Four years ago, during Yak Attack 2013 in Nepal, I dislocated my shoulder in spectacular fashion.
A mere 5km out, on Stage Six from Chame to Manang, I was hammering down one of the few descents and took the inside line on a fast bend, as I exited the corner three trekkers were walking side by side and I had to sweep wide to avoid them. Unfortunately a large, and unavoidable, branch lay in my path, the rest is a blur. I clattered through the branch, hit the vertical wall on the right-hand side and then hit the deck. I was pretty messed up with cuts & abrasions, and my right arm was sat neatly in my armpit.
To cut a long story short I had to abandon racing and eventually relocate my dislocated limb back into its socket by my own devises. It was as painful as you are now imaging it to be.
Since then I have been putting up with the side effects – mostly due to travel and racing plans. Late last year I decided that it was time to get it sorted out and went through the process of getting it scanned and evaluated for surgery.
On Thursday, of this week, I arrived at Derby Royal Hospital promptly for my 11.30am admission and was informed that I was first on the list for the afternoon procedures, beginning at 13.30pm. Brilliant, no sitting around for hours on end.
The anaesthetist explained how he would target specific areas of my arm and shoulder with blockers and local anaesthetic. It’s amazing how precise they can be by targeting certain nerves etc.
I was able see exactly how he did this on the ultrasound screen in front of me. A little way in to the process I started to get cold and clammy, similar to the symptoms of shock, as my heart rate dropped rapidly. Apparently this can be quite a common reaction in patients who are fit. The nurse administered a dose of glucosamine and my heart rate quickly recovered to normal.
If all went well I would be conscious throughout the operation and would be able to view the whole thing on a monitor; I wasn’t, however, entirely sure that I wanted to see the surgeon suturing my muscle tissue back on to the bone 😀
A camera was inserted from the back of my shoulder and the surgeon would be going in from the front.
I felt the first incision being made, and then the second one too; I had a gut feeling that I probably shouldn’t be able to feel anything so I mentioned it to the anaesthetist. The next thing I knew I was being wheeled into the recovery area. He later explained that the surgeon had gone in slightly lower than expected so he put me under immediate sedation. I was quite pleased that he had done really.
The drugs were great, I had a right buzz on as I came back round to consciousness.
And that was that, 45 minutes of surgery and 3-6 months of recovery. I’ve got be very careful for the next four weeks whilst my arm is supported in a sling and then I start with some physiotherapy. In six weeks time I should be able to do some road cycling. I can begin to think about some gentle mountainbiking after three months, and climbing, possibly, after six months.
I don’t ever recall behaving myself for four weeks, for someone of my disposition that’s a lifetime, but I will.
In the meantime I have a turbo-trainer set up so that I don’t get too lazy or too fat.
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