The new pictures of me in this entry and the next ones depict the "during"
(injured) phase. I hope to have nice "after" (recovery) photos
to share eventually.
I can pretty well guarantee they won't involve either plastic surgery or
PhotoShop editing. I like to be honest and I'm too frugal to put some
dermatologist's kid through college.
SETTING THE SCENE
Monday was a rest day for the two of us. On Sunday we'd done rather short
(8-10 miles) but
strenuous runs on dirt County Rd. 110 from Silverton toward the old mining town
of Gladstone. Like most of our runs in the San Juan Mountains, it was at high
altitude (from 9,300 to 10,200 feet) and we needed a day or two to recover
before our next long run/hike on trails.
Jim spent time doing miscellaneous tasks around the camper, played with Cody
in the creek, talked to one of our campground neighbors (Frank) who runs
ultras, talked to another guy who has been full-time RVing for thirteen years,
and got further psyched up for The Bear 100 race in late September (which he
just entered over the weekend) by reading
past reports, investigating camping options, and working on his split charts.
I had been inside too much that day. After several hours of mostly working at my computer, I needed to get
outside, do some moderate exercise, and "open my horizons" visually and
Most of the day had been cloudy but no appreciable rain had fallen -- not enough
to hold down the dust on South Mineral Creek Road, at least. It's very
convenient to head out our camper door and get on this road during the truncated
four weeks we've camped at this "dispersed" (free national forest) campground
this summer. However, we've both hesitated to either run or ride our bike much on
this road because
of the traffic and dust. We much prefer trails for running/hiking;
neither of us rides Jim's mountain bike a lot. It's handy for some
cross-training, but our passion is more "pedestrian" (pun intended)..
A section of S. Mineral Creek Road
that's near our campground
We've noticed that traffic is lighter the first two or three days of the week
-- fewer Jeeps, ATVs, dirt bikes, motorcycles, trucks, cars, and RVs
driving up and down the road. I hadn't
seen much traffic Monday so when our valley was finally under bright
sunshine at 4PM, I asked Jim to pump up the bike tires for me and fix the
gears/chain that malfunctioned on me Sunday when I tried to ride it on the road
to the old mining town of
After we both tested the bike nearby and felt that it was in good working
order, I headed off alone for a short, fairly easy ride.
Well, fairly easy for a more experienced rider. After being at high altitude
all summer I'm acclimated to the
elevations around Silverton for hiking and running, but my cycling legs aren't as strong.
Nor are my bike skills. I just don't cycle that much any more and I don't like Jim's old
bike very well. It wasn't built to fit me like my Terry road bike. (We don't
have it on this trip. It's for use on pavement only and we didn't think there
would be enough opportunities to ride it safely on this trip.).
smoother part of S. Mineral Creek Road that I ride rises from about 9,400 -
9,900 feet elevation in 4+ miles from Hwy. 550, past
and to the trailhead parking area for the Ice Lake Trail. That's not exactly steep but
it's enough of an uphill grade that I have to pedal much
harder outbound than on the return. The road continues on another three miles
or so, but that part is so rocky and narrow I haven't even considered riding on
it; it's a challenge for a clumsy person like me to run..
I do recognize SOME of my limits!
Idyllic wetland view along S. Mineral Creek Rd.
My goal on Monday afternoon was to ride nine miles total on the
"good" part of the dirt road at a comfortable pace, loosen up my running legs for a
long run/hike on
Tuesday, and enjoy the warm sunshine ("warm" is relative in the San Juan
Mountains: low 70s at this elevation). I told Jim I'd be back in about
I seriously underestimated how much time it would take me to do this ride at a
"comfortable" pace. Not that I was in any hurry to get back to the camper
after the turnaround -- I
knew it would take half as long as going out -- but I was conscious of my
mistake and hoped Jim wasn't worried about me.
Let me tell you, nothing worries a loved one like getting an urgent
cell phone call from a complete stranger that your spouse or other family
member has been in an
accident and an ambulance is on its way!
WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED??
