Friday, September 30, 2011

Same Song, 2nd Verse

Tonight I just happened to have a lot of quarters on me as the woman I work for gave me all her loose change quarters since she knows I always need them for laundry.

So there I was, less than two miles from home, at the south side of the San Vicente/Orlando intersection, and of course I was heading north. It was starting to rain a bit - those big, pelting drops that soak you very quickly, and I got to the little triangle area where I always push the button to trigger the crosswalk. Triggering the crosswalk allows more time to cross the intersection as it is actually quite wide. There was a man standing there in the rain, no coat on. He wasn't a homeless fellow, but he asked if I had change for $1 because he needed meter money. Well, of course I did have change, and it was in my pannier, which to access meant I had to dismount the bike. As soon as I started to dismount, I lost my footing and the bike and I went over, this time on my left side. Whomp! I muttered some "s-word" expletive as I went down. I seem to mutter that a lot when I nearly get doored or winged or any other near miss. My left hand braced my fall, and I now even more strongly suspect that I have a cracked bone in my wrist from the crash 4 weeks ago, because I just added insult to that injury which still was hurting before this latest fall.

The man helped me up, and I dusted myself off. No damage or anything. He gave me his $1 and I gave him four quarters, and he went his separate way after I assured him that I really was quite fine. In fact, I was apologizing to him for my lack of balance!

Honestly, I feel like my biking mojo is totally screwed up. Two falls in less than 4 weeks. What the heck is wrong with me?

Thankfully, the peanut M&Ms, fig newtons and Ritz cracker sandwiches that were crammed into the pannier survived unscathed - as did the 5 Wee Forest Folk that were in their boxes and tied to the handlebars in a grocery bag (see pic above).

Monday, September 19, 2011

Status quo update

The knee continues to mend and is very tender in certain spots. I need to be careful rolling over in bed because the shifting of the pressure of the fluid in the knee can be very painful, so I have to toss and turn with great tenderness and purpose, all the time protecting the knee.

That being said, I managed to do 42 miles on the bike last week, and I'm on the bike again this week. I'm not going particularly fast nor do I desire to. Well, fast on a hybrid - which isn't saying much. Still, I'd rather just ride easily and keep the knee moving and the fluid pumping out rather than building up more pressure.

One thing I've not mentioned about the crash is that my left hand also sustained bruising on the heel. This bruising never surfaced, but it continues to be sore two weeks later, and I'm wondering if I might have slightly fractured one of the wrist bones. It can get very achy just holding onto the handlebars even for short trips.

On Saturday I contemplated biking a 37 mile round-trip adventure that I've been planning for some time - to go from West Hollywood eastward to San Gabriel. It's all city traffic to get there, and I've studied my route for a long time. The problem is, I just couldn't get mentally geared up for it. Somehow my courage is still a little fragile after the crash. I'm also not great in traffic, which is why I tend to take the side streets. I know that one day I will make that trip, but Saturday was not that day. Then, on Sunday, I thought of riding to the beach, but somehow my courage continued to fail me despite having made the beach trek many times, and I opted to stay home. I may just need to be content with the daily 10-milers for a little while longer.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again...

After I got home from work, the bike seemed to be calling me. I have been walking without pain, but to touch the front of the knee or to bump it accidentally can make howl with pain. Even rolling over in bed becomes a huge ordeal because I can't do it - I have to lift my body up, set the bad knee down gently into position and then try to settle the rest of my body comfortably in whatever contorted pose I have. I thought last night that I'd try to roll over, and my knee gave me a searing, ripping pain that lasted for several moments, and I knew I better not do that again.

But the question was.... since there was no actual joint pain, could I ride? I suited up, discovering that my riding gloves are really getting to be in tatters and it's time for replacements, and I took the bike outside. So far, so good. Next question - could I swing my leg with the bad knee over the bike? Again, no problem. So, I got on the bike.

The original intent was just to test it by riding around in the neighborhood, see how my knee felt. Although there was no joint pain, the knee was stiff and tight and didn't want to make the rotations. Keep in mind, the knee and upper shin are still very swollen, and this no doubt accounts for a lot of the tightness. I thought I'd go a couple of miles to loosen it up, and then two miles turned into 4 miles, 4 into 6, and then 6 into 10. 10 miles. 10 slow miles. I didn't want to push my knee too hard.

It feel good to be on the bike again... and by the time I had finished, my knee didn't feel so tight. I did find myself feeling overly cautious and overly protective of my knee. Had I fallen again on that side during this critical time of healing, I would have ended up in the emergency room.

I'm hoping my ace bandages arrive on Wednesday because I'll start wrapping the knee then. Giving it support might even enable me to roll over at night without feeling like I'm ripping open something.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

First Aid Station

As I continue to heal from the crash a week ago, I am forced to re-evaluate some things. First of all, I had no first aid kit with me whatsoever. I had planned on getting one in the future, but that future has turned into now. Just got the one on the left for about $3 - including shipping - and it's coming from China. It's very basic, and that's fine for what I currently need. I also ordered some 6" wide ace bandages, and I'll keep one in my large pannier at all times... because you just never know. I will use one of the 6" acers to wrap my knee and stabilize it because the soft tissue damage in the front is actually pretty severe. I also think I have torn a tendon on the outside of the knee.

