Thursday, February 12, 2009

Early Bird Crit...I Should Have Slept Late

My goal for the first 6 or 7 months of 2009 was to spend a lot of time on the bike. Things were going along as planned until February 1, the day of the Early Bird Criterium Bike Race in Fremont, CA. There was a lot of aggressive riding and the field was large at 62, so I was relieved to finally hear the bell signaling the final lap. I took the 3rd of 4 corners wide and had a clear path ahead of me--I had decided to stay away from the pack for the final corner and sprint to the finish. Out of nowhere someone was down in front of me and with horror, I ran into the woman and flipped over the handlebars, landing flat on my back according to a witness. From what I have been told, the other rider had some mishap in the pack and darted out to the left and crashed right in front of me. Laying curled up on my right side in agony, I was screaming bloody murder. The first words out of my mouth were, "Why do I do these things?!" and "I think the tip of my finger is missing! Ahhhhh!" I am not impressed by my bravery at this moment. At least I didn't curse. After receiving very caring help from friends, race organizers and a nurse named Katherine, I was quickly taken with the other rider to a hospital by ambulance.

thumbs-up from the spine board

readmitted the day after for more testing and happy drugs!

Since then I have been diagnosed with 4 broken ribs and other fractured ribs on the left posterior side, a broken left clavicle and fractured L2 vertebra (transverse process). Additionally I have a small region of collapsed lung on the left side which I am hoping is not too serious. There is something wrong with my left hand and left calf although I am told that the hand is somehow related to my clavicle injury (??) and I haven't really had the calf checked out yet. I had some pretty nasty contusions and the expected road rash and weird pains that make me wonder if the bike hit me as I went around. (Why wouldn't it?) There is a big patch of numb skin and something is still funky with my gluteal muscles. My helmet was cracked and I had a very sore spot on the back of my head for days due to being strapped down to the spine board for 4 hours. Fortunately, I escaped with no traumatic brain injury. I won't lie--this has been by far the most painful experience of my life, easily beating out my tonsillectomy in my late twenties.

trying to cushion the broken bones

On a more positive note, I have been overwhelmed by the kindness of teammates, family and friends. I appreciate every call and email that I have received. Once again in my life, I have been reminded that one of my greatest blessings is an abundance of wonderful friends and family members. Also, I have made steady albeit slow progress and the most severe pain seems to be making its way to the past. I finally have some medical appointments lined up that are giving me more confidence that I will be thoroughly examined, which is a huge relief.

When my left arm regains a bit more functionality, I will write up the story of how my Animas pump survived its own test, coming away a bit scathed but still doing its job to keep the ketones at bay.


Scott K. Johnson said...

Oh dear lord Anne! What a crash! You poor thing - all laid up like that when you're so used to moving around!

Man oh man.

Thinking of you - please do let us know if there is anything we can do to help. Maybe schedule a daily "Hi Anne!" e-mail from each of us?

Rachel said...

Oh my!

Thinking of you during recovery. You've been such an inspiration to (type 2) me and I can't imagine being stopped like that now.

Kevin said...

Looks like the happy drugs worked - all smiles like normal. =)

Heal up quick!

Lyrehca said...

Wow--many wishes for a speedy recovery!

Mike Fraser said...

Eating concrete is never fun. I'm sorry to read that you had the mishap, especially on the final. There will be more races. Good luck with recovery too. If you were not labeled so before...You now join the ranks of hardcore cyclist!

Marcus Grimm said...

Holy moly! What a terrible thing to have happen - thank God you're (relatively) OK. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!


Steve Ahn said...

Only you could write something so heartbreaking, informative, and funny - the finger comment was priceless. I'm so sorry for the pain, but think of all the street cred... or is that street crud? I wish you a quick and complete recovery - and you know if I lived out there, I'd offer to help you regain feeling in your gluteus:)

Ali Rae said...

I've been thinking about you lots. I hope you are healing well and are on the road to recovery!