My memory of events up until about a minute before I crashed were completely
intact when I was being questioned and evaluated in the ambulance by Dave, the EMT
attending to me on the 65-mile drive over two mountain passes to the nearest
hospital. My memory of the bike ride up until then is still intact three days
I remember exactly when I started my ride and when I left the turnaround (4:58
PM). I remember the beautiful view of a colorful mountain on the way back and the gray
storm clouds gathering behind it; I wondered if I was going to get wet
soon. I carefully stopped off the side of
the road to take a picture of it (below) and to return the camera
securely to its padded case. The sky behind and over me was brilliant blue,
studded with puffy white clouds. It was a great day to ride!
I remember there
were fewer vehicles on the return than going outbound, and I was grateful for less
dust in my eyes, throat, and lungs. I remember passing the campground where we
stayed in 2006 and 2007, noting how much emptier it was than the more popular
spot we've used this summer. I remember passing a black truck along the side of
the road; the driver was on her cell phone and I thought how novel (and
more safe) it was to pull over to talk.
The last thing I remember before crashing was the feeling of flying
effortlessly down the
road, mostly coasting, with my hands pressing both brakes lightly. Gravity was pulling me down the
mostly gradual slope
for four miles and I didn't have to work hard at
all. The gears and brakes were working fine on the simple, old bike. I felt
like I was floating through the air. I'd guess
my speed was at least 20MPH, but we don't have a speedometer on this bike so
I could have been going faster. I know I've gone a lot faster over the years on road bikes on paved
Maybe I was just plain lucky I never wiped out before.
What I'm relating now is based on information from Jim, the
Swansons, and a nearby camper (Rick) who came up to the road
from his campsite to see what all the
commotion was about. I have no memory of this. I talked
with the Swansons by phone and with Rick in person on Tuesday morning, about 16 hours
after the accident. Jim had talked with all of them when he
arrived on scene.
I crashed the bike 10-15 minutes after leaving the turn-around
at the end of the road, which would make it about 5:08-5:13 PM
Although no one apparently saw me go down, it took only a few
minutes for someone to find me since I was blocking the narrow
road. If I'd gone down the hill to
the creek, it probably would have taken much longer for someone
to find me.
Jim's phone rang at 5:21 PM. It was Nancy Swanson, who
Villa Dallavalle B&B in Silverton
with her husband Gerald.
The Swansons were driving
by when they saw me sitting in the road, three or four feet from
the edge (right above the rock slide to the creek),
with the bike lying on its side about a foot away from me. I was
near the blood spots that you can see in the next photo. I don't
know if I moved myself into that position or if I sat there,
right where I landed. I still had my helmet on. My glasses and
sunglasses were lying in the road. I was dazed and disoriented and the Swansons could see blood on my face, arms, legs, and clothing. I
didn't see any blood till I got to the hospital.
Another woman got there "about the same time," according to
Nancy, coming from the other
direction. Apparently she just freaked out when she saw me and
was totally useless. I don't know if she's generally useless in
an emergency, if she was in a hurry and was frustrated that she couldn't proceed with me
blocking the road, or if she maybe almost ran over me coming
around the blind curve in the other direction (you can see it in
the first photo in this entry.
I'm glad no one ran over me! Few people drive the speed limit on
this road (20-25 MPH) and I was very vulnerable to someone who
might have been speeding or not very alert on the curves,
particularly the blind one to the east.
What was left of my blood spots
(foreground) 16-17 hours later; this view looks west.
Nancy and Gerald got out and came over to me. When they saw the
blood stains in the road next to me, and my blood-soaked white
cotton headband, Nancy suggested I take off my helmet so they
could inspect my head further. They said I took it off and let
them check me out.
Jim, who is EMT-trained, says this wasn't
good post-wreck protocol, but the average person doesn't realize
the potential dangers of permanent damage to a victim with head or spinal
injuries. I sincerely appreciate what the Swansons did to assess my
condition. Seeing the bad gash on my forehead more clearly
prompted Nancy to immediately call 911, which was good
protocol, and she and Gerald knew not to try to move me out of the road
-- another very good decision, even though it backed up traffic
in both directions for a while.
Meanwhile, Rick came up several hundred feet from his tent
farther down the creek. His wife told him about the commotion up
on the road and he came up to investigate. He also sounds like a
sensible person to have around in an emergency.
