Friday, April 14, 2006

God Forgives, Rocks Don’t

This post is huge...sorry! (Scroll down to see pictures at the bottom.)

Chris saw this phrase on a bumper sticker recently and it made him laugh. Unfortunately, Tuesday night, Chris learned the hard way about how unforgiving rocks can be! He came home from work, and decided he wanted to go for a mountain bike ride. He got his gear ready, kissed be goodbye, and then headed off to go try out a new mountain bike trail in town called Red Rock Canyon Trail. About an hour later, he called me and told me that he had fallen, that he needed me to come get him, and that he thought is wrist was broken. He was pretty out of it and couldn’t really tell me where he was. I just knew he was in the Manitou Springs area. He was out in the middle of the woods, and was hurt badly. He was able to walk still, so I told him that he had to keep walking to try to get to a place where I could find him. We hung up, I jumped in the car, and drove in the direction of Manitou. I was just going to drive around until I found him…there are so many trails around there. On the way, I called my parents to ask them to meet us at the hospital. I was just panicking driving around down there…I couldn’t find him. I tried his cell phone again. By this point, Chris had run into a hiker on the trail. The hiker helped get him out to the road, and was able to give me some good directions. I floored it and got on over to him. He looked horrible. He was bleeding all over. He had his broken wrist tucked into his bike jersey to keep it stable. I told him to get in the car, threw the bike on the back of my car on the bike rack, and drove like a maniac to the hospital. At first, I tried to drive safely, but Chris just looked at me, and said “Sweetie…I think I’m your get out of jail free card today…just drive” so we went about 60 and ran every red light. We got to the emergency room, they checked him out, and then we started waiting. He started going into shock, so (and by this point my parents had arrived) we did our best to keep him warm and still until it was time or him to go back for the x-rays. The x-rays revealed that he had definitely broken his right hand wrist in a really bad way (that much was obvious just from looking at it), and that he had also broken his thumb on his left hand in a bad spot, just by the joint at the base of his hand on his palm. Both would need to be operated on to be fixed. He got stitches in his chin as well. They called in a orthopedic surgeon to take a look. He decided that the best way to go would be to have a hand surgeon do it because of the nature of the fractures. He wouldn’t be available until the next day, so they splinted his broken limbs up as best as they could. The whole thing took forever. While he was laying there in the ER waiting for all of this to be done, he had his hands propped up on his chest. He said “Hey Sarah, can you come look at my side? I feel like I have a little something there.” I carefully moves his arms over, and peeled back his shirt, and it revealed that he had MEGA road rash from the middle of his side, all the way down to his knee. I grabbed our RN, who immediately helped me get him stripped down so we could see what else we may have missed, and then they got that cleaned up. Fortunately that was the last big thing we found. He has cuts and scrapes all over his body, but the worst of them have been bandaged up. They had to put a topical anesthetic on the road rash to numb it up, and then they had to get a plastic brush thing and brush all of the gravel and rocks and things out of his scraped up side. Fortunately, the topical anesthetic worked so well, he didn’t feel a thing. Eventually, he was admitted to the hospital, and we were there for the rest of the night (or what was left of it anyways by that point) and a good part of the next day. His hands swelled up like you wouldn’t believe, which made his splint that they put on him the night before REALLY tight and uncomfortable. We reached a point where we had to pitch a fit to get some orthopedic trauma nurses from another floor in the hospital to come down, check him out and give the “ok” for them to loosen his bandages a little to give him some relief. They kept him doped up on pain medication that mostly just made him sleep the whole time, which was probably best. Eventually we were able to get a time from the hand specialist for when the surgery would be done (Wednesday night), so then they were able to move us to the orthopedic floor of the hospital. That was really great because the nurses on that floor were much more knowledgeable about how to take care of him and keep him comfortable. Finally it was time for the surgery. Chris did really great. The doctor was really pleased with how everything went back together. His broken thumb was kind of a mystery. I don’t think the x-rays were able to tell him as much as he would have liked. Once he got in there and was able to see what was going on, I think it went back together again easier than he expected. He expects that hand to recover nicely. His right wrist will take some more time. They had to put a plate and some screws in there. And now after it is all over, that is definitely the most delicate of his 2 hands. He has splints on his hands now. He will get full on casts in a week. Since swelling was such a problem before the surgery, I think the doctor wanted to see how everything healed first before doing the casts. He has to be home for a week at least. The doctor will let him know if he needs to stay home longer after he sees him in a week. The pain medications he prescribed seem to be working well so far which is great. Chris got home from the hospital yesterday. His mom flew in to help since Chris can’t use his hands at all. I am so glad she is here! It is definitely a 2 person job at times taking care of him. Once he gets his casts he should have some more independence, but for the time being, he needs to lay down and just be still. I will keep you posted as we move through this. Please keep Chris in your prayers as he heals. This has been major…working though all of this. The worst is behind us, and now he just needs to rest and get better. He can’t ride his bike for 3 months, which means the Tour of Colorado is off limits. He is REALLY bummed about that. I told him that we will just have to be creative about how to keep him in shape. Find things where he doesn’t have to use his hands. Like do a lot of hiking this summer maybe.

For the more bike savvy: I forgot to say exactly how he fell of his bike. He was going downhill, and it was kind of rocky. His front tire caught on something, and he went over the handlebars. He landed primarily on his right hand which was what broke his wrist. He also landed on his left hand. Most of his wounds are on his right side. He said that the trail was really smooth and flat, so he was going faster than he should have. He had never done this trail before, so he didn’t know to anticipate that downhill part.


Anonymous wendy said...

HEY Chris and Sarah, good to read the update on the blog, handy tool, huh? So sorry to hear about Chris' hands - but keeping you in our thoughts and know you will be fine. TWO hands at once, way to go Chris. Looks happy in the photo, good meds! Thinking of you and all the best. Wen and Jim

3:32 PM  
Blogger joanandaaron said...

Look Ma no hands! Chris, you didn't have to take the expression literally!

Aaron and I were both distressed to here about the aciident, what a frightening time. Glad you have good drugs to get you through!

No Tour de France for you this summer! We were really pulling for you too since Lance was no longer a threat! You had a good chance!

9:48 AM  

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