On October 30, 2023 at around 8:30am I was hit by a car while biking home on a quiet road in Napa. My injuries were very serious and I am lucky to be alive. It took me a while to write this up, since the recovery is still ongoing, but I thought I would summarize what happened and share how my recovery is going.
I was on my regular morning ride to the coffee shop in Yountville, and on my way home, while riding South on Solano Avenue (I had just gotten off the bike trail), a Toyota Highlander coming towards me in the other lane, turned left and hit me 'head-on' on my left leg. I tumbled over the car and my bike was crushed under the car. When I looked up from the ground, I saw my left foot dangling... it was extremely painful and I nearly blacked out. Luckily I didn't hit my head. The driver stopped but couldn't call 911 due to bad reception, so a lady who heard the crash and came running out, was able to call 911 and the fire engine arrived pretty quickly, along with the police and an ambulance.
The ambulance took me to the Queen of the Valley Hospital where they took x-rays of both legs and my right arm. My left leg had both the tibia and fibula broken in two places and my foot was just hanging loose. My right knee took a beating and they put in 10 stitches after cleaning it up. They also noticed a fracture on my right wrist and put a temporary cast on it.
After moving me from the ER to a room in the hospital, I had emergency surgery that night (since it was an open fracture) where they made an incision above my kneecap and put a titanium rod through the tibia bones with screws to secure it. It also turned out that I fractured my right knee (a tibial plateau fracture) so that meant both legs were out of service for at least 6 weeks and my right wrist was also fractured...
My bike went under the car, and it was completely crushed. I have since put in a claim with the driver's insurance company and they are paying me enough to replace the bike (phew!). Already starting to do the shopping (see this post).
After a week in the hospital, and a week at the Accute Rehab unit of the Queen of the Valley hospital, I was discharged and was able to go home in a wheelchair. That meant that every time I had to leave the house (not often...) I had to get some help up and down the stairs, which was always a bit scary!
In the house, I started out mostly in bed with short periods in the wheelchair. Maureen was an incredible help throughout this, but especially during this period, she had to pretty much take care of me like a nurse. I couldn't get the wheelchair close enough to the toilet (the door to the toilet was just too narrow) which meant that we had to have a commode in our bathroom, and Maureen had to clean it every day. Yikes.
After about 6 weeks (mid-December) we got a walker with an arm rest for my right arm (since I couldn't use my right wrist yet) and that meant I could finally make it to the bathroom and we were able to get rid of the commode.
Maureen is still doing pretty much all the cooking and chores so she deserves huge kudos (and she will get a very nice trip after this is all over). Thanks Maureen!
Dec 7, 2023
Met with my surgeon and they took some new x-rays.
- The top break of my left tibia showed some healing (slight cloudiness next around the break) but the lower break did not show signs of healing yet. That meant that I had to have another 4 weeks of no weight on the left leg.
- They took off the cast on my right arm!
- The right leg with the tibial plateau fracture seemed to have healed ok, and I was cleared to put weight on it (as tolerated).
Jan 22, 2024
It has been nearly 3 months since the accident and here is where I am at:
- My right wrist is out of the cast but still quite sore. I am going to hand therapy sessions weekly and that helps a lot.
- My right knee is mostly healed and I can put weight on it, although the kneecap is still a bit loose.
- My left leg still has a long way to go, but I can put a little bit of weight on it. One of the screws are coming out and I will have to go in for surgery in a few weeks to have it removed.
- I am able to leave the house by using my but to go down and up the stairs and then using a walker to and from the car.
Feb 1, 2024
Had another doctor's appointment and it went pretty well.
- There are good signs of the bone healing at the top break.
- Some cloudiness around the bottom break indicating that it is starting to heal. This break will take longer to heal due to the location.The bone down there is harder and less spongy.
- He said I can start putting full weight on the leg and also start physical therapy (twice a week) yay!!!
- Also, we have a date for the small surgery to remove the screw that is loose 🤣 - Feb 15.
- And they are going to check with my insurance whether they will pay for a bone growth stimulator to help speed up the healing. All in all great news. Oh yes. to celebrate I bought a cane...
Feb 15, 2024
Surgery went well! Went in at 6am and was back home at 9am. They took out the loose screw. Looking forward to starting physical therapy on the 21st.
Feb 24, 2024
I had my first 2 PT sessions and really enjoying it. They are challenging me with some helpful strength exercises and I can feel the weak areas. Looking forward to getting stronger every week! On an unrelated note, my new bike frame arrived this week!