Either Rick or Nancy questioned me about an emergency contact.
Although I had that information on a card in my fanny pack, they
didn't know that. Nancy said I clearly told her Jim's name and
phone number. (I didn't take my phone because there is no cell
signal down the road from our campground.) I do not remember
doing that, but it shows that at least one part of my brain was
taking care of business.
This "layers of consciousness" thing totally fascinates me! I've
discovered I answered other questions accurately at the
scene that I don't remember, either.
Jim left the camper pretty quickly after receiving Nancy's
urgent phone call. He grabbed his EMS bag, put Cody into the
camper, locked the door, and tore off for the 1¼-mile drive up
South Mineral Creek Road to the accident scene, arriving four or five minutes after
getting the call. He followed the Sheriff. They both beat the Rescue
Squad by five or six minutes.
Several vehicles were parked along the road when Jim got there
and more got backed up before the scene was cleared. Jim said he
was there only about ten minutes before I was whisked away by
I do not remember hearing or seeing any vehicles or people
around me, only Jim. Talking to Rick in person, talking
to Nancy and Gerald on the phone, and seeing photos of
the Swansons on their
website has done nothing (yet,
at least) to restore those memories.
I am very appreciate of all
that these and possibly some other folks did to get professional help to me quickly and
to make things
easier on Jim. It's got to be very difficult on several levels
to be the first, or one of the first, people on the scene of an
accident. I'm glad they kept their cool and took appropriate
Nancy & Gerald Swanson, first on the scene
No one had moved me before Jim arrived. As mentioned, that was
good in my case. He did his standard EMS check for head and spinal
injuries, then determined it was appropriate to have me lie back
on the road so I'd be more comfortable and ready for the
stretcher. I don't remember him doing this, or even being there
on the road.
When the EMTs from Silverton arrived they questioned Jim and me,
then did their own "rapid assessment"
of my condition before loading me into the ambulance. I don't
remember them checking me over or questioning me, but I
apparently answered their questions fairly well -- except the part
about "what happened?"
I may never be able to answer that one.
My first conscious memory after the wreck was seeing Jim's
as he was helping the EMTs lift me onto the stretcher. I
still didn't know where I was or what had happened but I
remember seeing his face (and only his face, no one else's) and
telling him that I had my insurance card in my fanny pack. He
helped me get it out and put it in the waistband of my bike
shorts in case he didn't arrive at the hospital as soon as I did. I
don't remember any other questions, conversations, people, or
vehicles until after I
was loaded into the ambulance.
Oddly enough, I do remember thinking how pretty the blue sky and
white clouds were as I laid on the stretcher before they lifted
me up into the ambulance. The gray clouds were farther east and
I couldn't see them any more.
Isn't it interesting the things that were significant enough
for me to remember, even when I was in shock? Jim's face, the
infinite blue sky, my insurance card . . . how practical and how
NOT THE TYPE OF ADVENTURE I SEEK!
Another one of the odd things I clearly remember as I was coming out of
my daze was the excitement I felt, not of being rescued, but of
riding in the back of an ambulance! At the time it seemed like
just another grand adventure.
Wow. I assure you this says more about my altered level of
consciousness at the moment than about the fully-conscious
attitude I have about first responders, trauma teams, and going to an
emergency room. Yes, I've had good experiences with the ER when
I've been there with others but
I've always hoped to avoid needing one for myself. That is
not what I consider to be an adventure.
Calling 911 is serious business and should not be done
frivolously. I know from Jim's experiences with his rescue squad in Virginia that too many people take
the service for granted and make unnecessary calls for transport
to the hospital. Some of them may see it as an adventure.
They need to get a life.
I only mention this strange memory to illustrate how the mind
can react when it's still in shock. I definitely needed to go to
the hospital and I'm grateful Silverton EMS arrived so quickly
There I go! Jim took this windshield shot
as he followed the ambulance to Durango.
