I was enjoying some time off structured training both mentally and physically. I was enjoying focusing on work and was busy collecting data for my project. Yet I still felt like I 'have' to go riding- so I went for a Friday evening ride despite being tiered and exhausted from the long week.
I went down a single trail that was littered with branches from a storm the night before. I did see a branch ahead of me and went around it. Somehow my back wheel must have clipped the branch as it started to hobble next to me downhill. Just as I was thinking I should probably stop and get rid of the branch, my front wheel went into dead lock. I did a 'Superman' over the handlebars and landed a few meters further downhill bracing myself with both arms.
Even though I had never broken a bone in my body, I knew instantly that my arm was broken. I lay there for a while trying to come to terms with what had just happened when the infamous mosquitoes around Lake Constance saw me as their perfect dinner. So I hobbled down the hill holding my arm together with my right hand and went looking for help. Luckily I found a walker with his little son on a bench. He jumped to my rescue and offered to call an ambulance but he had no reception.
There was a multitude of problems: I had no phone with me and didn't know Josh's number. So I was unable to let him know what had happened. We decided the best option would be to get a lift home and go to hospital from there. At a nearby car park we found a Swiss guy sitting in his car who refused to drive me home!! It would have been 10 minutes out of his day! I still can't believe it and I swear I will take anyone anywhere if I'd be asked for help one day.
In the end the friendly walker went home quickly to get his car and drove me back home. He took sneaky side roads to avoid the kilometer long traffic jams around this time of the day in Constance. What a legend.
Josh drove me to hospital and after sitting in the waiting room for a while and answering sheer endless questions about my personal details, I was allowed to lay down in a treatment room. Another 30 minutes later I had finally some pain killers running through my veins.
Gloves finally off. Diagnosis - its not straight.
X-rays showed a fracture of the left radius and a broken little finger (on the right hand). After straightening my broken arm with weights, both arms were put in a cast and I was scheduled in for an operation on Monday.
Back on the weights so soon.. 2 days until surgery, so OK to eat :)
But the night wasn't over yet. We had to retrieve my bike (hoping it was still there). We finally got home close to mid-night. At home another surprise was awaiting us. Apparently Josh almost burned the house down! He had some lentils cooking when I came back with my broken arm and in the rush, forgot to turn them off!. The neighbour from upstairs (Mark) heard all the smoke alarms going off and came to the rescue. Luckily we left our front door unlocked when we rushed to hospital and Mark could get in and save the house. The entire flat stank of burned lentils for over a week.
The operation on Monday went super smooth. Under a local anesthetic, I had a titanium plate and 6 screws put in to hold my bones together. A few hours later the feeling in my arm slowly returned and with it the pain; this was when I discovered the beauty of morphine! The pain turned into a pleasant tingly feeling and I had the most amazing sleep in my life. On Tuesday morning the physio appeared and started with hand exercises and by the afternoon I was back home cast-free. Amazing!
All in all the whole experience wasn't too bad so far (aside from the pain). You always learn something from new experiences like these. These things are part of life, especially part of a Mountain Bikers life. I usually faint really quickly when I hurt myself, so I was always a little curious how my body would react if I ever broke a bone. Now I know that the adrenaline is your best friend in these situations.
Friendly Lab Rat.
The rehab has been good and straight forward. Luckily I have Schwester Josh (my nurse) to help me with everything. He even finished my last lab experiment for me (which is slightly illegal). I found it reasonable easy to focus on the things you need to do to heal well and quickly (sleep, eat well, physio, exercise at home, etc).
The biggest challenge will be to deal with the mental scars. I still shiver by the thought that I went down so hard (or unlucky) that I actually broke a bone. My head keeps re-playing the images of the accident and I can still here the dull sound of bones breaking. This may be the hardest thing to recover from and is perhaps a little overlooked in our health care system.