Saturday was probably one of the scariest days in my life, for both me and my parents and family.
Saturday morning, I woke up like any other morning. I weighed myself and saw that I had lost another 3 pounds. Yay me! Afterwards, I kitted up, inflated my tires to the proper PSI, and rolled off to meet with my friends for a group ride.
The ride was pretty uneventful. We rode from CSUN to a market on Mulholland Dr, enjoying (suffering) up a few hills on the way there. I say suffering because there were a lot of faster climbers than me on the ride, and I was trying my damnedest to keep up. We rest at the market for a bit, then head out for the rest of the ride.
Everything was fine until we got to Wells Dr. We all climbed, but somehow I made it to the top off the hill first. At the top of the hill, I got into the drops and started my descent. As always, the wind felt amazing, and it was one of the best feelings in the world. Further along, I saw a few cars stopped at a stop sign. I started to slow down.
From here I don't remember much, or rather, anything.
I woke up on my back, staring at the sky, surrounded by other members of the SFVBC.
"Don't move, wait for the paramedics to arrive!"
"Is there anyone you want me to call?"
I woke up in a daze, thinking I was still dreaming. As my vision cleared, I realized this wasn't a dream. I was in a bike crash. I had been unconscious.
I felt blood dripping down my face. I couldn't breathe. Every breath hurt. I couldn't control my breathing, taking shallower and shallower breaths. I tried to sit up, but the enormous pain coming from my shoulder made me rethink that. I asked them to call Alannah first, but she didn't answer. Then I had them call my father, who also didn't answer.
Then the paramedics showed up.
They cut up my Fat Cyclist kit. They had to. I understand that. But damn, I loved that kit. It had so much sentimental value.
They asked me a lot of questions. I was able to answer all of them.
They stabilized my back and my neck, then hoisted me onto a gurney and into the ambulance. They told me where my bike would be stored, and off they took me to the nearest ER.
After numerous x-rays and cat scans, they rolled me into a room, and shortly after, my parents walked in.
With my neck in a brace, I didn't see them walk in, but I certainly heard them. Or rather, I heard them crying upon seeing me. Let's face it, I'm an ugly beast as is, and covered in blood, I'm probably much worse.
Hearing them cry, I started to. Which is a bad thing, because breathing was still painful. Crying just made it worse. I was able to supress it, and we chatted for a while before they switched with my grandparents. Later, I was wheeled off for more x-rays.
They took me back to my room, where Alannah and my mother were waiting for me. The doctor came in and told me that my ankle was fine, just sprained. I either had bruised or broken ribs, but the treatment for either was the same. Rest and pain meds. There was no swelling or bleeding in my brain. And finally, my shoulder was fine.
I didn't believe them with the shoulder thing for a second. When I tried to lift my arm at the accident site, I felt clicking in my shoulder, and it felt like the bone was moving rather than the arm. I told them that they were wrong, and there was something wrong with my shoulder. They brushed it off, and realizing that I was still in immense pain, despite all the morphine they had given me, they said I could either be discharged and go home, or I could be admitted and transferred to Kaiser. They gave me some time to decide.
Here are a few pictures from the ER.
After cleaning me up, they tried to have me walk around. I barely made it to the other side of the room before collapsing from the pain and nausea. Hell, I could barely sit up without being in tremendous pain.
After discussing it with my family, I decided to go to Kaiser. Once I was transferred by ambulance, they had me do more x-rays in different positions. The ER doctor told me that once my pain was manageable, I would be released from the ER. Since I wasn't looking forward to the hospital bills, I didn't mind so much. Eventually, the Er nurse handed me a stack of papers, saying I was free to go. Among the stacks of papers was my prescription for percocet, a note for my employer explaining I could be out from the office for a week, and explanations of what was going on in my body. They found that I had a separation of my AC joint, also known as a complete tear of some ligaments in my shoulder. That explained why my shoulder was in so much pain.
I went home, ate some chinese food, and went to bed.
I had spent almost 10 hours in the ER, and over that time and through the past few days, I realized a few things:
My family is amazing.
My fiancee is amazing.
I am amazingly lucky.
And most importantly, if I wasn't wearing a helmet, I would be dead. I would have never woken up from being unconscious. I would have left more than blood and skin at the bottom of that hill.
For the love of God, wear your f***ing helmets.