Tuesday
Nov022010

« Don't Try This Near Home »

my torelli bike, a bit in between road and track frame. my favorite ride.After working a straight 10.5 hour shift and closing out my workweek on Saturday a week ago, I stopped at the bike shop with my Torelli bike (the green one with a more upright geometry, more like a track bike with shorter wheelbase) and asked to have my tires swapped front to back. I had not had any problems or anything; the back was just getting a flat zone on the tread and I wanted to even out the wear on both tires. Totally optional work, this. After shooting the shit with the guys and feeling like the long day was wearing on me, I headed home. Just prior to getting home I unclipped my left foot from the pedal and aimed my toe at the side of the tread to knock off some debris that had been going around for a few blocks. The tires are Kevlar with a rubber layer on them; bulletproof stuff, and in a year and more I have had no flats or punctures. So this was totally optional. Still, I don't like seeing stones and gravel and muck on my tire so I tried to knock it off with my toe.

But on this bike, the pedals are always going—no coasting—and the left one came around, bumped my heel into the side of the tire and simultaneously stopping me as my toe got caught in the space between wheel and downtube on the frame, knocking the wheel and steering way left, way suddenly, and dumped me in a hurry, right to the pavement. My shoulder took the worst of it, and my 225 lbs made for a forceful fall. Hip and right hand took a bit of the weight, but by far the shoulder got it best. Momentarily dazed, I sat up, still clipped in on my right pedal (which could have been a bad scene for my right ankle), looked around for any "audience," found none, then got up and walked the two doors back to my house. I felt pretty dumb. The bike got just a couple scuffs, and I had no scrapes or rips.

Kelli had some friends over and I made my way in like usual, hanging my bike on the rack and then retiring to my room for some email. I took a shower, finding some of those gestures to be really painful at points, then told Kelli about the spill and that maybe it was time to get a bit of medical attention at the urgent care.

Dressing again confirmed that all was not feeling well. There were no bruises or scars so I was fearing for something worse. But at the urgent care, the Xrays showed nothing wrong at the bone level. So I guess it is just some muscle bruising that will take a while to work out. The UC doc sent me out with a prescription for Vicodin, which so far has had no discernible effect on pain, but has indeed made me a bit drowsy, but not enough to shut me down for those few days when I took it. I remember it having similar non-effect when I took it for dental surgery. I don't know why I keep getting it. More helpful was the stop at Rite Aid for a double scoop ice cream with Kelli on the way back.

I recalled immediately the experience earlier in the year when I had sprained the same shoulder and had to take a couple days off of work. This at least happened just as I began my weekend, so I had at least two days to gauge my ability to work. I called in on Monday night saying I'd skip Tuesday, then went to the office to ask for another day off on Wednesday. This silly little exercise in minding my tires has proven to cost me nearly $300 with lost work and meds and the office co-pay!

I returned to work for a three-day week and had mixed success. More time away would help, but there are a couple guys who are able to help at points, and on this week, the powers that be were minding overtime closely so the days actually conformed to eight hours or close to that. There was no liking the business of lifting 50 lb boxes of potatoes or celery or cabbage. No enjoyment in lifting bags of onions that don't even maintain a form to grip. The motion associated with pushing things outward across the van compartment with my left (dominant) arm was almost agonizing at times, but was not needed as much as I would typically do.

Sleeping has been on my back or right side, and even trying to get to my left is like going back to the scene of the fall. I have some PT scheduled for next week, and maybe it will get me back into flexibility. But before then are four more days of work which might be easier than last week and would require a decent amount of motion anyway. When I did one PT session in March for this same shoulder, the right side ended up getting more sore from the whole range of new motions introduced bilatlerally and actually upstaged the problem at the left! I found myself more thoroughly sore from PT than from a sprained left shoulder.

This whole experience was the first time I actually fell off my bike while in motion since my return to biking, but I am certain that I'd have to go back years into my younger years to find a bike spill like this, and I don't even recall any that left any lasting pain. I guess I could have waited two more houses to clean my tires off.

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