18 November 2008

Now that I'm coherient..

Here's the full story:

Sunday morning I joined up with the team for a quick 20 mile recovery ride. Nothing big, I've been on this route a few times before. It starts at Falls Church High School, and heads through some of the local back roads. Some are busy, but most have a very forgiving shoulder to allow cyclists plenty of room. Harriet, Robin, and I set out on our journey just after the "A" riders.. and lost site of them, apparently when they turned at we didnt. We realized our mistake after about a mile, since we had all made that mistake on the ride the previous time. Turned around, grabbed the right road, and continued on our way. Met up with some of the 15 mile riders, and chatted it up with them. I passed the girl who was borrowing my old bike, and Nelson and Kate decided to ride with Robin, Harriet and I. We got to a 4 way stop prior to a car, so we took our left turn. Well, this crazy old man slams on the horn as he's running through the stop sign... turns, and proceeds to yell at us for running a stop sign. Nelson clearly explained that he ran the stop sign while slamming on his horn. We told him he was a grouchy old man, and went along on our way. I almost had a dog run into our group, after the owner was checking us out as we rode by.. pretty funny. :) One part of the ride featured an out and back around mile 13 or so. We saw the "A" riders heading back, so we decided to cut out the hill and join back up with them. Tagged along, and I was the last to turn around so I was bringing up the tail end. We headed up a hill, and Robin and Harriet spotted Luke, another teammate on the side of the road waiting for a SAG vehicle. They were slightly ahead of me, so I assumed they would have regained speed from the downhill as I approached, however I don't believe they had. Here's where things get fuzzy. I'm not sure if I just clenched on the brakes to hard and went over, or if I was braking and hit something in the road, losing control and going over. Either way, I went over the handlebars around 25mph, skidding past Robin who was still riding, while I was on my face. I don't remember much other than crawling on the ground for a minute, gasping for air, spitting out blood, and Luke saying he was an Army EMT(?). Then nothing again for a few minutes, until being loaded into the ambulance, refusing to be backboarded because my ribcage and neck hurt. I remember Ed knocking on the door, and just waving to him through the window as I was bleeding everywhere. I don't remember much of the ride to the hospital, but I remember being wheeled through the ER. Then the questions came - "Do you have your insurance card?" No. "License?" No.. I was running late because I fed my friends cat and forgot to grab them and put them in my saddle. "Where do you live?" I umm.. 7706.. no thats not right. 23.. no, thats not right either.. oh my gosh I can't remember where I live (in my defense, I just moved about 3 months ago, and have had about 8 addresses in the past 3 years). They start checking my vitals and hooking me up to a saline drip. Finally I remember and just blurt out 6614E! They looked at me like I was nuts, but then realized that I was repeating my address over and over through my blood-gushing mouth. Coach Ed and Robin came into the ER to see how I was and fill the doctors in with info I was missing. They told me my helmet was cracked, and I showed them my now ruined sunglasses (who knew so much plastic could be shaved off and STILL not bust. Thank you, Smith sunglasses). I was wheeled off to my CAT scan, where I had to try to explain to a nurse how to get all my piercings out with a jacked up mouth. Finally, I got everything out, and was able to be scanned. Returned to the ER, then was wheeled off to x-ray for my face, neck, and chest. The doctors come back in amazement that I didn't have a concussion, no skull, neck, or chest damage. I didn't break my clavicles either. Instead, I broke both hinges of my jaw, broke directly down the center of my jaw, shattered the plate behind my upper lip, and rearranged a good deal of my teeth, chipping most of them. I have stitches in my chin. So the painkillers flowed, as a good 10 or so people from the team came to the ER to visit. I have never been so overwhelmed with feeling than seeing people come in and out of the room to see me. Special thanks to Robin, Sebastian, Ester, Jason, Ed, and all the others came through. And especially to Coach Ed, who almost puked while they stitched my chin closed. My roommates came to pick up my car and bikes. OH my bike! The only damage it sustained was a bit of scratching the brake levers, and the right aerobar is a little out of whack and scratched up. Apparently it was the second question I asked Coach Ed - is my bike okay? He called my mom to suggest she come out, and her first question was did I look okay.. and the second? "Is her bike okay? I know that meant the world to her right now and I don't want to think about what happens if that bike is totaled". Ed came in the room laughing, telling me it was my moms second concern as well. My mom knows me well. :)

I had my jaw wired shut yesterday. I'll most likely need some new teeth, as they've already pulled one, and they don't think a few others will reestablish their presence in my mouth. I'll be wired totally shut for the next few weeks, then rubberbanded so I can start doing some PT on my jaw.

Overall, I'm damn lucky. Thanks to everyone for the well wishes.


Maggs said...

Man, that hurts just reading it. I really wish you speedy recovery. Thinking of you.

Rainmaker said...

Wow. Like maggs said, I flinched a few times just reading it. I'm thinking about ya and wish you a quick recovery!

khai said...

Damn girl, that's insane! I'm glad to hear that you're doing as well as you are, ands that you've still got a good perspective on things - that is huge, and I'm sure will be an immense help with your recovery.

I have to say that I absolutely LOVE the fact that your mother asked about your bike as well - that just kicks ass...

Heal up quickly, and get back on the 'hoss as quickly as you can.

Sarah said...

Uuuugh I was almost crying reading this. Things could have been so much worse. I'm so glad that although the injuries you have are, I'm sure, super-painful, your brain is ok :)

Sarah said...

Uuuugh I was almost crying reading this. Things could have been so much worse. I'm so glad that although the injuries you have are, I'm sure, super-painful, your brain is ok :)

Mike said...

I had my jaw wired shut for a month back in '02. I didn't crack it down the middle, but I did fracture both sides.

Enjoy the milkshakes and don't be afraid to just suck down a cup of gravy once in a while—seriously. Tomato soup gets old fast, and you need some fat and salt in your diet. Also, look for golden mushroom soup. Just strain out the mushrooms. Don't try to blend anything too weird--it ends up clogging your teeth up. Protein's easy because you can get it in a milkshake. Carbohydrate is pretty easy as well—Jamba Juice (preferably the kind without seeds). It's fat that's tough to get in your diet.

It might weird you out a little how undeveloped your jaw muscles will be when you get unwired. You may even feel them tensing while your jaw is wired shut—don't let that freak you out. Ironically, the easiest thing to eat when you get unwired will again be ice cream.

Oh, and learn to talk with your lips more than your mouth. It's funny, I had to re-teach myself to move my mouth when I talked after they unwired me.