Jim was in a bit of a frenzy as the ambulance was preparing to
leave. Rick and the other bystanders quickly handed him the bike
I'd just mangled, my equally-mangled eyeglasses and perfectly
fine sunglasses (must've popped off before my faceplant), the
cracked rear-view mirror that broke off my helmet, and a
blood-soaked towel someone must have given me or used to wipe me
In the frenzy, Jim heard my helmet go clattering down the rocky
slope and into the creek. Someone said "Oops" and Jim
replied, "Don't worry about it." He figured he'd look for
it later, although it might have been useful to show the ER
doctor re: my head injury. (More about the helmet later.)
There were just two EMTs and one had to drive the ambulance. Dave
stayed in the back with me; we haven't learned his last
name yet. Jim followed closely in the truck,
knowing he (hopefully, we) would need transportation back to Silverton
From South Mineral Creek Road west of Silverton we had a long way (about 65 miles) to go
south on Hwy 550 through the mountains and over two
passes to get to the hospital several miles beyond downtown
Durango. Because my condition appeared to
be fairly stable,
the ambulance didn't run with lights and sirens. Jim was amazed
how many people pulled over for us without the lights flashing.
not using Opticon to keep the lights green for our passage
through Durango, I don't think we
stopped more than once or twice for red lights. We missed rush
hour and the road work in town, arriving at the hospital a
little after 7 PM.
Instead of strapping me to a backboard like Jim's rescue squad uses to
keep an injured person's spine and head aligned during
transport, the Silverton ambulance crew used a more comfortable
inflatable contraption to keep me immobile on the stretcher. You can see it in
the next photo, which Jim took right after I was wheeled into
Inflated cast for head/spinal
injuries to keep the head and torso immobile.
I clearly remember the trip to the hospital, which took at least 90
minutes, although the gentle vibration from the road and not being
able to see where I was going almost lulled me to sleep after a
while. That did not make me nauseous, fortunately. Jim's
used to people throwing up frequently in the back of the
ambulance while in transport. I wanted to wriggle around more than the head
cast would allow, so I was glad when it came off in the ER and I
could change positions a little bit.
Dave-the-EMT kept me alert and amused the entire way to the ER.
Thank you, Dave! He asked all kinds of past and present questions to ascertain
my level of consciousness; gave me three words to remember when
he asked me for them 20 minutes later (I remembered them
correctly); took a blood sample so the hospital could run
pertinent tests; monitored my vital signs (heart rate,
blood pressure, and 02 stats); and gave me
supplemental oxygen even though my rate was satisfactory "just
in case you need it." (I later learned that's pretty
standard for folks who have just received head injuries.) We talked about my injuries, the local
area, running and other sports, Dave's job, and a mutual friend
from Silverton who used to work with the rescue squad before her
recent move to Moab (Hardrock volunteer and aid station
coordinator, Lois MacKenzie).
Although it was a long ride, I was pretty comfortable, in no pain (the
shock hadn't worn off yet), alert, aware of everything going on
around me, able to ask and answer questions, and capable of
carrying on rational conversation. "Normal."
But for the life of me, I had no awareness of what happened
right before, during, or after the wreck! I knew that I had been
injured in a bike crash because that's what I was told, but I could answer no questions about it.
Three days later, I still can't.
A VERY POSITIVE ER EXPERIENCE
This was the first time I'd been in an emergency room as a
patient receiving care. I've been to one in Sheridan, WY with
Jim after his rattlesnake bite and with my ex in Atlanta after a
suspected heart attack (fortunately, just a bad case of
indigestion). Both were relatively quiet experiences with
caring, efficient professional staff., not the negative
depiction you sometimes see on TV, in movies, and in print media
as loud, frenetic, crowded places to sit and wait in agony for
hours until a cursory
exam with a doctor or nurse.
Since my previous experiences were fairly positive, I was in a
good frame of mind when I finally arrived at the Mercy Regional
Medical Center in Durango. After all, I was still in some level
of shock that masked all the bad stuff. I still had on all of my clothes, including my
blood-soaked sweatband and neon-yellow shirt and my bike shoes
and gloves. I hadn't seen any blood or felt any pain yet. Jim
was amazed that I wasn't crying or complaining of the pain when
he saw me. I didn't really start to hurt until several hours
after the crash.
I had no clue as to the severity of my injuries or I might have
been more worried! Thank goodness for ignorance and endorphins/adrenaline
(shock) at that point.
