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.