Monday, February 18, 2013


Due to my less than Iron-manly workout schedule and the infrequency of my blog posts I'd been queuing up a post about my winter "tribernation." I'll shelve that one for now in lieu of current events.
Last week's snow storm brought heaps of the white stuff (over two feet in my neighborhood) and with it my first opportunity to dust off my snowboard and hit the slopes. After shoveling my way out of the house I was picked up and headed to Hunter Mountain with a couple of friends.
Strapping the board on my feet felt strange at first but after the first minute (and a couple of tumbles) or so I started to get my legs back. Just as I was getting comfortable I caught an edge and took a bad spill with my shoulder first contact with an icy patch of ground. It all happened so fast but it hurt pretty badly. I wondered whether it was just typical trauma pain where the pain is brutal at first but subsides quickly.
After a few minutes on the ground I attempted to get up and board the rest of the way down. Not happening. Going completely against my nature I agreed for my friends to call for help and within moments I was surrounded by ski patrol. A harrowing speedy sled ride (which under any normal circumstances would have been a blast) brought me to first aid. Much like the school nurse's office, all they were ably to supply was ice (and a poorly tied sling). There was no diagnosis but one of the staff members suggested a possible tear of a ligament near the clavicle.
Once I knew that I wouldn't do any further damage waiting to get fully checked out and have the shoulder x-rayed I told the others to enjoy themselves on the slopes (we'd only just arrived) and I hit the bar. Probably due to my sloppy sling, the bartender took great care of me.
That night after making it home (in substantial pain) and spending some time with my family and my Dad, who was sitting shiva, the Mrs. and I hit the Emergency Room. The Dr. took a quick look before having the x-rays taken and indicated that it didn't seem like anything was broken (explaining that if it was I would be in excruciating pain, I reminded him that it did indeed hurt).
The x-rays revealed a complete break of my clavicle on the distal end ("near the shoulder" in layman's terms-though I'm a clavicle expert now).  The treatment described was immobilization of the shoulder in a real sling and an outside chance of surgery. The follow-up visit with an ortho on Monday was when I first realized things were worse than the hospital docs let on. It was explained that my specific injury can be handled with or without surgery depending on the patient and their activity level. The recommendation was to wait a week and take it from there.
I went for a second opinion on Wednesday with one of NY's premier surgeons and for him the diagnosis was clear. For someone like me (young and active) surgery would be the answer. Due to the displacement of the bones the likelihood of the fracture healing normally was slim. I corroborated the prognosis with a good friend who is a doctor of physical therapy and went ahead with scheduling surgery to have a titanium plate installed over the top of my clavicle.

This brings us to today. Aside from having tubes put in my ears as an infant, and having my tonsils removed in my early teens, I've never had any real surgery. To say I'm not nervous would be a lie but I've been wearing a cloak that says business as usual (including going into work this morning like it's just another day). I trust that I'm in good hands and the doctor sees no reason why I won't be ready for Timberman in August (though I may still have some pain).
The way I see it, this past week was the worst of it. In addition to the pain, the uncertainty and acceptance of the situation was hard for me. Aside from going to work I've been completely inactive and feel as though I'm bordering on being useless.  Though I resist help on all my basic tasks, I haven't been good for much else. 
Today I will turn the corner and begin my road to recovery. Sure it's probably going to hurt like $&@! but the healing will start right away and I've got a healthy dose of meds to help take the pain away. I'm optimistic (and so is the doc) that I'll make a solid recovery and resume all my activities. I'll have to re-evaluate and re-establish my goals and expectations for this tri-season but isn't that what life is all about. Adjusting to whatever is thrown your way is the name of the game and adjust I will.

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