Jim was able to follow the ambulance closely the entire way, so
he was right there in the ER with me as they rolled me into a
room by myself. He handled the insurance part in my
room (not a desk down the hall) and the
only administrative thing I had to do was sign a form before my
release. Jim was able to remain with me for everything (including
two visits to the bathroom) except the 15-20 minutes in a
nearby room for two CT scans.
Mercy has somewhat recently moved from the north end of Durango
to a rural location SE of town -- all that much farther
from Silverton. I was lying on a stretcher in my "own" spacious room
(above) the whole four hours I was there except for the scans. Several other
trauma center rooms around the central nurses' station had
patients but I never felt any frenzy going on and I wasn't moved
to allow someone else to use "my" room. My timing was
I was given a saline IV soon after I entered the ER. It went
with me to the scanning room and bathroom. That was a great
idea, considering I'm usually dehydrated to some extent.
I was also hooked up to a blood pressure cuff on one arm and
clothespin-type sensor (Pulse-Ox?) on one of my forefingers that
continuously measured my heart rate and oxygen level. Both
the cuff and sensor displayed my vital signs on a monitor over my stretcher.
You'd think the lower the HR the better, but my 44-49 pulse rate
in the ER caused the monitor to constantly beep. The number 49
is red in the photo below because my HR is "below normal." I knew to tell the EMTs
and ER staff that I've been running for 30 years, so they
understood the low numbers but didn't adjust the monitor. The
noise got so annoying after three hours that I just took the sensor
off. No one seemed to notice. My blood pressure was higher than normal but evidently not a concern
to anyone but me.
My O2 level remained high enough (the blue 99 below, when 95-100 is
ideal) that I didn't need any more supplemental oxygen at the
hospital. It's a good sign that, after being slammed around in
the skull, my brain was getting enough oxygen. I think I'm pretty well acclimated up to 13,000 feet
so Durango's altitude of about 6,525 feet seemed positively saturated with
The ER staff, including Dr. Mapes, attended to me quickly to assess the
damage. Injuries to the head and spine are some of the most
critical emergencies that trauma centers face. Medical personnel
always suspect spinal damage when there is a head injury.
Because my head and face took the brunt of the fall, at a fairly high
rate of speed no less, they wanted to see how much brain and
trauma I sustained. I answered lots more questions (except about
that period of time that remains a blank); they could see
I was alert and "in the present" but didn't know how badly I was injured inside.
While I was still in the inflatable "cast" and unable to
voluntarily move my head or shoulders, the doctor assessed my
spine and movements of my arms, fingers, and legs. Jim was
surprised that no one ever took my stiff bike shoes off to see
toe movement, but I know I could move my toes OK.
Dr. Mapes also
determined upon palpitation (ouch! the first pain I felt) that I had one or more
cracked or fractured ribs. No X-rays were taken of my chest,
however (more about that in the next entry).
wanted to cut off my bloody, bright yellow synthetic shirt from
the MS50 race and I bargained with them: get me out of
this contraption and I'll take it off the proper way, over my
head! That was out of the question until after the spinal and
brain CT (computerized tomography) scans, but they did leave it on me until getting the
positive results from the scans. Once freed from the cast, I
could sit up and move my arms enough to remove the shirt with
assistance. They even gave me a spare
t-shirt to wear over my sports bra on the way home. I tossed
bloody sweatband but kept the bloody MS50 shirt. It's a great
shirt to use on roads when I need visibility to avoid being hit by a vehicle.
I've experienced a lot of firsts with this wreck.
This was also the first time I've gotten CT scans. I was
pleasantly surprised at how fast and quiet they were, compared
to MRIs. It took less than an hour for the scans, the
radiologist's findings, and reassurance from the attending ER
physician, Dr. Mapes, that the results were fairly good,
considering the significant impact my head appears to have
- The head CT scan showed no acute brain abnormality or fractures of
the skull or face. It showed "left frontal scalp hematoma [collection
of blood in soft tissue] and laceration [cut]; left
malar [cheek] soft tissue swelling; mild radiopaque debris in
left frontal scalp soft tissue." Fortunately, those injuries were all
outside the brain and skull.
