May Cause Vomiting
“How are you?”
He looked at me, confused.
“My arm hurts.” I figured this would be obvious, “I can’t do anything. And my hair… I look like a crazy person.”
Before I left the hospital, I was told to make an appointment to see my surgeon one week after the accident. It seemed far too soon, after all, I still have the sticky tape residue from the morphine drip on my arm. Mind you, I am too scared to shower, so it’s not a big surprise. Needless to say, I’m sure he misses me – I felt a real connection, or as much of a connection as one can feel under the influence of morphine to a grown man wearing a shower cap. (Note to self: speak surgeon about shower cap, it’s unbecoming of a man of his stature and excessive education).
The last time we spoke, I remember him standing there in the shower cap talking to me about what he did in the operating room. I’m sure what he was saying was very important, but the puffy blue cap on his head held my undivided attention. The morphine, made it, well… hilarious. Hopefully, the follow-up appointment would fill in the gaps I missed. Hopefully, he would not be wearing the cap.
“Did you get an x-ray?” he asked.
Someone missed the part where they were supposed to tell me I needed to get an X-ray. Embarrassed, I offered to do a sketch to give an approximation of what I thought my x-ray might look like. He politely declined. I should mention that he was not wearing the shower cap, and looked far more distinguished as a result. It was my turn to look hilarious.
He explained that the primary reason for the appointment was to examine the wound, which he was concerned about. Apparently the skin around my elbow, or where my elbow used to be, had been badly damaged in the accident. The plate inserted into my arm was quite large and the remaining skin had to be stretched around it in order to close the incision. At this point I may have passed out for a short period of time. I was informed that the stitches would be removed and I would be outfitted with a less primitive and gargantuan cast. I think there must have been a contest among the surgeons to see who could be the first to fit an entire bocce set into an arm cast. If so, my surgeon certainly won. The goddamn thing weighed a ton.
The nurse was called in to remove the stitches. He was a short and muscular Filipino with long hair and lots of tattoos – someone you might expect to see on Forged in Fire, a show I got stuck watching about guys who make swords and axes. I had been watching a movie and was too sore to reach for the remote when it was over. I watched three entire episodes before my eyes started to bleed and I went to bed.
I became very anxious when he started cutting off my cast with the cast cutter. He struggled to saw through the countless layers of plaster and bocce set. Perhaps if he had used a Viking axe it might have gone smoother. Under the cast my arm looked lifeless and pathetic. It was a weird color and didn’t really seem attached my body. When he asked me to put it on the table so he could take stitches out, the request seemed insane. How could I possibly move this lifeless thing onto the table without passing out from the pain? I feebly flopped my arm painfully on the table, and he started snipping away at the staples and twine that held my arm together like a stuffed turkey. It was shockingly painful. I remember being told at some point in the hospital that my incision was small. So as he kept snipping, and snipping, and snipping, I asked him how big the incision was.
“You want me to take a picture?”
“Yes, a picture. So you can see before and after.”
“Um, ok, that would be cool.” I said, knowing full well it would not be cool.
I rummaged through my purse with one hand and pulled out my phone. He carefully lined up the shot and took the picture, proudly handing me back the phone. When I turned the screen back on, this is what I saw:
Jesus H. tap-dancing Christ.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Here, let’s make ourselves feel better with some googly eyes. They make everything hilarious. Sort of like a shower cap.
The hubby clarified that what the surgeon had actually said was that if the damage wasn’t too bad and he was able to repair the damage with pins, the incision would be small. But the damage was bad. Since they had to use a steel plate the size of a cookie sheet, the incision had to be equally enormous. They say that chicks dig scars. That may be true, but it refers to scars on other people. My elbow looks like an uncooked order of Chicken Kiev.
Yes, there are worse things. I know. Considering some of the other terrible things happening in the world and even in our own small cycling community, my troubles are pretty insignificant. But talking about terrible things can make them seem less terrible, no matter how terrible they are. In fact, they might even become hilarious.
Aw, buddy. I’m so sorry you have to go through this. I am a long time reader of your blog, and get a lot of enjoyment out of your posts. I’m rooting for you in Maine – heal well.
It kind of looks like Trump!
That probably makes it worse. :'(
You might have lightened the hardware (and gained some 90s era tech cred) by substituting the stainless steel for titanium. I don’t think carbon fibre is recommended for internal use.
Seriously, heal fast and recover quickly.
Jebus. Somehow the 6″ plate and 8 screws used to fix my collarbone seem insignificant now. Heal well , love your story tellings…
Andrea, you may write better than you cycle, and you cycle fuckin awesome! Keep the awesome sense fun about a crappy thing, it will help you heal, body and soul. I am absolutely embarrassed that I shared by little scrapes picture with anyone at all.
So… Which channel shows Forged in Fire?
You continue to continue to be… a happy/hapless heroine to me. Rock on!
I have to agree the googly eyes helped.
The googly eyes are great. Try to make it a smiley face next time. Ya know, positive thoughts. Wish I had thought of that with mine. Now all I have is a bulging hernia in my forearm that is forever known as the party trick – it grosses out people usually at the most inopportune times. I don’t even notice it anymore. Much anyway. Ok, I notice it all the time. Spirits up A! The recovery has started. Be well.
12 days left with crutches after a bike crash leading to a fractured pelvis. Lucky, no surgery. So, in some way, commiserate with you, and good to laugh a bit. First week was horrific, 2nd to 6th bearable, allowed to spin lightly from week 6 on, hurray. Heal fast
Andrea, just got back to reading your blog after many months away, and this is what I see! Ohhhhh! Heal up soon, and don’t get too addicted to pain killers. Yes, bicycling is a contact sport. Your body with the road, and the road always wins. Get well soon. Ted.
Andrea, it’s obvious that after your time off from the blog posts you’ve decided to come back with real attention grabber. I guess you may as well return with a juicy story and gory details to really bring back that readership!! So sorry to hear about this. I had a similar thing happen to me just at the beginning of cx season last year. Hopefully you’ll find some great Netflix binges to catch up on and you’ll come back even more excited to roll again, just in time to attack winter with rule V-engeance. Godspeed.
damm girl, that looks bad!
So sorry for your injury. I imagine the other orthopedic surgeons remain in awe of your surgeon for getting such a challenging repair which he did well. Just a suggestion, but when you decide to start with indoor cycling, you might want to use a static trainer, with 2 of your favorite tall strong friends/family for support in mounting and dismounting the bike and to help with shifting gears on one side. I really don’t think that rollers would be the right way to go at this time. Take good care of yourself. Wishing you a speedy recovery. (and good drugs).
Speaking as the owner of an ankle with three plates and with eighteen pins, I’m avidly interested in more details, more often… Please ? Or even a ‘preparing for Winnipeg winter ‘ post.
Daniel’so a funny guy, isnt he? Every time he’said called me since I set up my first appointment the only thing he says when he calls me is “hi it’s daniel”, like he’s calling an old friend
Heal well. Love the blog. You write so well. That arm looks scary. I have seen a lot of SH-t.
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