Friday, October 30, 2009

My Big Break

I promise to move on to new topics very soon, but this new x-ray of my shoulder was too cool to leave out.  It shows the break much more clearly than I remembered seeing it on the first set of x-rays.

That big white peninsula that goes horizontally across the top is my clavicle.  That biggish island floating offshore?  That's not supposed to be there.


  1. I feel for ya! Your story is all too familiar to me. One year ago next Sunday I had my first ever broken bone. I was out for a Saturday ride. I decided to cross a bridge with a metal grate bridge deck. I know better. I usually take the cement sidewalk on this busy bridge. But that day there were no cars in sight and I thought I'd get across the fast way in the traffic lanes. As soon as I hit the metal grating my front wheel went out from under me. I remember, like you, my head hitting the guard rail on the way down and thinking to myself that I was glad I wear a helmet. Then my out stretched upper arm landed on the sharp curb. When I looked up from the ground I could see my arm was pointing off over my head in a very unnatural position. (just typing that still makes me cringe) My first adrenaline filled thought was to get out of the way. I jumped to my feet and tried to move my bike, but the intense pain from my right arm required me to support it with my left arm. Luckily a car came along and asked me if I needed help. I knew I did some damage and asked them to call an ambulance. I remember telling everyone it was my collar bone or dislocated shoulder. Turns out (and this is my surgeon's assessment) I had blasted apart my humerus bone. He said it was the worst break he'd ever seen. It required a plate and screws, six weeks home from work, three months of rehab, and lots of pain medication. One year later, I have yet to have a pain free day.

    What did I learn? I learned how one split second and a questionable decision can change your life forever. I still have trouble wrapping my brain around it.

  2. Doug, this was the scariest thing I encountered this Halloween. "blasted apart" your humerus... brrrrr.

    Were the grates in the bridge parallel with your tires? Tracks for light-rail trains scare me for this reason; it seems very easy to get a tire stuck in there and you're done.

    Sorry for the year you've endured. I hope Sunday's anniversary brings the beginning of a better year and the beginning of the end of pain.

  3. It was metal grating, the whole bridge deck is metal. So it was both parallel and perpendicular. It's a lift bridge. The bridge is made with a deck that allows wind to pass through it when it is lifted. There was a light dusting of snow coming down, but the roadways were dry. The snow must have had just enough moisture in it to make the metal grating very slick. It was a dumb mistake.

    Anyway...I hope your recovery goes smoothly and you'll be back on the bike before you know it.