Monday, July 5, 2010


for posterity's sake, so I can, down the road, look back and have an accurate record of the details of my Big Crash, this is my timeline:

june 15, 6:35 am I set off for my Big Anniversary Ride up big cottonwood canyon
june 15, 6:49-ish I am tackled by a weed and thrown to the ground
june 15, 6:52-ish I am helped off my bike, out of my clips, and back up to vertical by a mysterious cyclist in a white and blue kit
june 15, 6:54-ish I begin walking back northward on the bike path, toward home and hospital
june 15th, 6:55-ish two cyclists heading south ask me if I'm ok, to which I reply "yes" and they respond "no, you're not." they walk me back to foothill and have a friend meet us there in his suburban; said friend then gives me a ride to the U of U ER. thank you kris, matt, and the nameless urologist.
june 15, the next few hours: I am admitted to ER and my bike stays in my room with me, I am assessed and have my jersey (carefully) removed, have xrays taken and am asked many questions including whether or not I do drugs or am pregnant. am eventually told I have a few broken ribs, a chipped acromion, and two breaks in my right clavicle. am then told I must wait for more docs to review xrays, and since they're in surgery, it might be a while. am given a shot of morphine and am allowed nothing to eat or drink, just in case. they are concerned about possible internal bleeding, and then decide to xray my right knee because it's a bit bloody. I now have a hospital gown on over my sports bra and bike shorts and am feeling terribly attractive. later comes the CT scan of my brain (I'm okay) and then they decide to admit me. I want a diet coke.
june 15, the next 11 or so hours: I have a room on the trauma/surgical floor where I am given an IV and more morphine, where I vomit, where I am visited by friends and my kids, where my mom sets up camp, where someone knocks on the door every twelve minutes. I'm given something to moisten my lips and I am visited by a fellow cyclist who's an orthopedic surgeon, who tells me all about how he could fix my clavicle. I vomit. after a few hours I no longer want a diet coke. they decide to keep me overnight, my mom brings me some pajama pants so I can change out of my bike shorts, and I am two degrees shy of completely miserable.
june 16, morning. I brush my teeth and am so very happy to have a clean mouth. they give me some jello and I eat a little, they bring me breakfast and I have two bites of blueberry pancakes, which look very good but don't seem to be able to get down my throat. I am discharged shortly before noon with a prescription of oxycodone and an appointment to see a surgeon the next day. I make john stop and get me a frosty from wendy's on the way home. I sit on the couch for a minute at home, have a bite or two of the frosty and a pill, and then I throw up. I go to bed.
june 16, afternoon and evening: I lie in bed, trying to be comfortable, then get up every few hours to either take a pill or to throw up. gee, this is fun.
june 17th, early morning: go see the surgeon who suggests that a titanium plate will help immensely in my healing process and long-term prognosis. he's cute, so I say okay.
june 17, rest of day: a blur of bed and couch and a decision to stop with the oxycodone because although I've stopped vomiting, I'm tired of feeling woozy and weird. switch to tylenol.
june 18: am able to read now, and I take a walk to my bank, as I can't drive my car. big ugly bump where my nice, smooth clavicle used to be. wish surgery could be today, but it has to wait until monday because the residents are graduating today. like they're more important than me?
june 19: quiet day, I spend most of it working gently and slowly on a photo album of my oldest son's picture. this project has been staring at me for almost 5 months, waiting for me to have some down time, which I now have. I can't work for too long at a time because, well, you can figure that out. a nap, some couch time, and a wish I could do more than I can.
june 20: more scrapbook work, naps, couch time, sighs. I stay up until 11, having something to eat and some tylenol because I have a midnight cut-off pre-surgery.
june 21, morning: okay, they said I could have water up until 7 am, so at 5 am I have half a glass of water with my tylenol. check-in time for surgery is 9:30, and john takes me and hangs out there with me. they take me away at 11:30, the anesthesiologist telling me he's going to put something in my IV so that I'll still be aware of everything, but I won't care . . .
