Thursday, January 06, 2011

I ran into my friend Dave yesterday.

Not literally but I may as well have, considering how he was grimacing and holding his arm. Here's the story in his own words. Get well soon Dave; glad you're vertical.-P77
Accident:
The day after finals I was riding my bike into work. Not real fast, probably between 12 and 15 mph. The sleeve of my jacket was hanging over my handle bars when I sat up to adjust my hood or something. Snapped the bars (and the bike followed) to the right and I continued forward. Tried to tuck and roll and got a tuck and stick instead. Landed square on my head and right shoulder. No helmet. Heard a very loud crack and immediately thought 'oh shiiiii, imma dead. my head just cracked open'. Only took about 5 seconds to realize it was my collarbone that exploded, not my skull. The pain was far enough off that I was able to call one of my coworkers for a ride to the hospital.
Before they showed up an off duty fireman walked by and called the ambulance. Thank god, because by the time both showed up there was NO WAY in hell I was standing up on my own and getting in that car. The EMT's had to give me 2 morphine shots over the course of the 1.5 mile ride just to get me to stop screaming at them. Once at the hospital, into xrays I went. Collarbone broken in a few places, broken rib, punctured lung. The lung was already starting to collapse and they didn't have a trauma surgeon there who could deal with it. Hung out for a couple hours there while waiting for the other hospital to come pick me up. Soon as we showed up at the new place, back to imaging central. Bunch of xrays and some ct scans and back to waiting in the ER. Seemed like about 10 minutes later about 5 people came storming in and said it was time to get into surgery now. My lung had collapsed considerably and needed a drain tube so it didn't rest on my heart and make me go into cardiac arrest!!
Needless to say, I was a little shocked. So off to trauma surgery. Worst pain I have ever experienced, by far. I was so fucking loaded on things stronger than morphine it wasn't even funny. My girl said they told her I was getting meds that would make me forget the experience. Whatever that was, it didn't fucking work. They kept asking me where I was on the pain scale (1-10). I was at a loud and clear 9. So intense. I told the doctor after that he was lucky it didn't hit 10 because I would've stood up on the table and put my thumbs in his eyes. Once that ordeal was done, they planted me in a room. Stayed there for the next 8 days. The first tube stopped working so they decided to put a second one in. This would be a more precise kinda thing though. It was kinda crazy. They did the op IN the cat scan. Kept moving me in and out to make sure it was all in the right place and what not. I felt next to nothing on that one. Dickhead orderly putting me back on the gurney to go back to my room LIFTED ME UP BY MY BROKEN SHOULDER though. I was screaming at him and he didn't stop. Fucker. More on that later.
The next awesome thing that happened was that once I finally got back to my bed, my nurse for that period of time turned out to be completely worthless. The last thing I really remember is her trying to READ THE FUCKING INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO HOOK UP MY CHEST TUBE. I remember her getting flustered and walking out. That was the last time I saw her. At the shift change 4 hours later, the next nurse walked in on me with no chest tube hooked up, AND NO OXYGEN HOOKED UP. You know, the two things that were supposed to be keeping my lung inflated. I was barely conscious and my extremities were numb. Apparently these are all symptoms of heading directly for a full blown coma. Body reserving energy for only the most vital of functions. So that was kind of a bad day. The next day though, I was feeling a little better and drifting off into a little nap. All of a sudden I snapped awake by what I thought was somebody hitting me in the face with a baseball bat and my entire shoulder getting extremely tight and painful. I was getting xrays every morning to keep tabs on the lungs. Most of them would also catch the collarbone. The first few showed a relatively straight bone with a couple fractures. All of a sudden, it looked like the attached picture.
Anyway, after a few more days, they pulled the second tube and let me out. I was free for a few days then went into the orthopedic surgeons office to get checked out and see if I was in need of surgery (because he hadn't seen any xrays since it all looked pretty straight). It took him about 3 seconds to decide I needed a plate and asked if I was busy the next morning. It was supposed to be an outpatient procedure but the nerve block they put in my neck to shut my shoulder off caught my diaphragm also and my lungs weren't strong enough to get me enough oxygen on my own so I had to spend another night in the hospital. Start physical therapy on Friday. We'll see how that goes.
So there you have it. I've crashed a hundred times harder and walked away unscathed. Many times. Apparently, life can be precious. Talk with you soon.
Dave