Stuntman And Lover Of Cheese

by Dan Bostonweeks


On Sunday Keith and I decided to go for a longer ride. We left our house, went through Emeryville to the waterfront and rode up the path there towards Richmond. The ride was going really well and we had done a little over sixteen miles so far. We were near where Pixar used to be and we were going to ride out to the point and turn around. While getting on a bike path I mis-judged a corner that was in shadow and ended up crashing. My front wheel went off the path and dropped down about four inches and then slammed into the edge of the path that was right in front of me. The corner was in shadow (this was at 9:30am) and I thought the bed that I rolled into was level with the bike path. It wasn’t until I was right on it that I saw it was lower, but by then it was too late. My wheel hit the edge of the bike path and turned out from under me. I ended up going over the handle bars and landing on my left shoulder on the concrete path. I’m not sure what else contacted exactly, but from the looks of it my right knee did as well (it’s now the most bruised area of my body). Luckily my head didn’t hit at all. Apparently my bike shot left and into Keith who was behind me. That caused him to crash but I was there to break his fall. I vaguely remember him landing on me, but I was already in so much pain at that point I didn’t really care. I was unable to roll myself over and I couldn’t move my left arm without massive amounts of additional pain. Keith finally got my pack off me and rolled me over to relieve me from laying on my left arm as I was. Many people in cars and on bikes stopped to ask if we needed help. By that time Keith had already called Cortney to come pick us up and take me to a hospital. Somewhere along the way someone else called 911 though and as I was laying there (I couldn’t even sit up without causing more pain) we heard sirens. The first officer on the scene told us someone had called in a hit-and-run with a bicyclist. We assured him that wasn’t the case at all. By that point another police cruiser had pulled up and we heard fire truck sirens coming. The Richmond Fire Department responded as the first on scene EMTs and they took my vitals and cut open my shirt to examine the injured area. They determined nothing like my collarbone was broken and made sure I was cognizant and could feel in my left hand. Shortly after that the ambulance arrived with the paramedics. They made sure I was movable and put me on the gurney and stuck me in the back of the ambulance. On the way to Doctor’s of San Pablo (one of my only two choices in hospitals) they got my information and made sure I was comfortable. That was pretty uneventful except that I was in a lot of pain. Once I was at the emergency room they had me switch to a hospital bed and took all my vitals again. The doctor asked if I wanted morphine and this is where I made the second biggest mistake of the day (mistake one being crashing my bike). I said I felt alright enough and I would ask for it later. BZZZZT! For those of you playing along at home the correct answer is: “Yes, shoot me full of morphine right now!” After a little while I told the doctor I could use some pain meds and she marked it down, but after that it took a long time (over an hour) to actually get the shot. I’ll go into that more in a moment. While I was waiting they needed to get X-Rays so they wheeled me down to radiology and I got a couple of shots taken. Returning to my hall position (no room yet) I was getting increasingly more and more pain and still no drugs. At some point they wheeled me into a room to reset my arm. After a little while a nurse came in and gave me morphine. Before that I was sitting there pulling my hair and I had tears streaming down my face uncontrollably because that was by far the greatest physical pain I’ve ever had. Not only were the natural endorphins wearing off but I could feel the tendons and whatnot holding my shoulder together getting tighter and swelling. After the morphine the edges of the pain were gone, but it was still a lot more painful than I thought it should be. The prep work for my “procedure” then began. The nurse came to put in an IV and put the constriction band on my arm. Lo and behold the same vein I’ve donated blood out of many times before popped right up. She then proceeded to take my hand and try to stick an IV in the top of it. She found a vein and got the needle in, but proceeded to wiggle it around too much and blew the vein, leaving me with a hand with blood pooling under the skin. In a day or two that would be one of the more painful bruises I’ve got. She got the IV in the arm on the first try and set me up with a saline drip. Right before they started on my an emergency happened in another room so I was left partially tied to the bed for them to reset my shoulder. When the doctor came back I was given a sedative to knock me out (the doctor said I would struggle too much otherwise) and told to count backward from 100. I remember at 84 starting to have trouble thinking about the numbers. The last number I remember saying is 79. Keith told me I got to 75, giggled, and then passed out. Apparently the doctor commented that I most people get as far as 85. I woke up about ten minutes later with Keith asking if the Doctor had a marker. He wanted to draw a mustache on my face. Admittedly that would have been funny, but I’m glad he didn’t. After the snapping my shoulder back into place I felt a lot better. I was also really hungry but had to continue waiting to be discharged. Cortney was great through the whole thing. At the scene she and Keith put the bikes into her car and then followed me in the ambulance to the hospital. She then took her car to Keith and my house, parked it, got clothes for both Keith and I, and then drove Keith’s car back up to the hospital to pick us up. She was amazing throughout and I can’t thank her enough. From the hospital I got a prescription from Vicodin and Ibubrofen. I have to tell you, I’m not a huge fan of the Vicodin. All it did was make me a little loopy and unable to concentrate. It really didn’t do much for the pain. The ibuprofen does help with the swelling and inflammation so I’ll stick to that. I was also issued an immobilizer which is a strap that goes around my chest and has a manacle for the upper arm on the side and the wrist in front. It basically keeps the arm from moving to prevent you from re-injuring it. The sucky thing was I had to wear it in bed and I’m a stomach sleeper. Sleeping on my back and side (barely) lead to a couple of nights of not good sleeping. Today I saw an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Charles Stuart of Mt. Tam Orthopedics. The visit was great. He told me I don’t have much to worry about since this is my first dislocation and I’m older it’s less likely that I’ll be able to re-injure it as easily as if I was younger. He did warn me off falling on it with a straight arm as that would probably dislocate it backwards again (like if there are three feet of freshies and I go and tumble straight armed. That wouldn’t happen anyway, but still). I now have a prescription for physical therapy and I’ll be working on strengthing the muscles to help prevent this from happening again. Updates as they occur.