copy of my x-rays, too. Seems like a fine memento.

In the meantime, it might be a while before I have a new ride/race report, so I might have to just make some shit up.


Posted in On the regular on November 14, 2008 by bencycles

Having missed the last 3 races, what with mechanicals, sickness, and the final mortal blow of food poisoning, I’ve now missed as many races as I’ve raced. This being the first week “back” so to speak, I have definately noticed a little decline in my high end. It’s there, it just dosn’t last long.

I blew off the first two weeks (fever followed by cold and bad cough) as tapering, only to be hit with the death blow of food poisoning from bad salami. I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere but I haven’t found the punchline yet. That knocked out two races in one weekend. Plus I learned that when you have been coughing all week and have a sore throat, vomiting is less pleasant than usual. Rudys in New HavenAnyone remember putting iodine on cuts?

Lucky me, there’s two weeks time (one week now, I guess) ’till the next cross race, which turns out to be the district championships. Having dropped down to 6th in the overall, I’ll get to scrum a bit for the start. I still haven’t put a “cross race effort” in for severall weeks. Got the intensity up a bit this week, now just need the duration. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to see how I respond this weekend out on the road.

that IS a fun hobby.

Posted in On the regular on November 7, 2008 by bencycles

A far cry from the conditions in SoCal.


Posted in Race/Ride reports on November 3, 2008 by bencycles

6 hours driving, 1 lap, 1 flat, game over. Ahh jingleshits…

I’m pretty sure everyone’s had that scenario a couple times. It must have been bad mojo day as DB wasn’t feel’n the game, DBBro wrecked his drivetrain faster than I flatted, and I think everyone on the circuit has a cold.

On the plus side, Dave pulled off a sweet 3rd place in the SS to grab a little podium glory and both ATV and Phillip were look’n strong in a pretty fast 35+123 group. The drive was actually pretty good, too. I like road trips plus DB and ATV made for good company. MOTORIN’!

Plus all that free time gave me an opportunity to grab a couple shots.