- The cervical spine CT scan showed "no acute fracture or caseous
abnormality; multilevel degenerative changes." It wasn't until
I read the summary on the way home that I found three areas of concern
that I need to follow up: severe degenerative disc disease and
uncovertebral joint hypertrophy at C6-C7, severe multilevel facet
hypertrophy on the left side, and heterogeneous enlargement of the
thyroid gland. Hmmm . . . didn't know about any of that.
Since my lacerations and abrasions were doing more oozing than
bleeding (no major vessels were cut), it took longer for the
staff to get around to cleaning them and stitching me up. That wasn't as high a
priority as determining the status of my brain, spine, heart,
and rib cage. By the time I left, each wound
on my face, arms, and legs had been assessed, debrided, treated with antiobiotic cream, and
Dr. Mapes put multiple stitches in the deepest laceration (on my
forehead) and one stitch in a cut in my eyelid after the nurse
irrigated the eye with a saline wash to remove some grit that irritated
it. I'll write more about the wound care I received in the next
My face and head before the lacerations and
abrasions were stitched or thoroughly cleaned
ER staff person cleaning up my knee wounds
My left knee after grit from road was cleaned out and
dead skin was removed
I'll show more photos from the ER in the next entry. Don't worry;
I'm not putting the worst ones in this journal.
At some point before the shock hormones began wearing
off, and long after my last dose of Ibuprofen in the middle of
the afternoon had faded, one of the ER staff asked me to rate my perceived
pain on a scale of 1 to 10.
I quickly ran through a mental check
of all my body parts and came up with "7." That was difficult,
though. I think I tolerate pain better than the average person
does, but how do you quantify tt? All I could do was compare it
to other pain I've felt, and it wasn't intolerable. Maybe I should have given a
higher number, because I wasn't able to talk the doctor into
letting me have some NSAIDs until I started hurting quite a bit
more a couple hours later. Then they were either too busy or
didn't seem to believe me.
We arrived at the ER about 7:20 PM Monday. I'd
say by 9:30 PM most of the shock and endorphins had worn off and
the fun factor had significantly decreased. Pretty
much all at once I was starting to feel noticeable pain, hunger,
and the need to urinate.
My bathroom needs were addressed pretty quickly.
Jim and a nurse helped me to sit up slowly so I didn't hurt my
rib cage or get dizzy. I was able to walk with one or both
of them supporting me down the hall about 100 feet to the
bathroom. Jim went in with me to be sure I didn't slip or faint.
I did fine then (with assistance) and on one other trip to pee.
I deliberately avoided looking at my face in the bathroom mirror
the first trip. Ignorance is bliss. By that time I
had seen my bloody sweatband and shirt, and had a better grip on
my injuries since I could see my arms and legs after being
allowed to sit up.
But I wasn't ready to look at my face quite yet. I could feel
the abrasion under my left eye but not the more serious
laceration on my forehead.
I did take a peek at my face the second time in the bathroom. I was almost
as concerned about my bloody and matted "helmet hair" as the
lacerations and abrasions! What a frightful mess. I asked Jim to
go out to the truck and get my hair "pick" so I could comb it.
On those two walks down the hall I noticed that my left calf was
awfully sore, and mentioned it to the doctor on my return. So
was my left shoulder, the one for which I've been doing rotator
Just one piece of bad news after another! Dr. Mapes noted them
as "calf and shoulder strain." Can't wait to see what
I look like when all the bruises appear . . .
It took a while longer to get someone to being me an NSAID and something to eat.
I even suggested they put pain meds and calories in the IV tube
that was sending the saline solution into me, but that didn't
No one gave me any food choices. I
was surprised at the poor nutritional quality of the meal
they brought me: a
tasty but fat-laden croissant filled with turkey breast, a bag
of SunChips, a gooey
chocolate brownie, and a cup of chilled canned fruit. Only the fruit
appealed to me that night. I forced down half the sandwich (next photo) and encouraged
Jim to eat everything else. He was hungrier than I was.
