We eventually found ourselves behind One on One Bicycle Studio after an off-road Wednesday Nite Ride at Wirth Park, a post-ride swim w/bonfire and flapjacks at the lake, and last call at Cuzzy's.
While Gene was opening the dock doors and Zito made a dash for pizza, a roundy-round ensued
as it often does with the lovable riff-raff that makes up the ride. Brauer and I bumped shoulders a few times, and I took the inside line to cut him off near a brick wall of a building that forms part of the derby circle perimeter across the alley from the bike shop. Then, Brauer Power and gravity got the best of me. I went down and hit the uneven pavement without unclipping from my ATACs. My left leg took 95% of the impact. My left elbow took the rest.
I knew I was messed up. The way my leg was resting and the amount of pain I was in indicated that I wasn't going to walk/ride away from this. I thought my hip was out of its socket. It was time to call for an ambulance.
I laid in the alley in too much pain to move to the side, hoping a drunk wouldn't come blasting through in a car, and waited for the meat wagon. The EMTs showed up within minutes, and they, along with some help from the Wed Nite crew, got me onto a stretcher and into the waiting ambulance. I asked to go to Fairview Riverside Hospital instead of HCMC (the downtown trauma center), because I was hoping Dr. Nemenich, the doc who put my ankle back together last August, could work on my new project. At the time, I didn't realize how remote the chances, of getting him assigned to my surgery, were. I felt every bump on the way to the hospital.
X-rays, at the ER, revealed a spiral-fractured femur. I couldn't see the X-rays, but I was told by my ER support/heckling crew
Gene, Zito, and Brauer
that it was pretty ugly. The size of my swollen thigh was also a pretty good indication that I had really messed myself up.
I was moved to my room to await my surgery. The morphine was kicking in, but I could still feel my injury every time my muscles twitched. I was looking forward to surgery, so I could get some total relief from the pain under the general anesthetic
even if it would only be for a few hours. I was hurtin'.
Dr. Nemenich was scheduled for surgery at Fairview Riverside that morning, and I got on his surgery list. I was told, by one of the nurses, that the odds of that happening were incredible. Had I gone to HCMC instead, they probably would have admitted me into surgery sooner and spared me a few hours of pain, but my surgeon would have been an unknown. I'm glad I took the long shot. At least, something was going in my favor.
Surgery went well. The doc used 14 screws and a long, concave steel plate to put everything back together. Femur injuries are notorious bleeders, and mine was no exception. I sucked up 4.5 liters of B+ during and after surgery. My 33cm incision was closed with 40 staples.
I was released, after 3+ days in the hospital, to go home, sit on my ass, manage my pain with Oxycodone, and do the physical therapy exercises prescribed to me.
It has been 12 days since I smacked myself up. I'm happy to report that I'm regaining some flexibility in my leg, and my pain is manageable without the prescription narcotics. Tomorrow's visit to the doc should give me a better idea of my probable recovery schedule. Needless to say, I'm getting anxious to walk without crutches and ride my bike again.
I've been asked many times over the years, Why do you ride your bike so much? I have lots of reasons, of course...fun, health, environment, convenience, cost, etc. But the one answer that always holds true
Because I can. I've been laid up a few times since I started riding a lot in 1991. In 1997, I crushed my T5 vertebra in a cycling accident. Last August, I broke my ankle while skateboarding. And, now, this. I know what it's like to not be able to ride. It sucks. So I take full advantage of my able body when it's able. There will probably be a day when I'm too crippled or sick to ride anymore. When that day comes, I'll know that I took full advantage of the skills and physiology that my creator gave me to enjoy tens of thousands of miles in the saddle. I'll remember all the good rides I've been on, all the beautiful places I've seen from the saddle, and all the kind and interesting people I've ridden with. It's good to know that I'll recover from this. I have more memories to make.