Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Fractured Easter

Well, after our slew of great weekends, our good fortune ran out.  Friday morning I finally came to terms with the fact that I had trained myself into my first overuse injury ever - sesamoiditis.  I had actually told Justin that at some point in my "down time" I wanted to do some research on athletes, injuries, and getting through setbacks.  

About 11:40 Justin was heading out to do a training ride at lunch while I ran a few errands (trying to get stuff together for metatarsal pads for my injured foot, actually).  I was in Target when my phone rang just after noon.  Justin said he had gone down on his bike and was badly injured and I had to come get him.  It was fragmented, but I set down my basket and hobbled out of the store as fast as I could and took off down the road.  Of course, I hit every light and was behind every slow person out driving around.

My phone rang again down the street from where Justin was waiting, and he was calling again.  A woman came on the line and said he wanted me to make a decision about whether or not to call an ambulance.  I arrived a minute later to a landscaping truck and trailer on the side of the road and Justin laying bloody on the ground beside it.  

I think he hit the trailer pretty much head on.  His Specialized S-Works helmet likely saved his life.

The helmet is severely dented in the front, and the foam completely broke apart; just as it should have done.  Planning on taking it to Rock N' Road at some point to send back to Specialized (with a thank you note).  His bike frame (2009 Tarmac SL2), sadly, is destroyed.

I called 911 shortly after arriving, and we waited a few minutes for it to show up.  I had no idea what to do.  I've never been on the scene of an accident, much less been directly involved.  I took a few pictures... obviously.  Not sure if the EMT's thought I was weird or what.

I headed out to the ER where they thought they'd take him and made a call in to work that I was at the ER and likely out for the rest of the afternoon.  I had no idea what was wrong with Justin, but they had put him in a brace and on a backboard before taking him due to the neck pain complaint.

Once there I had to fill out some paper work, and the instant I was by his bedside in the ER I was paying the co-pay.  They'd asked Justin for payment, but he left his wallet in his other pants.

I was absolutely starving and feeling faint, so when they took Justin out for x-ray's I ran over to work to get my stuff and grab my lunch.  When I came back, some time before 2:30, they were planning to have him transported to the other area hospital for an MRI.  He wanted to be off the back board, but everyone kept saying no way, and to not move his head.  At all.  Kind of scary.

When he left for the MRI I went home for a few, and rushed back, beating him by about 45 minutes.  In the meantime, I'd posted up on Facebook the picture of him with his head strapped to the board, covered in red gauze.

My dad came over and kept us company for a little while after dinnertime.  We saw the neck x-ray with the tear drop fracture, and some of the techs tried to keep Justin a little cleaner.

Justin was in surprisingly good spirits.  That is, until he finally decided he wanted meds, just before the ortho surgeon came in to clean out his knee.  They brought the meds about 15 minutes too late.  He was in a lot of pain as the doctor prodded, poked, and started to cleanse the wound.  It got bandaged up, and Justin started to get drowsy.

Not long after the general surgeon came back to stitch up his face.  It had to have been around 11pm.

I was exhausted and frustrated.  Justin was hungry and groggy, feeling nauseous.  They kept promising us admittance, and then everyone would disappear.  They couldn't feed Justin, and everything took forever (IV, pain meds, answers).  Due to a few random complications it was 1 am before he got into a room and settled.  He was out of his bike kit (the jersey was cut off at the MRI by an upset tech - had zippers and his pockets were full of keys and food), but never really cleaned up.  I left to go home as I needed sleep and a clear head.

Once home I did sleep, for 5 or so hours, before getting up and rushing back to the hospital.  My dad stopped by again that morning and hung out for awhile as we waited for answers.  We thought Justin would be discharged Saturday afternoon.  The doctors didn't come around much, didn't say much when they did, and the nurses couldn't tell us anything.  We watched TV, and then mostly spent time on the phone or texting to keep in touch with everyone.

Finally Saturday late morning Justin was allowed food.  He was ecstatic and his mood immediately improved, even if he was only allowed pudding and jello.

That afternoon a PT showed up to "walk" Justin around.

His knee was fine for weight-bearing, as tolerated.  His neck made getting up and down painful, and his left shoulder was bad off as well, we didn't know why.  He made a short trek down the hall before heading back to bed and needing more pain meds.

A bit later a second PT arrived to give him his real neck brace.  I requested numerous times throughout the day for his neck and head to be cleaned up when his brace was changed out, since no one had ever cleaned his neck or head after the accident.  The PT was awesome and really helped to get off some of the dried blood.  The nurse?  Not so much.

I ran out of food and water, and was getting antsy, so it was nice when my dad came back to take me out for some food.  I remembered on my way out that Luke was on his way over, so Justin wasn't going to be left alone.  Was very thankful for Luke keeping him company; it really helps to pass the time and take our minds off of the inevitable.

After dinner my dad ran me around looking for blueberry muffins and easter candy (yeah surprisingly hard to find a single Cadbury Egg the night before Easter).  Got back to the hospital room and sat around watching TV until a friend from work came in late.  I didn't know anything about visiting hours.  The nurse came in around 10:30 and asked me if I was going to the stay the night.  Justin wanted me there so he didn't have to worry about not being able to breathe as he slept (a side effect of the trauma to his neck).  I said I was.  She told me I couldn't.  So, I left.

I wasn't "tired" when I get home, but eventually went to bed and slept.  Until before 2 am when Justin called me, since he couldn't breathe when he fell into a deep sleep.  He kept getting woken up by the machine yelling that he didn't have enough oxygen in his blood.  The nurses couldn't understand his problem (literally), and weren't any help.  I felt helpless, and was really worried.