The 400 mg of Motrin didn't begin to touch the pain I was
feeling by the time I got it about 10 PM, so about an hour later I asked
for one of the four generic Percocet (Oxycodone + acetaminophen) tablets the doctor was sending home
with me. I am very sensitive to any narcotic-type drugs, even
synthetic ones, and didn't want to take the doggone thing but I
must say, it alleviated all or most of my pain.
In fact, I was back in my happy daze all the way home!
Unfortunately, I regretted
taking the generic Percocet about six hours later when I woke up to nausea
(didn't barf), the sensation of blinding lights, dizziness to the point of being unable to walk
fifteen feet to the bathroom, and blacking out temporarily. I
was sweating profusely, then very chilled. Lying down was
painful, so I slept fitfully for another hour on the couch in a
slouched position that was tolerable to my cracked ribs.
was the last I took any of the narcotic pills. Of course, all those symptoms
could have been from the concussion, but further investigation
points to the Perc as the culprit since I've had problems with
such drugs previously. Ibuprofen is my painkiller of choice for
osteoarthritis and running aches and pains, and it's done a good
job of reducing my level of pain the last two days. I don't need
opiates for this accident, although I realize I probably will
when I get my knees replaced someday.
I was hoping my injuries weren't so serious that I would have to
spend the night (or longer) in the hospital, especially since we
are staying so far from it. Jim would have had to return to
Silverton to take care of Cody, then drive all the way back down
to Durango the next day. Fortunately, I got to go home after
about four hours of testing, treatment, and observation. Whew!
When I was released from the ER about 11:15 PM, I was given some
verbal (no written) wound care instructions, written results
of the two CT scans and blood work, two types of antibiotic
creams (one for my eye and and one for my wounds), three more
generic Percocet tablets for
pain, and a prescription if I need more. The nurse and doctor
answered all the questions we had throughout our stay in the ER and advised me to
have the stitches removed in five days. Since we plan to be in
Silverton until Sunday or Monday, we'll go back down to Durango
on Friday afternoon when Dr. Mapes is working. Follow-up is
already factored into my bill and there are no medical
facilities or doctors in Silverton.
We stopped at the Durango WalMart near the hospital on the way home so
we could get more bandages, tape, and triple antibiotic cream.
Jim also has some supplies in his EMS bag. There is no pharmacy or WalMart
in Silverton, so if I need anything else before Friday, I'm
either SOL or we have to drive to Ouray (25 miles) to the
On the way back to Silverton through the mountains Jim drove
under the speed limit and deftly dodged at least fifteen deer
that were browsing right next to Hwy. 550. Most stayed put but a
few just had to cross the road in front of us. After hearing a
thump, Jim thinks he clipped the rear foot of one, although he
couldn't see it limping. We were prepared for the deer after a
friend of ours said he'd spotted about the same number late one
night as he was driving back to Silverton.
I was relieved that my brain-eye coordination was good enough to
spot a few of the deer before Jim did, even after falling on my
head seven hours earlier!
My official diagnosis includes brain concussion, one or more rib
fractures, facial lacerations, multiple abrasions on my face,
arms, and legs, plus shoulder and calf strain.
I'm experiencing a lot of firsts. This is my first
concussion , amnesia, rib fracture, significant facial injuries,
and so many deep abrasions and lacerations at once -- and hopefully my last.
As such, it's my turn to ask questions -- lots of questions.
Some were answered in the ER, some by Dr. Mapes when I talked to
him on the phone today, some on the internet, and some from
reading one of Jim's thick emergency medical training books that he
brought with us. I'm sure I'll have lots more questions to ask
the ER staff when I go back in on Friday to have the stitches
Jim and I both think we should have been armed with more verbal
and written instructions when we left, particularly about wound
care, but they may have assumed Jim-the-EMT would have all the
answers. He readily admits he doesn't but he's been a great
caretaker and his knowledge of emergency care has been a source
of comfort to me.
And we soon learned that his methods of wound care worked better
for me than the instructions the nurse gave us.
In the next three entries I'll go into more details about my injuries,
their seeming inconsistencies, things that
I did right and wrong when I went out for my bike ride,
collateral damage to the bike, helmet, glasses, etc., puzzling aspects of the crash, and much more.
I'll even let you see inside my brain! Think about that one.
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
and Cody the Ultra Lab
© 2009 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil