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Endo Ended In ER
Old 07-13-2015, 10:58 AM   #1
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Endo Ended In ER

Long and short of it is that I went over the bars in a major way when I was finishing my ride on Friday. Bloodied and broken, walked the bike (which came through unscathed) down and out, got a ride from my wife (thankful for the Tracphone she made me carry), trailhead to ER.

The list: multiple ribs fractured front and back (all on left side), bruised left lung, small pneumothorax with some bleeding out in the lung (no drain needed), grade 3 AC separation of left shoulder, assorted bruises and abrasions head to foot. Coincidental finding of a small nodule in undamaged right lung (future fun times to deal with after I heal).


* new carbon fiber full-suspension Santa Cruz mtb is better at its job than me.

* 20 yrs of Aikido didn't help me with the fall on a steep, narrow, rutted out trail.

* One hiker was very kind and helped, stayed with me 'til my wife arrive, most others blew me off.

* My local hospital staff is awesome (seemed like everyone bikes or hikes in the same hills and was totally understanding). They were impressed that I was able to walk out of the hospital on Sunday with little more than a prescription and some follow up care instructions. My medical insurance is awesome.

* My wife is the best. What did I do to deserve her?

Now to mend up before going off to hike Macchu Pichu. Punctured lung? Andes? No problem. Have until Sept.

We are, as I have said, one equation short. Keynes
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Old 07-13-2015, 11:02 AM   #2
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Glad to hear you are essentially okay - my doctor (GP) died two years ago mountain biking in Vancouver, BC

Swing hard, look up
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Old 07-13-2015, 11:52 AM   #3
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Sorry for your misfortune. My daughter was a nationally ranked bicycle racer, and we've spent many a weekend in emergency rooms with her buddies after wrecks.

Unfortunately, your injuries sound pretty serious. Take care of yourself in the coming weeks as September is coming fast. Hope you'll be up to hiking high altitudes in Peru by then. My hikes in the Austrian Alps were rather uncomfortable, and you're going to even higher places in elevation.
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Old 07-13-2015, 12:41 PM   #4
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Glad to hear you are okay, all things considered. A former co-worker of mine recently went over the bars on his bike (whilst wearing a helmet) and was killed, very sad and, of course, unexpected. Bicycle riding, like everything else, has its hazards. I wonder what the stats are on bicycle deaths and injuries per year, probably more than one thinks when you throw in cars hitting bicyclists? Anyway, you were "lucky" in being "unlucky." I hope you mend fast. Do take care.
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Old 07-13-2015, 12:46 PM   #5
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Sounds dangerous. I think I will stick to riding my motorcycle.

Glad you are going to be ok.
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Old 07-13-2015, 01:17 PM   #6
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It sounds like you are an experienced biker. What happened to cause you to crash like this? I assume you were wearing a helmet.
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Old 07-13-2015, 01:31 PM   #7
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Sure glad you are on the mend, albeit some time from being fully back.

I think everyone who rides a bike realizes this, but it is a sport, and a moderately dangerous one, not a "fitness activity" per se. Over time we have had quite a few crash reports on this forum. IMO mountain biking, whether trails or downhill, or getting out on pubic roads and riding a road bike a distance do not really qualify as a fitness activity with a fairly certain net benefit. Turning on the TV and riding an exercycle is a fitness activity, and suitably boring as fitness activities tend to be.

I read that in Seattle biking as urban transportation is no more dangerous than walking is.
I doubt this, but it may be true. One confounder is that cyclists tend to be young, with good hearing and good eyesight. Pedestrians include many older people, blind people, deaf people, etc.

But a mode of transport is inherently different from either fitness activity, or sport. My question with all these things, like biking when the stated reason is fitness, what is the cyclist's actuarial position? Is he gaining enough from some assumed health and longevity benefit of the exercise, that it more than compensates for the crash and traffic risk?

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Old 07-13-2015, 01:48 PM   #8
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Glad it wasn't worse than it was and that your stay at the hospital was brief. Now rest up and take care of yourself and get ready for your next adventure.
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Old 07-13-2015, 03:03 PM   #9
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I appreciate all the good thoughts and wishes. Scary stories about those that passed as a result of their misadventure. I was wearing a helmet and the visor snapped off on the left side, so I know my head came really close with a lot of momentum. Maybe the Aikido did pay off in that I was able to tuck it mostly out of the way.

The trail I ate it on is a contentious one. County parks and rec have neglected to maintain it and recently a safer, more user friendly access point was closed due to resident complaints so everyone, hikers, bikers and equestrians are now funneled into this one nasty stretch near the bottom. The irony is during the process of closing off the other trailheads, I emailed the county parks and my county supervisor warning them that this trail is particularly dangerous and predicting that someone will be seriously injured. I know some hikers have gone down as well.

I think I hit a rut while trying to get up on the margin and the front wheel got locked into the rut while my body was traveling another direction. It happened so fast, and I was on the brakes hard trying to negotiate it safely as always. It's crazy because some of the younger riders fly down the trail, in groups, with all kinds of distracted oblivious hikers going every which way with kids and dogs, some with headphones on staring at their phone screens while walking up or down this nasty trail. Kind of insane. But it is the only way in or out of the hills now which form my "backyard". It is so steep that I have to push my bike up 3/4s of this lower stretch. Going down is very technical.

I hate to have to drive to another trailhead to get in and out but ultimately I can't have this happen again.
We are, as I have said, one equation short. Keynes
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Old 07-13-2015, 03:47 PM   #10
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I have been to Machu Picchu, frankly I don't think your lungs will handle it well. I was in great shape and needed altitude medication.

If you are still intent on going then plan on staying a couple weeks in Cusco before your Machu Picchu adventure.
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Old 07-13-2015, 05:00 PM   #11
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My anecdotal experience is that susceptibility to altitude sickness is not that correlated to someone's physical condition. Once when I was bike touring in Colorado and when I was at an altitude over 9,000 feet and headed up an 11,300 foot pass, I met a group of touring cyclists who were biking across the country. They had begun on the coast of Oregon. There were a dozen cyclists in the group at the beginning and were all presumably in excellent condition by the time they reached Colorado. Once they reached Colorado, however, 2 of the cyclists got altitude sickness at the significantly higher Colorado altitudes and had to go home early. They all had already crossed much lower passes in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming without problems.

Your lung injury from the bike accident is a different ball of wax, of course. I presume you discussed your Peru trip with your doctors, and that they told you how long it will likely take you to recover from your injuries.

My most recent high altitude experience was hiking up to 12,500 feet in a national park in Colombia last year. I had no problems, but I had already spent several days between 7,000 & 9,000 feet in Colombia. In the past, I've biked over 12,000 feet in Colorado and Ecuador, with no ill effects other than tiring much more easily.
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Old 07-13-2015, 05:51 PM   #12
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Wish you a good recovery, and understand the challenge and enjoyment of biking.
Personal observation: Up to age 72, still loved off road riding... after that, roads and regular trails... age 75, low traffic roads and paved trails... now... anywhere there are no hills... and soon, very slow spinning.
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Old 07-13-2015, 08:33 PM   #13
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So sorry to read of this awful accident, and of your injuries, and of the nodule in your lung. Hoping for a smooth and quick recovery with as little pain as possible between now and then.

I am shocked at the callous attitude of all of those hikers that blew you off instead of trying to help. What a rotten bunch of jerks (IMO).
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Old 07-13-2015, 09:09 PM   #14
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Best wishes for a quick and complete recovery.

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Old 07-13-2015, 09:30 PM   #15
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Wow, ouch. hope you feel better soon!
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Old 07-15-2015, 10:49 AM   #16
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Glad you were not hurt worse. In my experience, rib healing takes the longest, and can make deep breaths painful for ~3 months, all "depending" of course. Minor lung punctures heal pretty fast. Shoulders I know nothing of.

+1 on the difficulty of predicting who gets altitude sickness. Bulls at sea level sometimes are reduced to mewelling babes, wimps turn into bulls, etc.
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Old 07-15-2015, 11:00 AM   #17
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Bummer! I hope you feel better soon.

Here is an article you might find interesting. Pneumothorax is discussed on page 784 et seq.
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Old 07-15-2015, 11:54 AM   #18
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Ouch. Was wondering how an endo lead to ER (early retirement) 😃
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Old 07-15-2015, 12:03 PM   #19
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Thanks for the article. It is informative. I did discuss it with the surgeon and will coordinate further down the line with the pulmonary specialist before getting on the plane. He thinks that I will be fully healed by then. It is around 10 weeks away. It is a small tear, no drain, and has not gotten any worse per the most recent chest xray. I imagine there'll be another xray at some point.

Had a bounce back to the ER yesterday over severe consequence of a nasty side effect of the narcotic pain meds, of a ... ahem... digestive nature. Resolve successfully, I'll spare the gory details. Back in the pink today!

Getting a hospital bed today, I hope. Trying to manage propped up on the couch at night is not good. Have a prescription, so insurance will cover at least some of it.

Spending some of the sleepless hours mulling over things. All the stuff I do that I currently can't, how it is getting managed, being a cantankerous, self-reliant asocialite and how to deal with all of that. Oh well, one day at a time and things will work out.

All the positive vibes are helping. Thanks, all.
We are, as I have said, one equation short. Keynes
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Old 07-15-2015, 12:42 PM   #20
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Ouch! Had broken ribs, not fun. Hurts to sneeze, laugh, cough, deep (or not so deep) breaths, trying to lay down. Several friends have gone over their bars with similar results. Sending healing vibes for a speedy recovery.

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