Friday, May 21, 2010

Broken Arm

I was running at Lair o' the Bear, had finished all the initial climbing and was enjoying some downhill on the other side. I cleared a big rock, toe caught the next small rock, and the timing of my stride absolutely could NOT have been worse! My shoulder had slammed into the trail before I knew I was falling.
Dislocated. So I tried to remember the fancy motion for putting it back in the socket. I chose a tree as a volunteer, but was doing a lousy job. My friends asked the bikers that came by if they knew how to fix a dislocation and one was a physician!
He told me to lay down and he worked it. We both thought it went in, but nope - almost. So he tried again as I stood. Bingo! Lego-man back together.

I thanked him and he left us.
Gayle told me "You're done."
I insisted I was good.
She insisted.
I insisted, but I would go very slow. I had completed the climb and I wanted my reward on the other side.
So I ran with John and the blonde visitor from Pennsylvania for another 20 minutes. Then I turned around and headed back.

As if that wasn't enough, on the way back, I sprained the HELL out of my right ankle. Again. The same one as last Thanksgiving.
Honestly, after all these years of ripping my ankles, the ligaments are too long, loose, and weak. I'm basically running with no real lateral support.
So I jogged back even slower, but still holding good form. Then I plopped down next to Kristen and her sons as we iced our feet/ankles in the absolutely frigid river.
The ligaments on my ankle swelled up like golf balls.

It was the night of the Denver Trail Runners 1st potluck of the season. There were about 40-50 people and all sorts of food. (YUM!)

Finally at home, it was a rough night. Two Percocets helped me through the night, but my arm still hurt - more than when I was running.
Next morning, I was pretty sure something was broken.

When the doctor and his PA jammed the x-rays onto the screen he exclaimed, "Holy cow!! Is that a crack? Look at that! He must be the toughest man alive."
The only benefit of having had Guillane-Barre and being a temporary quadriplegic ten years ago is that I only have about 20% of the nerve tissue the rest of you have, even after "recovery". So I don't get the full brunt of the pain. But it hurts plenty enough for me. Still, the doctor was used to moaning patients, not happy guys telling jokes with big cracks in their bones.

Very disheartening, though. After 13 months of plantar recovery, finally getting back in shape, I wrecked myself.

I'm not sure where the break stops. It kind of looks like it might go all the way through, but the doctor says it stops under the head. Then how does it open up 1/8" or more?

The doctor's PA thought I was a clear candidate for quick surgery. He said, Naw! and sent me home with a sling and a bottle of Oxycodone.
- Tape it up and get back in there, son! - Well the pain isn't very bad, but looking at the x-rays, I'd think something more than a sling would be in order.
I wrapped an Ace bandage around my bicep with a thick hiking sock in my armpit. The theory is this will help close the 1/8" gap in the crack. Even if the doctor won't treat it, knowing the direction and angle of the break helps me do the right things and avoid the wrong.
I'm thinking about a 2nd opinion, because it seems to me that leaving the 1/8" crack to fill in naturally will make it take 3-4x's longer to heal. Summer will be over by then.

Now thinking of how I was trying to get my shoulder back in the socket, and the helpful doctor on the trail, it's a wonder I wasn't howling in pain, and if it's not broken all the way through the head, I'm lucky relocating my shoulder didn't finish the job. I could have had a compound fracture.

I don't think I'll bother to register for the Imogene Pass Run in September. It should be healed, but I won't be trained-up. I'll be back down to 9min. miles.

I hope everyone else is doing well. Post photos of your adventures.


  1. Holy cow! What crappy luck. Having surgery might prolong the healing also as complications can arise. Bone is pretty good at filling in the cracks and healing on its own. Still though, I agree with you on getting a second opinion. At least then you know all your choices. I was bummed about missing this years first potluck with DTR. I am hoping to get out there Thursday with everyone again. Good luck with the healing you are a total rock star!

  2. That sucks. Totally sucks. You are one heckuva tuff one, though, aren't you? I say, second opinion if you have the insurance for it! Also, I see people with broken arms running, so maybe you'll be back out before too long. Sorry to hear, JeffO, real sorry to hear!


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