Saturday, December 31, 2011

Broken things and silver linings

Clearly, some things were broken in November.

The bike clips that snapped as J was catapulted into the road.

 The helmet that protected J's head from road rash.

The shirt that I'd come to associate with J's daily homecoming, (such a welcome sight for a stay-home mom), and the shirt he earned as a Cayuga Lake triathalon participant.

The cell phone took some of the brunt of the road rash, and yet still functions enough to make calls.

The work computer with an arc where it should be straight.

And of course, the bike is beyond repair.


We also found that our friends, our family, Jeremiah's workmates and our neighbors are all amazing.

There were calls, cards, gifts, visits, and so much food!

The compression fractures needed space to heal, so Jeremiah had to keep from leaning forward. His left leg wasn't able to lift off the ground on it's own power. These things together made him unable to dress without help.

This lent an opportunity for O to help out, making the whole thing a little less freaky.

O discovered a whole lot of silver linings from the wreck. The first couple of weekends after the accident, she was whisked away to San Francisco for play dates with her friends. Here she is zipping around, preparing for her exciting trip to the city!

 She came home from one of her Saturday play dates to find. . . Grandma visiting for a week!

One of the loveliest things that has come of the wreck has been the seven weeks we all got to spend together. O spent most of that time within arm's reach of Daddy's chair.

I'd like to go back to Halloween and erase everything that happened in the first week of November. After that, some stuff has happened that I don't think I'd trade. Our family is close. And since this was the way it happened, I don't get to erase the wreck, I'll keep looking for ways to build from this.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Our friends M. and C. came over last night and brought some pizza and a computer with a working DVD drive. C. moved my CT and Xrays over to a thumb drive so that I could view them on my mac (which now has no DVD drive due to the accident). So here are the images of the fractures.

First up is the acetabular fracture. The fracture can be seen just above the ball of my femur.

Next up is the lumbar fractures. These are not quite as clear due to the smoothing used by the program to render the image. The two vertebrae above the sacrum are the L5 and L4 vertebrae. Looking at these you can top of each looks like it is slightly shifted forward. These are the fractures.

Finally, here is a view with all of the fractures:

I'm hoping to get the DVD with the images of my thoracic vertebral fractures later this week and will add photos then.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


So, we dropped off mom at the airport today and about 30 minutes later I got a slightly panicked sounding phone call from a Stanford RN. It seems that I have several more fractured vertebrae. The nurse was not completely sure the extent, but wanted me in a back brace now. After a couple of hours spent worrying about what the new findings were, a second RN contacted me about the back brace. It seems that the new fractures are just spinal process fractures of T3-T7. This is not as critical as the initial call made it sound. I am much relieved, however, this still does mean I will need to be in a back brace, and likely that my recovery time will be longer.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Well, it's been 10 days since I was in the accident.

I feel like time is both standing still and flying by... My mom came down from Spokane last Friday and leaves tomorrow. She's been a huge help in the house keeping things picked up.

The first three days after the accident were by far the hardest. Every movement was painful. Day by day this week things have been getting easier. I am now able to stand without my crutches, and lift my right leg when laying down. I've also been able to get out the house a bit, but the days are still slow.

I have started only taking my pain killers before bed, to help with sleeping. My pain level hasn't been too bad lately with only dull aches in my back and ribs. My road rash is doing much better (today is the first day with no bandages and tape!), my hip is also feeling okay. My lower back is still pretty sore, and my ribs on my left side have been hurting more however.

Today is also my first follow up appointment with the Standford trauma clinic so I had them check my ribs. After a bit of discussion, they decided that I should have another CT scan of my thoracic region this time. So we had to hang out in Palo alto for four hours.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

11-03-2011, our first full day home.

Alright, folks. This is the nudie post. I photographed J as discreetly as possible, but to orient you in terms of location and size of the road rash, I needed to to include some, umm. . . landmarks.

It doesn't show all that well, but there's a large triangular bruise on this arm that didn't show up until the second day. The nurse giving J his tetanus shot would've injected it where the scratch is, but moved down to avoid the scratch. She injected the tetanus shot right where the bruise would end up (ouch).

This was the first good look at this mark that either of us had at this mark on J's rear. He'd asked the nurses about it, but they said nothing was there. This is the impression the edge of a tire makes when it pinches skin:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

11-02-2011, the day we came home from the hospital.

As J spent the night in terrible pain in the hospital, I spent the night replaying the accident in my mind (or my idea of the accident) over and over.  By the morning I realized I was experiencing post-traumatic stress, from an accident that happened when I wasn't even present.

Oonagh and I went to the hospital early, and we started to finally relax a bit when Jeremiah invited her up onto the bed. At first she was too nervous to get up with him. She allowed herself to be coaxed onto the bed, then spent the morning watching T.V. and eating chips between Dad's broken-hip leg and his road-rash leg.

I was feeling overwhelmed by the idea that I was going to be the bandage changer when we came home, and wanted to be sure I'd remember what needed to be done. In hope that photographs would somehow help prepare me for this, I started taking pictures.

The yellow bandage-looking stuff is Xeroform. It's gauze saturated in petroleum jelly and some sort of antimicrobial substance. The full box they sold us at the pharmacy looked like way more than we would ever need, but took it home anyhow.

Over the xeroform, the leg wound took seven 2x3 nonstick pads to cover.

I cried a lot on this day, or at least I felt like crying all day long. The hardest moment came when it was time to move Jeremiah from the car upstairs into the house. He and the physical therapist had worked out that he would use his crutches to come up the flight of stairs from the garage. The crutches were slightly too long, so I watched helplessly from the top of the stairs as he nearly toppled backward when he tackled the first step. We re-grouped, and used the rental wheelchair instead to get him up the hill from the garage to the front door.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

11-01-2011, the day of the wreck.

J was involved in an accident involving two cars on his morning bike commute. He has two six broken vertebrae and a broken hip. The fractures won't require surgery. He also has lots and lots of road rash. He's expected to recover fully, and should be back to work in 6-8 weeks (maybe sooner).
The accident happened at about 8:00 AM, when J was riding in a bike lane, in a school zone. A man dropping his child off for school was leaning to unbuckle his kid's seat belt, and when he sat up, J yelled for him not to open his car door. When the door swung open, it caught the handlebars of the bike. J was catapulted 10 feet into traffic and landed on his right side.

Just before reaching the car that threw him, J had passed a Ford F150 at a stop sign. When he landed, the right tire of this truck was lined up to hit J's abdomen. He lunged for the bumper of the truck, locked his left arm around it, and held on. The driver of the truck locked up his brakes for 14 feet, and J was dragged for 18. The forward motion of the truck rolled J's lower half over, so that his left leg and back were abraded.

J was transported by ambulance to Stanford Hospital's trauma unit. For several hours we were unaware of the fractures (and he was nearly discharged from the ER), because they didn't show up on the x-ray. He had abdominal/rib pain, so the trauma docs ordered a CT scan, and this imaging showed the broken hip and vertebrae
J spent the night in the Stanford Critical Decision Unit. When we were about halfway home, O asked me where his biking clothes were. She cried over his clothes the rest of the way home, and promised me she would make him some new clothes with her toy sewing machine.