26 Dec 2013 - mtb stack - broken arm





On 26 Dec, the plan was for a quick ride at Belbins Rd area with Christian, Karina, Sam & other enthusiastic riders, then head home to watch the Ashes Test & the start of the Sydney/Hobart yacht race.  My day was all mapped out.

I should have taken the hint when things started going wrong early.  I had 2 early minor 'over the handlebar' episodes on Double Bridge Gully (strava segment).  They were low impact & only took a little bit of bark off.  They happened because I was pushing hard & was breathing heavily & that is when I make more mistakes.

After 2 'Double Bridge Gully's', I continued along a fire trail then a short, fast bit of single-track down then up a short rise back onto the fire trail. When heading back uphill, I left the gearchange too late & when desperately changing to a low gear, the chain came off & jammed.  It was jammed quite hard & took a few minutes to clear.

A few minutes later it came off & jammed again.  I think one of the early stacks bent the rear derailleur hanger & was sending it off.

At that point I spotted Christian & Karina on a firetrail across the gully, so I headed after them.  I stopped near them at the strava 'Death log loop' start/finish.  We headed around for a casual lap which went alright.  As I was becoming more familiar with the death loop single track, I could use less brakes & keep up better momentum.

At the end of that lap Christian said he would do another one so I chased after him.  I was rolling along pretty well & reached the final drop which doesn't freak me out anymore.  As I went down the drop, I got off the brakes earlier & rocketed down into the gully & up the other side.  I believe that just before launching into orbit uphill, I hit the brakes as I went over the edge & landed on the front wheel or just shot myself over the handlebars.

I went flying thru the air like a chubby, drunk superman & landed on my chest, elbows.  mainly the right elbow because it possibly pushed up my shoulder very hard & resulted in a broken upper arm (humerus - but not funny).

I lay in a heap, groaning & winded next to Christian & Karina.  They moved my bike & got some of the dust off my face.  I think I said my arm or shoulder was stuffed.

After lying there for a few minutes mentally assessing the damage I started staggering 2km back to the carpark as Christian took my bike & Karina took my backpack & helmet.

My dad came to take me to hospital while Karina took my car (thanks again).  As I cradled my right arm, every bump sent shooting pain.  I couldn't lift or move my right arm at all.  We went to Calvary and I staggered into A&E with bloody knees & elbows & covered in dirt.

The A&E waiting room was overflowing with the sick & injured.  They called Hobart Private Hospital & found that they were less busy so we went there.

As they assessed the injury I let out a few yells of pain.  I couldnt move my arm anywhere away from 'elbow down next to my side & hand across my chest.  Moving it for the x-rays was a nightmare.  It would have been impossible without the morphine.

With the x-rays the doctor said it was a bad break to my humerus BUT there was worse news.  It would need a rod inserted to help it heal & there were no Orthopaedic Surgeons available for possibly 2 weeks.  I couldnt believe this.

They gave me a prescription for the pain & put it in a sling &off I went.  You probably can't put plaster on an upper arm break... ?

My main concern was that my unprotected arm would start healing just in the sling for a few weeks & when I eventually get surgery it would be set back to square 1 again.

I spent 24 hours at my parents house & found that I could do most things so I got dropped back at home.  I couldn't drive but I had a shop 5 mins walk down the road.

I have worked out ways to do most things 1-handed & I am making very good use of picking things up with my toes.  I open bottles/jars by sitting on the floor, holding the bottle between my 2 feet as I turn the lid with my good hand.

Its very hard to get comfortable in bed.  Any movement shoots pain up my arm.  Every time I get up or sit down requires planning ahead to ensure I don't damage anything.

Now its waiting time for the orthopedic surgeon to review my referral, then get an appointment, then surgery then start healing...

Enjoy your riding.

(this took ages to type one-handed)