I suspect I'm like a lot of cycling enthusiasts in that I wish I possessed the skill, ability, talent, power, strength, and mental toughness of Lance Armstrong. While I know I'll never be able to come close to him in those respects, I have been training over the last several months to improves those aspects of my cycling. Today, though, I can say that I am matched with him in one area: we both have a broken collarbone.
I was doing a training ride on a nearby canyon road this morning, and after having finished my last uphill effort, I turned my bike around and began to "soft pedal" my way back down. I was at the bottom of the gradual hill when a squirrel came out of the grass and onto the shoulder. It did the stereotypical skittish squirrel back-and-forth, but ultimately decided to run in front of me. It went under my front tire, made my front wheel skid sideways, and down I went. It wasn't the worse bike accident ever, but the impact was hard enough to put a crack in my helmet, dent an aluminum tube on my bike, and make left my collarbone a 3-piece puzzle.
Once I got my wits about me, I called Peg on my cell and she raced the 6 miles from the house to where I was. In the mean time, I was aided by the kindness of strangers... 2 cyclists and 2 drivers stopped to check on me, and the one driver hung around until Peg arrived. It was also during this time that I began to take an inventory. I could tell I had some pretty good patches of road rash on my left side, and that my arms and leg bones didn't hurt. Nor did my back, neck or head. But I couldn't say for certain what condition my left shoulder and/or collarbone was in. Based on the amount of pain and the weird "popping" I felt, though, I had a suspicion things weren't as they should be.
Peggy arrived, and we threw my bike on the bike rack, and made our way to the Emergency Room. After eking my way through the admissions process (I had yet to be introduced to Fentanyl at that point) I made my way to a bed in the ER. I spent a couple of hours there while they took some X-rays, cleaned my abrasions, and gave me an IV while my vitals came back to normal (at admissions and another time in the ER, my blood pressure had dropped quite a bit.)
It was then time for the "road test," whereby the hospital staff wanted to see how steady I'd be on my feet. So we walked down to the monitor to see my X-rays, and I was pretty shocked. Three pieces: two larger pieces on either end, and what looked to be about a 1-inch piece in the center. I then got my discharge instructions, Rx for pain meds and left the hospital.
Driver/Peggy than drove me around to get the Rx filled, get some lunch for us (it was about 4:00p at this point and neither one of us had lunch) and then back to the crash site to see if we could find a cycling computer that came off during the impact. No luck on the computer, but I did find out one thing... I, unlike the squirrel, was able to leave the area.
Eventually, we got back home, and, with the Percocet-and-600mg-of-ibuprofen combo kicking in, had Peg make an appointment with the orthopedist. I'll be seeing him on Friday morning, and should learn then whether or not surgery is needed.
To be sure, today was not an easy one. But it was definitely a lot better having my better-or-worse, sickness-and-health partner with me... Thanks, Peg. (And, by the way, Peg... I'm ready for my sponge bath.)