June 29th, 2006


My arm is in a sling

So, not much happening on the homefront lately. That's because I've been in serious detrimental pain. See, there's this place on the Rideau River bike path that goes down a hill and around a blind corner so that outdoorsy exercising types like me can get under the bridge. It was around this corner that I came upon a woman riding her bike in the wrong lane. She may have been passing someone, I don't really remember.

At any rate, we both went "oh shit!" and jammed on our brakes, except that she was going a sort of slow meander and stopped on the proverbial dime, whereas I was going several dozen metres a second. Now, I've been in this situation before - what bike-rider hasn't played at zooming down a hill and skidding to a stop in his youth? - so I leaned to the right, expecting the bike to follow my weight and screech to a halt. Which it did, only it decided somehow that going to the left made more sense for its own personal physics, leaving me in a completely different position.

I had a moment while I was airborne to contemplate how dusty the ground was, probably due to the springtime flooding that always left the underpass unusable for the first six weeks of nice weather and left behind large piles of soot and grime.

As soon as I hit the ground, I got right back up again. I make it a policy of not staying down unless I'm unconscious. I haven't actually engaged this policy in about eight years because I'm a damn good biker. The lady was very apologetic, which pleased me considerably even as I assured her that I was fine, I'd had worse, and it really wasn't her fault at all. Courtesy is important in all things, especially when dealing with an accident victim. I felt a little dizzy and I knew the line of dirt on my right arm would expose a nasty scrape when I got home and washed it off, but it didn't seem to be bleeding profusely. My last fall had required four stitches to patch up. I rode home, soaked away the grunge in the bath, and carried on with my evening.

(This is an important line break, I'll tell you why in a second.)

About an hour and a half later, I noticed a growing pain in my left arm. Soon after appearing, this pain grew to the point where I was forced to go upstairs in search of Advil. My mother and sister took notice and decided to examine my arm, whereupon we discovered that I couldn't straighten it fully due to the pain in my elbow. Before I knew it, I was wrapped in a makeshift sling with a bag of frozen vegetables icing me down. Had to wait a few hours for my father to come home from the high school graduation he was emceeing, and then a few more at the ER. I think I was level 5 on the triage poster they had on the wall (ie. non-threatened) which entitled me to be seen in around two hours. We showed up at quarter to one in the morning, I was getting x-rays taken by four, and my arm was in a professional quality sling by 4:30. It was apparently a busy night - they had thirty-five beds with thirty-five patients, plus a steady stream of bone-breakers and unstable types and who knows how many ambulances coming in, and just one doctor for the lot of us. I don't really mind that he's getting paid $250 an hour, or at least I didn't mind as much as the dude who showed up with a bagful of cans demanding his medication.

I came up lucky - turns out I've got either an overstrained muscle (1-2 weeks to heal) or a possible crack in my elbow joint radial (3-4 weeks) depending on which x-ray was right. Only one of the three showed the crack. Just gotta rest it up, put it on ice once in a while, and keep suckin' back those painkillers. But it does make it a pain in the ass (or rather, the arm) to type. Remember that important line break a couple of paragraphs back? That's when I got sick of trying to type sidesaddle and switched to just using my right hand. So if it seems like I've taken a net vacation, it's because I have. Pass it around. But don't worry, I can still work the mouse and I'm still reading your stuff. Just not commenting on it as often. ;D