Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I SO Need a Safety Bubble

"Michelle, what happened?!"

I heard these words of my coworkers through a fog and snapped back to consciousness. What did happen? I was sitting at my work desk and was wearing my scrub pants but I had absolutely no idea how I got there. The vet, whose office is conveniently just down the hall, appeared and started asking questions about my incident. I began to remember that I had been riding my bike and that at some point I was flying through the air and assumed that meant I crashed. That's it. She asked where I had biked from, how I crashed, and how I got to the animal center and I had no answers. My brain was a blank slate. All I knew was that my head and shoulder hurt like crazy and I was in a complete panic as I had no idea what had just happened to me.

The vet proceeded to contact Brian so that he could take me to the ER (she later told me she didn't want to call an ambulance since I looked completely terrified as it was). In the meantime, she fashioned a makeshift sling for my arm and wrapped a towel around my neck to provide stabilization. While we waited for Brian to arrive my coworkers and the vet kept probing for answers. Things started to slowly come back to my memory. Well, at least the things that happened previous to the crash. I could remember that it was Tuesday, where I parked my car, and how I managed to initiate the crash. I remembered that as I was rolling up to the animal center road I shifted my backpack in order to reach my badge from my back jersey pocket. The backpack overshifted and swung completely around my shoulder and over the front of the bike. That, of course, got caught up in the front wheel and abruptly halted the bike's forward momentum. Inertia took over and I kept moving right over the top of the handlebars. I remember flying over the bars, flipping completely over in the process, and landing on the side of my head/face/shoulders. (DUMB MOVE, Michelle).

Brian got to the Animal Center pretty quickly and escorted me to my second ER visit of 2012. Many x-rays and a ct scan later proved that I had suffered a concussion and separated my shoulder but there were no life-threatening injuries. I learned that while a dislocation is when the humerus pops out of the socket, a separation involves the clavicle separating from the shoulder joint when the ligaments are traumatically stretched or torn. I was relieved to hear nothing was broken but unfortunately I will still be in a sling while scar tissue forms for an amount of time TBD tomorrow at the orthopedist. Surgery used to be the default for this type of injury until recently when it was determined the risk of arthritis was too high. In any case, we left the ER, picked up my precious prescription of vicodin, and spent the rest of the afternoon finishing up the last few episodes of Firefly.

Against my better judgement I then decided to go to work today. My face felt like it had undergone dental surgery, my head throbbed with migraine-like pains, and my shoulder was a swollen mess. But the monkeys needed me, right?  It was tough going but at least I did find out a few more details that helped fill in some blanks my traumatized brain refused to fill. I found out that after my accident I must have gotten back on my bike and rode the half mile to the guard gate. I then showed the guard my badge about 8 times before he convinced me I could go in (apparently he's in big trouble for not reporting to anyone that zombie Michelle showed up to work yesterday). I rode the additional quarter mile to my building, parked my bike where I always do, and proceeded to go to my office and pulled on a pair of scrubs. I sat down at my desk at around 7:40 and went undead until 8:00 which is when my coworkers showed up and found me, as they described, pale, bug-eyed, shaking, and staring at the wall. What is absolutely amazing to me is that I still remember NONE of that. It's like my brain went into survival mode upon impact but still decided getting to work...on my bike... and preparing to feed baby monkeys was a component of survival. I think I need a vacation!

This pile o' fun comes after a recent bout of overtraining coupled with a respiratory tract infection that required two weeks of excessive sleep and absolutely no athletic endeavors in order to remedy. How did I manage to overtrain despite hardly running? Well, in my mind no amount of cycling could ever equal running so I basically biked myself stupid (which warrants another "DUMB MOVE, Michelle"). After the two weeks off I finally regained energy and motivation and just this past weekend I enthusiastically put together a running program to build to a fall half marathon. Just two days into the new training plan I go and smash myself into the ground. Of course.

2012 has been a lesson in patience, for sure. This particular incident was also a lesson in the HUGE importance of wearing a helmet. While I can't remember a few details (ok, 30 continuous minutes) of my day yesterday, I can't even imagine how much worse off I would be had I not had one on. 

And, as a random aside, in order to type this and anything else today I have had to position the keyboard next to my side so that my slinged hand can reach. It's almost like the way you would play a keytar. After making this connection, my next thought was of this cartoon which I find absolutely awesome and a positive way to end this entry :)


  1. cyborg 00Michelle

  2. That's pretty scary! But don't feel bad - we've all been there. Similar thing happened to me once, I came out of it okay, fortunately, but it's never fun.

  3. AHHHHH! no.... that really sucks.

    Well, you'll be good in the fall. :)

    "Well, in my mind no amount of cycling could ever equal running..." Just keep pedaling, you'll find out ;)