Well I stopped taking the prescription pain medications yesterday afternoon in anticipation of needing to drive myself to work starting on Monday. I've also taken off the sling a few times for a few hours at a time just to relieve some of the stiffness in my elbow joint. Overall I think I'm doing pretty well, although I don't know if I'll be able to do 8 hours straight sitting at my desk...we'll see.
I've owned a mountain bike for nearly 10 years now, having bought my Trek 7000 in 1999. During that time, it has served me well at many autocrosses getting me from paddock to wherever I needed to go without fail, but it had never seen a trail. A few weeks ago, Scott, a friend of mine whom I've commuted to work with several times this year, began talking about some mountain biking rides he'd been going on once a week with a friend of his. I borrowed some suitable shoes from Danny and decided I'd give it a go. Sunday I tuned up my bike and put the knobby tires back on for our planned outing on Monday after work.
I'll admit I was pretty nervous, having spent all of my cycing time on the road since I started riding again a few years ago. Scott and I met up with Jim and Dan at around 5pm and the 4 of us headed out from Jim's house to Patapsco State Park to ride some trails. I have to say that the ride was more nerve wracking than difficult for me. I thought I would struggle with the climbing but did fine; I did, however, struggle with the descending and was pretty much on edge each and every time the trail took a downward turn.
About 5 or 6 miles into the ride I was starting to feel a little bit better about things, but was still pretty nervous. Jim and Scott had been great about calling out characteristics of the trail before we approached them, providing me plenty of time to prepare for them. We came to a point where Jim warned me that the decent ahead was pretty steep and that I would have to get way off the saddle to make it down safely. I fell to the rear and watched Jim and Dan make it down without issue. Scott was next and he told me that he had walked this in the past and that this was his first attempt at riding it down. As I watched him go I saw his rear tire come off the ground in what could have been disaster, but he made it down safely.
I started decending, taking it pretty slow. In fact, I thought I might be going too slow and that if my front tire hit one of the larger exposed roots it might stop the bike and send me over the bars. I released more brake and started to accelerate; within a couple of seconds of that I was going over. I landed on the right side of my head and my right shoulder. The wind was knocked out of me and as I started to roll onto my back I could feel and hear crunching in my right shoulder area. I announced that something was broken and after looking at it, my riding mates agreed. My bike lay about 5 feet away from me, the front tire flat and a tree branch sticking through the front wheel. Dan and Scott helped me get to my feet and they fashioned a sling out of Scott's shirt. Jim called his wife and asked her to meet us at the road nearest our position, which was about a mile away.
As we started to walk, Scott pushing my bike and Jim pushing his bike and Scott's, I tried to call Karrie but got no answer. I called her dad, Lynn, explained the situation to him and asked him to try to get a hold of her to meet me at the hospital emergency room. A few minutes later Karrie called me back and said she was dropping Brady off at her parents and would be on her way.
The accident happened at around 5:30pm and I signed in at the ER at around 6:30pm. Scott stayed with me until Karrie came and I was grateful to have his company even though he took some unauthorized pictures of me with about a pound of sand in my ear and hair. At around 8pm I was triaged and given a room and shortly after that was taken to x-ray. Films were taken of my shoulder, left ribs and left wrist. After about another hour the physicians assistant came in and told me that my collar bone was broken in three places, but the ribs and wrist were fine. It was about this time too, that I was first given something for the pain.
Around 10pm they discharged us from the ER with a prescription for some pain medication and an order to follow up with an orthopedic surgeon ASAP. After we found a 24-hour pharmacy (thanks to some help from Karrie's mom) we headed home. Brady spent the night with Nana and Pappy; Karrie and I spent the night on the reclining couch after I was unable to get comfortable on the bed.
Tuesday morning we started calling orthopedic surgeons to try to make an appointment. It was frustrating to say the least, but we finally got an appointment for 1:15pm that day. The doctor looked at the films and said we should follow up with him in 2 weeks time to see how things are progressing, at which point if it wasn't going well we'd discuss a surgical option.
That evening Scott and his wife Julie brought my truck over and also brought us dinner from Boston Market, which we really appreciated. Wednesday and today I've had some rib pain, but overall am feeling much better. I hope to ween myself off the pain medications by the weekend and return to work on Monday.
More updates to come.