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12 weeks. Enough....

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

12 weeks. Enough....

Old 12-23-10, 09:00 PM
  #1  
RoadToNowhere
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12 weeks. Enough....

I can't be on the road... so I'll check in with you people who can..

12 weeks ago tomorrow, nasty crash... avoiding a head-on with a car in the wrong lane... boom, smash on the head of my left shoulder, comminuted collarbone break, 3 fractured ribs. Pain beyond anything I've ever known.... but lucky, overall.

Anyway, I naively thought the ortho recommendation to wait it out and avoid surgery meant it wasn't so bad... and I'd be back on the bike in 4 weeks, despite his "6 - 8 weeks" blah blah blah. Was able to be on a trainer/stationary bike in 2 weeks, arm in a sling... but at least it was something.

I've been dealing without the sling for 3 weeks now... shoulder feeling like it's hanging on by a single tendon and getting worse. Thinking its likely I have rotator cuff damage which wasn't apparent when the collarbone ends were popping around and I couldn't expand my lungs into my ribs....

This sucks. I just want to ride, and *not* on a trainer.

So tell me... give me hope. 12-31 is the next ortho visit/x-ray series. What's the best-case surgical option and recovery time (i.e. when can I be back on the road) with a re-set clavicle and likely rotator cuff repair?

And I promise to listen to my doc's advice above that of non-medical folks. I just want to hear from all you people who I know have been here.

If I'd been smart, I woulda lied and told the doc I was left-handed.

Last edited by RoadToNowhere; 12-23-10 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 12-23-10, 09:09 PM
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Reynolds 
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That sucks. I wish you a speedy recovery!
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Old 12-23-10, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
That sucks. I wish you a speedy recovery!
+1.

Been there. Get back out there soon brother.
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Old 12-23-10, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by patentcad View Post
+1.

Been there. Get back out there soon sister.
Fixed :-)

Thanks... my goal was to have my left arm strong enough to wallop the doc if he suggested surgery on 12-31; at this point I'm ready to whack him if he doesn't.

Beth

PS Good to see you, pcad :-)
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Old 12-24-10, 12:01 AM
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My only advice is find a new doctor if this one doesn't cooperate with your needs. Don't waste time if he or she isn't willing to do anything to help you. Do your homework and find a specialist with a good reputation. If you feel like you need surgery, then you probably do. A cortisone shot and rest isn't going to do squat if your tendons and ligaments are destroyed.

All the best and hope you get back on the bike soon! In the mean time think about the positives..at least you're only missing out on crappy weather.
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Old 12-24-10, 02:23 AM
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I'm sorry to hear about that Beth! I hope you have a speedy recovery, all things considered. While I've been fortunate enough not to be able to relate to the broken bones, I've had lots of road rash and a broken tooth from crashes. My best advice is to be patient (easier said than done, I know), and to focus on the incremental improvements you make, rather than what still limits you.

Many years ago, I had a bad crash at 35 mph where I landed on chip and seal road, taking the brunt of the impact on my knee. I still remember the first time after the accident, when I could walk to the end of my parents' driveway unassisted to get the garbage can. It sucked that I had the accident, but I was happy that I could at least do that again. Try to look for little milestones and signs of progress like that. Just like mentally dividing a century up in to four 25-mile rides, it will make it easier to get to the end goal.

It might also help to keep in mind other riders who have had horrible accidents, and come back as good or even better than before. Dave Zabriskie comes to mind. He had a bad collision with a car, and it left him in a wheelchair for a while. I remember reading where he told about getting a friend to push him around outside, just so he could feel the wind on his face like with riding. He made it back, and you will too.

I look forward to riding with you in Lancaster next year - at least at the start, before you ride off the front of the group again! Save some ice cream for us at the finish!

PS - Although he's a bit far from you, you might want to check with Dr. Thomas Dickson in the Lehigh Valley. He has a lot of experience working with cyclists, including members of the Olympic team.
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Old 12-24-10, 10:50 AM
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Already have my 2nd opinion doc picked out... living in the Hershey area has its advantages... a pretty deep well of highly-qualified ortho people.

While the healing is not fast enough for my patience level, and I'm sick of constant pain, I do think it was the right call to wait it out a while... but I'm sure I'll be pretty annoyed at having an additional block of recovery time. I'll be wishing I had just pushed to be aggressive with the repair right at the start. If this had happened in May, there's no way I would have let it go... fact is, I love cold weather riding... I've missed my favorite part of the year, and we still don't have snow/ice on the ground. Grrrrrrr.....

Good thoughts, HG... I know it could have been far, far worse... the car swerved and didn't run over my head, for starters.... and didn't hit anyone else, either... and pretty fortunate that my everything else was still in one piece, despite the bruises and scrapes.

Oh, and bonus! My bike was fine except for torqued wheels and scraped bartape, and I was able replace the smashed buckle on my shoe :-) .... new helmet to replace the cracked one, some shiny new bartape (and a beautiful new Selle Italia saddle as my consolation prize to myself), and I'll be good to go as soon as I can.

Will see you in August :-)
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Old 12-24-10, 11:42 AM
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I crashed pretty badly Oct. 9th and broke my collarbone, cracked a rib, punctured a lung slightly..sounds similar to yours. Didn't catch the broken collarbone at first on the x-rays. I took 3 days off, began riding again, a week later when things were still hurting badly I went in for a follow up and found the collarbone, which was separating considerably. I chose to have it plated and had surgery a few days later.

The surgery was like night and day. I would encourage you to do it if it's an option. I was back on the bike within 3 days, I'm now about 2 months out and have pretty much regained full function. Being unable to sleep for a while was the worst of the recovery.

One caveat: I understand that an AC separation, and the attendant surgery, recovery, and therapy, are worse than a collarbone break. Often the joint must be immobilized with pins while the tendon repair heals. You won't be riding quickly if that's the case. Still, the tendon won't just re-grow spontaneously if it's a severe tear; better to fix it and start the recovery process.
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Old 12-24-10, 11:45 AM
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i crashed a mc at a racetrack. similar injuries. had my collarbone plated three days after the crash. recovery was about two weeks for moderate use. 6 weeks to full useage. 6 months later i had my ac joint repaired. that took about 8 weeks to recover fully. i can now use my arm about 95+ percent.
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