Three days, three bones

Dude, we are having some crazy times around here. These two orthopedic tales require some backstory, but they come together nicely (if tragically).

Knees and ankles

The Wife, before knee surgery, before she became The Wife.

Some of you might remember that last fall The Wife had back-to-back ACL reconstructions. That was zero fun — featuring infection, drug interaction psychosis, severe dehydration, lack of sleep, inability to drive and general misery.

But we pulled together and got it done. Her left knee is still weak and sore, but she’s been walking, driving, riding the trainer, finally getting back to living.

Wednesday afternoon: She steps out of the car onto ice and eats it. Legs sprawled everywhere, a shriek of terror. Extreme pain.


Her right leg has two breaks: a chip off the back of her tibia from her foot hyperextending, plus a radial fracture of her fibula.

The only happy moment came when Dr. Koch asked her what color cast she wants.

“Hot pink!”

She’ll be rocking that action for four to six weeks. And let’s not forget that bum left knee.

This morning I drove The Boy to school, then went to The Fix for a little DJ session. It was my first day jumping the GT cruiser, it was below 20 degrees F, I was tired, and I wasn’t paying proper attention.

On a jump I’ve buttered a thousand times, I came up very short. The bike stopped, I kept going, you know the rest. When my hands met the ground I felt/heard a pop in my upper back. Tumbling violence. Extreme pain.

Now some backstory:

My left shoulder had labral repair surgery in 2002. That wing is still weaker, sorer and more limited than I’d like, but it works. Dr. Koch says he’ll eventually have to go back in there.

I broke my right clavicle in 2003. The bone was very displaced, but the doctor told me not to get surgery; to just let it heal. OK. I was hyper diligent with my rehab, and, although my right shoulder hangs a lot lower than it used to, the doctor said it’s all good — the bone is misaligned but strong.

For the past 4+ years I’ve been very consistent with range of motion and strength exercises. The left shoulder has lagged, but my right shoulder has been solid. Sure, it feels like the deltoid tendons aren’t running right, and the shoulder gets really sore after DH and moto, but it’s been working fine.

So this morning I’m gasping for breath in the trough of a rhythm line. A fire is spreading from the back of my right shoulder to the rest of my right side. Muscles are clenching. I’m imagining broken ribs.

I make it home. The Wife throws on some clothes that clash with her cast, and we drive to the urgent care center. I worked the pedals, and she turned the wheel. Dude — the pain! But dude — the teamwork!


First the good news: I didn’t break anything today. Other than a spasm in my trapezius and general soft-tissue anger, I’m fine. Three cheers for Percoset and Valium!

But the E.R. doc had the funniest look on her face. “Come look at your X-ray.”

It turns out the two pieces of my clavicle never fused. Today’s doctor said the bone segments were too far apart. Everything healed nice and smoothly — but separately.

You could clearly see a big space between the ends of my clavicle. We all shook our heads. I asked, “So what was holding it all together?”


Sheesh. Thank goodness for pump tracks, divebomber pushups and upright-rows-to-presses.

This was information I did not want, but I suppose it’s important. In 10 days The Wife and I will see Dr. Koch together. So romantic.

Lee Likes Visuals

Right after the break. October 2003.

Today, more than four years later, with my arm rotated inward.

Today, with my arm rotated outward. Look how far the bone moves, just standing there. No wonder that shoulder hurts after a hard ride. And pullups have been so hard …

This whole thing is so ridiculous it’s funny. Who knows what’s next?

In the meantime: I work the pedals. She turns the wheel.

24 replies

Comments are closed.