A coworker and I were riding home by bicycle from my part-time job Sunday evening when I hit a curb and flipped off of the bike. When I got up, I had searing pain behind my left shoulder, and I was scraped up a bit. Since the crash occurred only a few blocks from home, I told my coworker that I’d be okay and to go ahead. I was able to walk home with my bike, my backpack still on my back.
I don’t remember the walk home. But after getting home, I had this realization that I had crashed and that I was home. My mind was racing from the adrenaline, and the pain in my shoulder suddenly got worse. I then called Kristen, who was out of town at the time, and she told me to call my buddy Josh. So Josh came and took me to the hospital.
We waited a while before they led us to an exam room. Then an emergency room (ER) doctor came in, introduced herself, and evaluated my condition. She checked my squeeze strength, then pulled on my hands and arms – that’s when I screamed in pain. She knew that I had done damage in the back of my shoulder. She ordered x-rays and offered to give me something strong for the pain.
After waiting, x-rays were taken of my shoulder. Because of the pain, I couldn’t turn my arm outwards. And due to the strong pain medication, I was having a hard time staying awake. But we completed the x-rays. After waiting for the film to develop, the doctor came back and told me that I had a fractured scapula, or shoulder blade.
According to the ER doctor, this break is rare. She had only seen two other cases, and both involved motor vehicle crashes. To see it from a bike crash, she said I must’ve landed on it just right. She then explained that there was nothing more that they could do for me at the hospital, so she prescribed some strong pain meds, gave me some literature on the topic, and told me to call an orthopedic physician at my clinic the following morning.
Kristen took me to see the orthopedic specialist on Monday. I handed my x-rays and explained the story to her. She reviewed the x-rays with her colleagues, then returned and showed us the fractures in my left shoulder blade. She told me to continue using the meds, to ice the shoulder at least three times a day (and switch to heat after three or four days), and to do one exercise to prevent frozen shoulder syndrome.
Three days since, I am still in some pain. I am following the doctors’ orders, but it will be at least three or four weeks before the bone is mostly healed. After that, I imagine that there will be physical therapy. For the next few weeks, I am taking it one day at a time – and starting to count down the days before I’m back on the bike.