Friday night after work, I rolled out of the parking lot feeling pretty good. I had just sold a bike adding another number to the board and in general life was good. I think it was about 7:15PM or so when I left.
I had decided to stop and get a drink at a gas station on the way home. I don’t know what I hit when I turned into the driveway. I was later told there was a glass coke bottle on the ground there as well as a pot hole in the concrete. Whatever it was, the handlebars jerked hard right throwing me left off the bike. I went sailing over the ditch and the soft grass to hit and rolled up off the curb into the nice hard pavement. Laying there looking up at the night sky, some nice folks came over to check on me. At the time, I thought I was fine there was no pain at all. Just had the wind knocked out of me. So after a moment’s rest I went to get up, but realized instantly the mistake that was. Pain shot through my shoulder like I had never felt in my life. Now mind you I have broken six bones over my short time on this dirt ball called earth. None felt like this one. I knew I had broken my collar bone.
First a cop showed up. He took a report on the accident for me and gave me a small note to keep in my pocket in case I needed to reference it later for insurance purposes. I removed my helmet as it was causing my head to lean forward at an odd angle and stressing the pain in my shoulder further. I called my girlfriend to let her know where I was and that I was still breathing in and out. The cop asked me who was going to move my bike. My guess is that the four or five tow trucks were all foaming at the mouth hoping to get my bike and make a little money. I called a friend of mine who came and got the bike for me and brought it back to my house foiling them all.
The ambulance arrived, paramedics came over and began the job of causing the victim as much pain as possible before transporting them (me) to a hospital ready to leach as much weight out of my wallet to help ease my distress when walking. I asked the guy to look at my collar bone and see if it was broken. He said it didn’t look broke, but that it was hard to see. They asked who took my helmet off twice. I explained that I had taken it off myself. They went to put a neck brace on me. I tried to explain that with the pain in my shoulder I thought that would be a bad idea, but they had procedure to follow in this sort of situation. So they put it on me anyway. They brought out a back board. I had no idea how they were going to get me on it without touching the shoulder. Reaching with my right arm across my body I held my left arm to my side and they rolled my up on my right to place the board. Then they taped me down to it. I had to lean my head right and put pressure on the neck brace to keep it from pushing left on my broken collar bone. They then lifted me up and put me on the ambulance gurney. I gave my cell phone to my girlfriend, I have an Iphone and didn’t want it to grow legs if I passed out. She also agreed to stay and help my friend get the bike back to our house before catching up with me at the hospital.
I think the ambulance driver knew a shortcut to the hospital. I say that because I’m almost positive we never touched a paved road the entire trip there. I felt every bump and pebble in the road. Each time he hit a turn it pushed me against the rail on the gurney and sent fresh waves of pain throughout my body emanating from that shoulder.
When we got into the emergency room I could hear quite a lot of folks in the area, but only see the ceiling as my head was taped down still. I asked the paramedic to help me get the collar off my neck so I could relax a little, but was informed that only a doctor could authorize its removal. Well while that made perfect sense, it did nothing to ease my pain. Shortly after that someone came over and checked out my neck. They finally removed the offending neck brace so I could stretch my neck out and relax. They had to cut the tape off and help me sit up (still holding my left arm to my body) then moved me into a wheel chair. When the lady asked me what was wrong I told her I thought my collar bone was broken. The paramedic took another look at it and said other than some swelling in one particular area, it didn’t appear to be broken. They took my info and moved me in my chair out into the hallway to wait for a doctor and a chance to be seen.
A little info to help you understand the gravity of my situation here, it was Friday night, a full moon, and the weekend before New Years Eve. The place was packed. I didn’t get out of there until after midnight and the accident had happened around 7:30PM or so. I sat in that wheel chair against a wall in the hallway for a long time; it was standing room only that night. My girlfriend showed up and I had her help me cause even more pain to myself. My thoughts were of them trying to use those sharp doctor scissors to cut the $350.00 leather jacket off of me, so I had her help me take it off. She then became my personal coat rack. She had to hold my helmet, my jacket, and the work shirt that I also took off. I spent $80.00 on those shirts and I wasn’t about to have to buy another of those either. A couple of hours went by. I saw lots of people coming in but rarely saw anyone leave.
When I saw guy and his very obviously preggers wife arrive, she was standing there shaking in shock of some kind, I gave up my seat to her. Chivalry is harder when you are in as much pain as I was, but it’s how I was raised. Piece of advice to you however, never lean against a wall with a broken collar bone. Hurts like hell. Anyway, they finally saw me around 11:45 or so and took the X-rays, sure enough. What I had been telling everyone since it happened turned out to be right. It was broken. I was given some pain pills and put in a room. Someone brought me a chicken salad sandwich that I am ever grateful for. Then they put me in a harness told me to see an orthopedic specialist regarding the break. The only way I can describe the torture device that this harness is, is to liken it to those old shoulder holsters the detectives wear in cop shows, but designed for both sides. The idea is to hold your shoulders back so you won’t hunch while the bone heals. They can’t cast a broken clavicle. So they stretch you out and squirm gleefully behind your back at the excruciating pain they cause you.
Looking at the X-rays, I have a small part of bone still attached to the shoulder. The longer part of the bone is jabbed up into the muscle that stretches over the top of your shoulder. The doc at the ER said that she thought they may have to surgically go in and fix it. She said the conventional way to do it was to just keep the shoulder brace on and let it heal itself, but that now, depending on the kind of break, they sometimes had to put the bone back where it belonged, put a couple of small metal plates and a few screws in it to insure it healed right.
Thus I have an appointment for today around lunch time. Hope they just knock me out, do the surgery, and get me on my way. I want this done and over with so I can start the healing process and get back on my bike. Beautiful weather yesterday. I really missed the ride I could have had.
Speaking of the bike: I broke the left mirror, bent the risers and handle bars down towards the tank and put a scrape in the paint on the left side of the tank about the size of a silver dollar. Also the bike won’t start. The lights come on and the fuel injection primes, but when you hit the start button you hear that clicking sound you get when the battery is dead. Since the lights never dim, it could mean several things. Hopefully none of them too expensive to fix as I am going to be dropping a pretty large load of cash on medical bills and land taxes that are coming up on us.