This has been a great summer in Christchurch. We had warm sunny weather for much of it. My son James came out and we had quite a bit of fun kayaking, climbing and just hanging out. We hadn't seen James since our trip back to California in June of 2014. In the meantime, I'd been working like crazy so that we'd have some money during the 3-weeks that James would be here.
Living in Christchurch, we are near some great mountain biking tracks. Some of the trails are wide easy tracks, while many are a bit too hard for Val and I and some are just plain scary. They even have trails where the hikers have to yield right of way to the bikes. A company just got approval for a lift served mountain bike park here similar to one in Queenstown. When the new park comes in, we'd be able to ride to it from our home quite easily.
Val and I have been exploring the various local trails after work and on weekends. We even joined a local private park that this guy has put onto his own land. The Haven mountain bike park is mostly the work of one guy and some folks who volunteer their time to bike at a different place. We've only been there once, but had some fun. I even tried out some of the trials stuff like a raised track. It's a lot easier if you relax and focus about 2 metres ahead of where you want to be going.
So after James left back to the States, Val and I decided it would be fun to go see one of the downhill mountain bike races that they have regularly here. We'd already missed the Lyttelton Urban downhill races so we thought it'd be a good idea to ride and watch some of it. We chose a fairly easy track up that's near our place called Rapaki. No problem, that track is wide and not as steep as lots of other tracks nearby. At the top, I waited for Val and then we continued on a fairly flat bit.
At this point, I noticed that I wasn't riding all that well. I was blaming it on my bike, but I'd just ridden up the hill with no issues. Anyway, I hurried to catch up with Val as I'd been dilly dallying while she took off. However, at one point on the ride, now singletrack, I stalled out and then stood up, thinking I could unclip out of my pedals. Unfortunately, I didn't unclip and toppled sideways. Usually, this isn't a problem as there are lots of tussock grasses to absorb the fall. This time though, I was on a slope with some exposed rocks so when I went down, it was a few metres before I impacted some volcanic rock (ignimbrite to you geo nerds out there) directly on my right shoulder.
Ouch! That hurt. I tumbled down the slope a few times before coming to a painful halt. My bike tumbled a bit more, the pedals unclipping after the second impact. Another rider behind me came up and checked to make sure that nothing was broken too badly. I could move my fingers and toes. I could breathe, but I was pretty sore. I got up and walked my bike down the trail to the road.
After a short time, the rider caught up to Val and told her that I'd taken a fall. No biggie, I often fall when riding the tracks here. How else to push your skills, eh? This time, I was in a really bad mood and just wanted to go home so I started off, not bothering to see if Val was behind me or not. The more I rode, the worse my shoulder started to hurt until I just started keeping my right arm in my lap while pedaling.
At home, I tried to fill a bag with ice and failed, spilling ice over the floor. Val had caught up to me and she filled it and I spent the next hour or so on the couch, icing the shoulder and waiting for the ibuprofen/naproxen to kick in. When it was time to take a shower, I found I couldn't lift my arm very high without a lot of pain, but I could still move it in other directions. Across my body was right out though. Val had to pull the shirt off and when she did, her face got really concerned and she said we had to go to the hospital. She thought I'd dislocated my shoulder. It looked like this:
You may not be able to tell, but my clavicle (collar bone) is not connected to the top of my shoulder (acromial) anymore and is making a bit of a bump.
Off we went to the local medical centre where we saw a doc who had some x-rays taken and then gave me a shot of Valium to relax me while they weighted my arm. However, since it wasn't a dislocation, traction wasn't going to pull my humerus (arm bone) back into the shoulder socket. After a little while, the doc figured this out and they sent me to the hospital. It's great, the orthopedic area is called the Bone Clinic. All they could do though was to give me a sling and an appointment to see the surgeon.
When I saw the surgeon, he had a couple of interns with him and he showed them what had happened. Turns out that I have a Grade 3 separation at the top where my AC joint has been sprained pretty badly. However, my scapula took most of the impact and has been pushed down and forward, resulting in a Grade 5 injury. He suggested keyhole surgery. It's scheduled for 17 February so I can start rehabbing as soon as I heal a bit.
One of the great things about living in New Zealand is that all accidental injuries are covered. In addition, since I can't do the physical part of my job anymore, I'll be on disability for at least a month. I'll let y'all know how the surgery goes.