The next morning he said they finally took him for another CT scan overnight.  I spent some time cooking some food that needed to be cooked at home before heading to the hospital.  His mom and sister were there.  It was Easter morning.  Oh.  Yeah.

I dressed up and everything.

I was going to wear this Saturday night at the Women of Dirt premiere in Hollywood.

After his mom left my dad came over, and Nancy and Roger weren't far behind.  It made the morning go by pretty fast.  We decided to sit back and watch "The Blindside" (yeah we're going to catch up on the movies we've missed the past 4 years).

Gettin' used to the new digs

My dad came over again and took me out for dinner.  While I was gone a guy from college that we also worked with stopped by and kept Justin company.  Such perfect timing!

I decided to sleep there that night (just laid down and once we were sleeping no one asked me to leave) to make Justin feel better and so he could finally get some sleep.  And, he did.  He got a good solid night's sleep.

Monday we got up kind of late, and I got dressed listening to the rain pour down outside.  The general surgeon finally showed up before 9 and said after a few things that Justin could start the process of being discharged.  We also were finally told of the two additional fractures in his neck that they had seen 24 hours before and not told us about.

I was pretty happy, and with some of the incompetence around there, I think Justin was also.

Now we're back home, trying to re-adjust to life as "normal".  We've got doctor's appointments and follow-ups coming.  Not sure how to deal with returning to work or anything just yet.  Justin can't drive until his braces come off and we have no idea when he might return to work.

Training is off the books for now (even for me, obviously), and so is racing.  It's disappointing to know that we were both on track for a great season, and it's being cut short, but the fact is that I'm happy Justin is alive and able to move and will be fine once this is all over.

I said it almost 7 years ago, and I say it again:

I, Allison, take you, Justin, for my lawful husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

Thank you to everyone that has taken time to stop by and visit!  We both appreciate all of the offers to assist as well.  Some people that know us might realize that Justin and I are fairly self-sufficient and take care of things just the two of us.  If I knew what to ask for, I might take people up on the offers, but I just have no idea!


Jason said...

To see him walking is such a relief. Stay strong, you both will be in thought and prayers for some time.


Luke said...

as the saying goes...shit happens!! the injury, trauma, and stress is definitely a bummer...but think of the strength that will be derived from all of this. ...and if it brings you two closer as partners, and reminds you of what truly matters in life, then this event has served its true purpose.

i'm sure we'll be by to heckle you two soon...until then, stay sane! ;)

Jeff Kerkove said...

Best to both of you!

Sarah K said...

Hang in there Allison and Justin. Sending you lots of healing energy. That was frightening to read - cannot imagine what you are going through. All the best.

runninggunner said...

Wow. That's crazy. Glad to see he is walking. Hope he heals up fast. All the best to both of you.

General said...

Being someone who suffered a spinal cord injury 7 years, I completely empathize and can totally relate. The one pic with the walker brought back lots of funky and painful memories.
Be very glad there was no nerve damage as it could have easily been far worse. Always look at the bright side of the situation. The recovery will be there, in due time and with patience and diligence. Set goals and strive to meet them. Otherwise, it could get frustrating. Good luck you two.

P.S. Great write-up, Allison.

Ryan Weeger said...

great post on a not so great subject. you guys will pull through and all for the better in time. glad justin is already making baby steps too!

S said...

Your story was tweeted by another bike friend. Sending lots of prayers and positive thoughts. We'll be riding for you!

Minh said...

Glad to hear that he's actually doing pretty well. Taking a few months off is probably good for the both of you anyways. There's more to life than just riding. =)

allison said...

Minh - no, there's not... really ;) Just kidding...

andrea@brickhouseracing.com said...

Wow... I hope you two have a speedy recovery.

TRAN! said...

Glad to read that you both are ok, even though not on the bikes. There's always next season.. prayers go out to both of you during your recoveries.

Jman said...

It's great to hear that you are both home and healing. I love the re-statement of your vows. Awesome! We just went through our own trauma...we were actually at the same hospital as you and had I known you were there I would've stopped by...and I totally understand where your coming from. Take care and I'm sending the healing vibes to you both.

Carney said...

You both have some healing vibes comin' from CO!!!!

Aleksandra said...

Allison and Justin, be strong and we will see you at the races in time you are ready. You both in great shape and you will catch up quickly. I can only imagine what you guys are going through. Sending you best wishes and healing energy.

Aleksandra Mooradian

PacMan said...

Glad he's as OK as can be expected. Hope everything goes as smoothly as possible!! I'll say a prayer for you both!!

Take care!

mtbracenews.com said...

About the sesmoiditis.....I had a bad case of it a few years ago while training for TransRockies. It lingered for over 6 months but I was able to to ride/walk pain free by customizing all of my insoles. I built up the insoles around the metatarsal head and then cut a hole to relieve pressure. Worked great! I even bought a cheap pair of rubber flip flops and cut a hole in them and wore them all summer. Good luck.

Also, hope Justin heals up quickly.

If you're still having problems and want to see photos let me know. jennshan1@msn.com

Jen Hanks

Ed Price said...

Sorry to hear this. Met you guys briefly last fall at San Jacinto enduro, I tagged along from top of control road thru May Valley (gratefully, since I was sure I'd get lost). Anyway, I had a head-on about 10yrs ago and fractured 3 spinal processes (cervical). It was a rough patch, the neck/shoulder muscle pain was esp bad. But I actually came out of it ok and sooner than I expected and w/ no long term problems. Hope things improve quickly.

Aeroman said...

Great seeing you both last night! Hoping for a speedy recovery.