Sunday October 12, 2003
This morning I woke up feeling
great. Completely exhausted, but great. Today was the day I put
the cap on my biggest training week in almost two years. After using
the month of September to get back into the training routine, this
week I decided to step up the training. I did two workouts a day
on most days, and even did three yesterday. I started in the morning
by going for a two hour run, then played an intense game of Ulitmate
Frisbee in the afternoon and finished up at night with a really
fun, but really hard Night Orienteering race at Kincaid Park.
I was very sore as I crawled out of bed, but today
would be easier. Just a mellow 3 hour run with Scott McArt to finish
off the week. With those three hours, I would reach 18 hours for
the week. Huge considering I had been averaging about 8-10 hours/week
for most of the summer.
Scott and I were headed up to Symphony Lakes, where
I took some great foliage
pictures last month.
From the start I was exhausted. I couldn't keep up.
Scott would run ahead and I would do my best to keep him from getting
more than a minute or two in front. We ran from the trailhead, up
to Symphony Lakes, crossing a large boulder field on the way. We
then climbed up a small peak for a view before turning around and
heading back. As we were crossing back across the boulder field,
we stopped for a minute to discuss our route, or something like
that. As we started back up, with the smooth trail only a short
way ahead of us, I slipped. Normally if you slip or trip while running,
you fall forward 'superman' style. While sometime painful, this
kind of fall allows you to put a hand out and cushion the fall.
When I slipped, possibly because the rock moved or I stepped on
ice (I'm not sure), my foot slipped down and backwards. My other
foot then stumbled into another rock as I tried to regain my footing
and I fell over backwards. As I was falling, I remember knowing
that I was not in a posistion to break my fall with an arm or anything.
I was thinking that I was going to hit my head hard on a rock and
there was nothing I could do.
Sure enough. Whack! The most vicious blow to the head
I have ever had (and I wrecked a few bike helmets in my days). I
hit so hard that I thought I had cracked my skull. I jumped back
to my feet as quickly as I could and quickly reached for the back
of my head with my left hand. I was still concious, this was good.
I felt the back of my head and was relieved to find it still intact.
But as I lowered my left arm after the inspection, I discovered
a new problem. My collarbone was moving around in a most un-natural
way. Scott asked if I was okay. "Umm yeah, I think so. But
I think I broke my collarbone." I had never broken a collarbone
before, but there was no mistaking the feeling. Bone was moving
around where there was no joint.
I pulled my let arm in tight against my body and began
walking back towards the car. We still had about six miles to go
to the trailhead and I steeled myself for the long, painful walk.
I spent the walk convincing myself that it wasn't so bad. My head
appeared to be okay and that was the important part. I was thinking
that collarbones heal fast. They'll give me a sling and I might
only be out of commision for a month or so. The pain wasn't excruciating,
maybe the break wasn't that bad. At one point I got sick of walking
and started running again. The pain of the bouncing was bearable,
but the pain of breathing heavily was too much. I walked. An hour
and a half later we reached the trailhead and Scott drove me half
an hour to the emergency room.
X-rays in the ER confirmed the break. But it was worse
than I expected. The bone had shattered into three pieces: the two
ends, which weren't even close to touching each other, and a section
in the middle that was poking up into the skin. For your enjoyment,
here is that xray.
The ER doctor said I would need surgery to install
a metal plate. This kind of break would not heal on its own. Crap,
there goes my insurance deductible. They sent me home and scheduled
a surgery for Tuesday. I spent the next day at home on the couch
afraid to move waiting for my sugery the next morning.
After surgery, my clavicle looked like this:
A big metal plate and seven screws holding me together.
I spent the next few days on the couch, doped up on some big horse-sized
pain pills. The doctor said I would be in a sling for a month. No
activity except for walking. This was going to be hell.
I tried to mentally prepare myself for the next few
weeks, but I had no idea how tough it was going to be. A timeline:
Went back to see doctor for follow-up
visit. He said x-ray looks good and that it was a good decision
to have surgery - while operating they found lots of small bone
fragments floating around which they removed. The doctor gave me
two weeks worth of pain killers, but I stopped taking them yesterday.
The pain wasn't that bad anymore, and I hated the feeling of being
I start to become revolted by my
own smell. Because of the bandages on my shoulder I cannot shower
yet. I do my best to clean myself, but since I can't lift my left
arm, my armpit is very foul. (You just let me know when I have shared
too much information)
I am officially going stir-crazy.
I am too tired to do any work or move around, but I can't sleep
24 hours a day. I am mireable laying on the couch, but it is the
only place I can get comfortable. Linda sees me as so miserable
that she even offers to get Cable TV (something we havbe agreed
not to pay for) for the month so I can fill my days with ESPN. I
decline the offer, hoping that the worst is almost over.
My first real shower!!! I take
off the bandanges and let the water rinse over me for an hour or
so. Linda says she has never seen me look as sad as I did when I
first saw my new scar, which runs the entire length of the collarbone.
I tried sleeping in a bed tonight but it was too painful, so I went
back to the couch. The pain has almost completely subsided, but
it is still very sore to the touch. I have started to walk occassionally.
Getting outside has never been so exciting!
Finally slept a full night in the
bed. I am feeling the urge to do more exercise than just walking.
I went to the gym and rode the stationary bike today. I was so bored
after 20 minutes that I had to give up and go home.
Halloween. My first night 'out'.
Went to a Halloween party dressed as a 'one-arm bandit.' Dressed
up like an outlaw with my arm in a sling.
in the November Journal