Walking without joint pain is still not a problem. There is no joint pain, in fact. The pain is in the soft tissue, and a wrong movement will make it feel like it is burning or tearing all over again. So the ace bandage should help with that to stabilize it. I should probably be on crutches so that I'm not really moving it much at all, but that's hardly practical for my life. I have to go to work, I have to drive my car, I have to walk the dog. Life goes on.

Who knows, though. Perhaps my having a first aid kit on hand will allow me to help someone else in need, should the occasion arise. In the meantime, I am still off the bike due to the continued severeness of the soft tissue injuries under the skin in the front of the knee.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Battle of Wounded Knee rages on

So, here I sit, four days after the little mishap and realize that it wasn't "little" after all but quite serious. Now, that being said, I do not believe that anything is broken. However, there is extensive soft tissue damage and probably some nerve damage. It is extremely sensitive to touch and although there is improvement in some ways, in other ways, I just am constantly made aware of how bad a fall it was. When I fell, it felt as if I had ripped all the skin off my knee area. The pain was searing and immense. On a scale of 1-10, it was about a 20. Of course, I looked at it, and there wasn't much external damage, certainly not enough for a pain area that broad, but it was what was under the skin that was causing the pain. Muscles may be be crushed and torn. Not sure. But on the left side of the injured knee (right side in the pic), wrong movements will reinvigorate that searing pain, like tearing, ripping, burning. I'm taking more Ambrotose. Hopefully that will help my body with the information it needs for faster healing. Also light touching of the really damaged area sends nerve shockwaves to the other side of my knee. Not painful waves... just a weird feeling. Discoloration from bruising is still rising to the surface.

So, I'm still off the bike. I could ride it, I'm sure, but I think the knee needs more internal healing time. I'm ready to go, but my knee is not. Walking is not painful unless I've just had a little tweak of retearing something. Then it's just burning/stinging, like a fresh scrape, only you can't see the scrape. Meniscus tear? I don't think so.

I'll rest it all weekend as much as possible and spend time studying.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Battle of Wounded Knee

There is a long bike lane on Venice Blvd. I don't know how far east it goes from La Cienega Blvd., but it goes about 8 miles west right up onto the beach bike path.

Often I play leap frog with the buses because quite frankly, they can be very slow with their frequent stops... and sometimes they stop for a long time with no activity. Now, this wouldn't be a problem if they weren't taking up the entire width of the bike lane, which was what happened today near Venice and Overland. The traffic was too heavy to pass the bus, so I thought I'd just pop up onto the sidewalk and go around it safely that way. There was a sidewalk driveway at the back end of the bus, and there was a car trying to exit, but I thought I could thread the needle between them and pop up onto the sidewalk via the driveway. However, my front tire did not hit the 2" curb at enough of an angle to make the jump and instead skidded and tossed me down onto the sidewalk. I went down hard on my right knee and my hands. My hands were protected with gloves and at least I was wearing long pants, but I was in immediate, extreme pain, so much so that I couldn't get up for a couple of minutes. A girl at the bus stop came to my aid and was willing to call 911 if I absolutely couldn't get up, but finally I struggled up, but now I didn't quite know what to do. I had been on a ride to the beach, but with about 5 more miles to get there and then 12 miles to get home, completing the ride was out of the question. I was questioning if I could even turn around and ride home... about 7 miles.

Since I was within a few blocks of a friend's house, I thought I'd ride over and see if she could take me home. She has a huge van that could easily hold the bike. So I painfully rode over, barely able to pedal with my right leg. However, no one was home. Now I'd ridden even further away from home, and I thought I would call my next door neighbor who has a SUV. Called her, and she had just sprained her ankle and was icing it... so she suggested another neighbor. Now by this time, the shock was setting in a bit, and I started to cry - because I really was hurt. Not hurt enough to need an ambulance, but perhaps too hurt to continue, and when I called my neighbor, she agreed to come and get me. But I had to get back to Venice Blvd, and by the time I rode a couple more blocks, I had calmed down and told her not to come, that I could get home if I just went slowly. I was still wanting to cry the entire way home, but I kept it mostly in check, and then when I was about 2.5 miles away, the neighbor with the sprained ankle called and asked where I was because she was driving around looking for me. We got my bike into her SUV and she drove me home.

I have been icing my knee for a while. As you can see from the pictures, there is a big gouge of wound that is mostly a big scrape, but all around it is bruising. Pretty much everything you see in the pic hurts. There's a lot of fluid in there now and it's much darker now than that picture. It's a bit like painful mush. I guess I'll be sleeping on my back tonight. Ugh.

Of course, I'm also waiting to see what other injuries, like pulled muscles, occurred because of the fall. I'll know tomorrow when they start hurting.

And if the knee feels okay tomorrow except for bruising and soreness, I may ride the bike. Why? To help pump that extra fluid around the knee out of there. I wouldn't do this, btw, if I had a smashed kneecap or torn meniscus. I've been icing, taking ibuprofen and also Ambrotose, and I expect a fast recovery. I knew I would have a fall one day. Just glad it wasn't any worse than this.

The bike suffered no damage, not even a scratch.