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Bike wreck puts me in the emergency room (with pictures).

Monday, January 25, 2010 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


Lisa and I hit the bike trails yesterday, and unfortunately I took a rather nasty fall that put me in the emergency room. Thankfully it looks like I’m going to be just fine. So here’s the entire story…

After some really good runs, we decided to do just one more before heading back to the car. I told Lisa to go ahead, and I gave her about a 5-minute head start. About a quarter-mile into the trail there is a narrow ~2-foot high wooden ramp lying over a large fallen tree. Because the trail twists and turns, the downside of the ramp is at a different angle than the ascending portion of the ramp; negotiating this requires a precise change in direction at the very top of the ramp. This is a relatively new obstacle, and yesterday was the first time I’d attempted it. Earlier in the day I successfully ran the ramp twice with no problems, so I felt confident as I approached. I hit the ramp at fairly high rate of speed, and as I crested the ramp I attempted to adjust my direction for the decent. Unfortunately my tires were a bit muddy, and my front tire slipped off at the very top of the ramp. The height of the ramp + the height of the bike + my height was about six feet in total, and I face planted from that height straight into the earth. I landed square on my jaw. Unfortunately my upper teeth happened to be resting on my lower lip when I hit the ground, and I nearly severed part of my lower lip. 🙁

I took some pictures of my face while I was sitting in the emergency room, but I didn’t want to post the pictures here just in case any of you are reading this while eating. If you want to see the pictures, I put them here.

After I hit the ground I was obviously in a considerable amount pain, but I didn’t realize that my lip had almost been severed. I didn’t lose consciousness, but I was seriously dazed. I was spitting blood, and I also spit what I thought was a pebble but later realized was a small chip from one of my teeth. My mouth was so numb that I couldn’t even tell if I’d lost any of my teeth by feeling around in my mouth, so I looked around to see if there were any lying in the dirt. Also, the rubber spout on my CamelBak water backpack had come off, and I was so dazed that it took me almost a full minute to realize I was soaked in ice water.

I was on a one-way trail, and even though I was only a quarter mile in, I didn’t want to risk going back the wrong way. So I rode the rest of the trail, lip flapping in the wind. When I emerged from the woods Lisa turned white as a ghost. The first thing I said was “Do I have all my teeth?” She couldn’t even look at me (she’s not real good with blood). I said, “I think I just split my lip open, I’ll be OK…” Lisa was like, “Um, your lip is hanging off your face, we have to get to the emergency room NOW!”

Unfortunately it was another 2 mile bike ride back to the car. All along the ride back to the car Lisa kept stealing glances at me, wincing and then quickly turning away while gagging. I said, “That’s not really helping, honey!” When we got back to the car I looked in the rear view mirror and was finally able to see the extent of the injury. I agreed that we needed to hit the emergency room.

At the emergency room I learned that there were two problems: obviously my lower lip was badly lacerated, but as it turns out the inside of my lip had somehow become looped around one of my lower teeth, and was all the way down by my gum line. The first thing the doctor did was use forceps to free my inner lip from around my tooth. This worked, but I started bleeding quite a bit as there was now a decent sized hole in my inner lip. The doctor’s assistant went to work trying to set up the suction machine, but she never did figure it out. So meal #2 yesterday was a pint of my own blood.

So they gave me a tetanus shot, and a little numbing medicine before stitching me up. The doctor informed me that, unfortunately, she could not use numbing medicine at the outer edges of the laceration because the swelling would make it almost impossible to realign my lip properly. The pain was pretty raw on a few of those stitches. Not a big fan of needles.

All told it took 18 stitches to put me back together: 12 outside, 6 inside.

I didn’t sleep very well last night; there was some bleeding inside my mouth and I was in some pain (I probably should have got up and popped some pain killers, but I didn’t).

Eating and drinking has been difficult, as you might imagine. Also, I missed three meals yesterday while I was at the emergency room. My weight is down to 197.2 this morning, and I feel a little weak. Additionally, the shock of the fall on my body is being felt this morning. I’ve got some pain in my upper left thigh, my chest is covered in scrapes, and my right wrist and shoulder hurt.

I feel very fortunate right now. I didn’t break anything, and I didn’t lose any teeth. I can’t believe I didn’t break my jaw!

I had my GoPro helmet cam running when this happened, and I’m sure the footage is classic. I was dismayed to see that somehow the footage from that run will not play. I guess the shock of the fall caused the camera to shutdown briefly. The file is there, but after looking at it with a hex editor I can see that the mp4 header was not properly written. I tried copying the header from a good mp4 and also tried about a half-dozen video rescue programs with no luck. I know the footage is there, but I don’t know enough about mp4 video to correct the problem. If anyone out there is successful in helping me rescue this footage (the file is a little over 2GB), I will give you a 1-year Silver account. Email or PM me.

Oh, I will definitely be training today. My lip is hurt, not my legs.

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