june 21, afternoon: I next saw the clock at 1:30 pm, while listening to the nurse far, far away telling me to breathe, susan, take a deep breath. this went on for about the next 4 hours, until finally a nurse decided to put oxygen on me and let me take a nap. at 6:30 they started packing me up, deciding I was well enough to leave. another prescription for oxycodone, and I am on my way.
june 21, evening: I get home, eat a little applesauce, take a pill, and throw up. go to bed. I get up at eleven, take a pill, and go back to bed.
june 22, morning: wake up at 4:30 am, throw up. take a pill. wake up at 8 am, throw up. another pill and a little applesauce at 11 am, and it all stays down.
june 22, afternoon: in bed, pill every 4 hours or so, and by 7pm I am ready to eat half a bagel and three grapes. the vomiting is over, though I still carry a little plastic tub with me everywhere I go, just in case.
june 22, evening: bed, pill, bed, pill . . .
june 23: pill every 4 hours, I am groggy and weird and just able to eat applesauce, saltines, pieces of bagel, grapes. I lie in bed and wish the hour away, wish the day away.
june 24: decide it's time to give up oxycodone and switch to naproxen. a friend brings me lunch and I eat half a turkey and cranberry sandwich. this is progress. stomach is queasy all day and night, but I don't throw up.
june 25: stomach still uncomfortable, but am feeling more human. go for a walk, am able to read. give up on naproxen by end of day, switching to tylenol. sleep is difficult.
june 26: mope all day because my bad ass teammates and many friends are up in logan, riding the MS ride that I'd been planning to do. additional moping because the previous day was my birthday and I'm now officially a year older than I was. blah. highlight of day: I get to remove the surgical dressing! now I just have a criss-cross of surgi-strips decorating my right clavicle and shoulder. am still not sleeping well at night.
june 27: have now switched to ibuprofen every four hours, and am doing pretty well. get up at 4:40 and drive to hyrum, then drive up blacksmith fork canyon to volunteer my help at the Bad Ass-supported rest stop for the 2nd-day MS riders. chat with lots of people and try to reconcile the fact that I was supposed to be riding with the fact that I can't ride and that all is well either way. a challenge. spend 4 hours there and then drive home. am so depleted I can do nothing but lie on the couch and watch old dvd's I've seen at least a dozen times. finally go to bed at 8:30 pm and finally have a good night's sleep.
june 28: get up and go to 6 am spin class, just to see if my leg muscles still work. the answer: yes! my heart even seems to behave, and is willing to travel all over the map. I am careful with my right upper body, and leave sweaty and pretty happy. later that day I go to my favorite bike shop and buy a new helmet, because the next day will be two weeks since my crash, and I have it in my head that I might need to get back on my bike for at least a little spin . . .
june 29: I go for a whopping 6-mile ride on my real bike with my new helmet! I wear tennies instead of clipping in, because I'm not really confident in my balance and reaction time. all is well.
june 30: 6 am spin class again . . .
july 1: ride my real bike with new helmet and real cycling shoes, up emigration and back down and 20 miles was plenty, thank you. go to surgical follow-up appointment, where I am given permission to now raise my right arm above shoulder height (this has been my only restriction). he asks if I've been on my bike yet, and I respond, just twice . . . he tells me not to be sheepish, saying this is how you tell a real cyclist, if you tell them not to ride and they do it anyway. like a climber will go climb when you tell them no . . . he grins at me. then he says go ride.
july 2: I take the day off. I'm tired.
july 3: eighteen days and a few broken bones later, I finally celebrate my 4-year cycling anniversary up at the top of brighton. it was an okay climb, though my heart rate hovered in zone 5 for most of the climb. I hit a record heart rate on that last short, heart-breakingly steep section right before the top: 190. am down to ibuprofen just at night and in the morning. sleep is still difficult and I always wake up hurting.
but I am back on the bike, back to what I love, in an amazingly short period of time. many thanks to all of my friends and well-wishers, the cute doctor, an obviously loving God, and a benevolent universe.

and that's more than anyone ever needed to know about my broken-clavicle experience.
but now I have lived it, it's been documented, and I can release it into the past.

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