The shoulder chronicles: Ignorance was bliss

Three weeks ago, I was feeling healthy and strong. I was training hard and looking forward to a great season of coaching and racing. Then I learned the clavicle I broke four years ago never healed. It turns out my right arm is being held on not by bone and ligament as God intended, but by muscle only. I need surgery. And my thinking has started to change.

Now I know something is wrong. I can feel the end of my collarbone … then the top of my arm … and they’re not always close to each other. Yeah, I can still do pushups and carry heavy things and ride my bike, but now I know what all those funky feelings are — my arm is swimming in my shoulder. The whole thing is unstable, and the wrong crash can do real damage.

Brushing my teeth feels different. Walking feels different. Pulling on handlebars feels very different.

My orthopedist Dr. Koch wants to pin the clavicle and reconstruct the stretched ligaments. Recovery: 12 weeks in a sling and six months to regain basic function.

The thing is, I need my shoulder to make a living. Cameras, bikes and even computers work best with two hands, and my busy season is coming right up. I can delay the surgery until Fall, but can I safely pin a downhill run — or even demonstrate a tricky move — with this knowledge rattling in my head?

Yeah, ignorance was bliss.

Four years after the break. What’s wrong with this picture?

Three days, three bones

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