Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Story of a Trail Runner

Let me get everyone up to speed...

I ran, I fell, I dislocated my shoulder, it hurt like a son of a....  There, that about sums it up.

I was going to write a big ol' long story that no one really wants to read so I am going to try to condense the story a bit (after typing my post...it's not condensed. Sorry).  Went running on an unfamiliar-to-me trail with a run friend after my 2nd free personal training session last Wednesday.  I wore new trail shoes on a new trail, because that sounds like a good plan!  Long story short, I tripped on our way back, completely wiped out (which I'm sure would have been hilarious had I been ok) and landed mostly on my front right side, putting most of the impact on my shoulder and hitting my cheek.  After eventually sitting up, I realized that I was not in fact ok and told my friend that I thought I dislocated my shoulder.  I then proceeded to ask him if he could just "pop it back in place."  I mean, they do it in movies all the time!  And I knew that when it was back in place, it would feel 100 times better. 

He tried very briefly to pop it back in but didn't want to hurt me so stopped.  He told me I would have to go to the hospital, which I just couldn't believe!  I've never been to the ER for myself (I've always driven other people there, ie. my dad). Vance and I had to walk at least 1/2 mile back to the car, which seemed like forever!  I think I apologized about 27 times for ruining his evening.  He kept telling me to stop apologizing because nothing was my fault and he was sorry I hurt myself.  I also noticed that my cheeks were wet from tears that I didn't know I had shed (probably from the pain).  I then told him I probably looked a real mess and he told me I looked fine (liar!!). Vance drove me to the hospital (and carried my purse, thanks for that) and helped me get checked in.  On my way there, I called my dad.  He asked if I was driving there and I said no.  He asked if I was running there...um...yeah dad.  He asked where I was and when I told him I was in Joliet he said, "Wow! That's far!"  I apologized for hurting myself so far away from home!

Got to the ER and the woman checking me in asked what happened.  When I told her, she said, "Oh that's why you are all dirty" and I then apologized to her for being dirty (let's just say Vance thought that slightly amusing since I kept apologizing for everything).

They put me on a priority list, took x-rays and got me a room.  While one of the techs was taking me to my room, I told him that I was sorry (again apologizing) if I was being a baby but I never get hurt and I was trying really hard to not complain (I actually don't think I was complaining at all so I don't know where this came from and neither did the tech who told me I was doing great.)  That's when my priority ended as the doctor obviously didn't find me very urgent.  A nurse came in and cleaned off my face, arm and hand since I was all dirty from the fall. She left and after 2 hours from falling, I still had not seen the doctor.  The x-ray techs had told me they thought I may have broken something.  I was in good spirits in the beginning, joking with all the nurses and techs but after 2 hours of being in excruciating pain, it was getting to me mentally.  The nurse came back in and asked if the doctor had been in.  Tears welled in my eyes and I said no.  She asked if I needed pain meds and I started to cry (even though I was trying really hard not to) and said that would be great. She urgently said she would try to get in touch with the doctor so I could get something for the pain.

Still before my pain meds...around the time I was going to lose it.

The doctor finally came in right before I was to get my meds.  He said that I would have to wait until 1 am before I was able to get my shoulder relocated since I had a sip of water at 9 pm (and I had to wait 4 hours before they could give me the meds to relocate it).  I was in shock! I told him it was “only a tiny sip of water”.  He said maybe they could do it at midnight (it was about 10:30… now 3 hours after it happened).  He left and then came back in two minutes later and said he was going to try something in hopes that I wouldn’t have to wait that long.  He tried to put it back in place without any meds (which wasn’t bad actually)…I was willing for him to do anything to me if it meant I could get out of there sooner.  He tried for about 5 minutes but couldn’t get it in (that's what she said...sorry couldn't help it).  I thanked him for trying anyway.  I finally got the pain meds but honestly, I’m not sure they really did much of anything.  My dad also got there around the same time.  I felt a little better with my dad there because it at least gave me something else to focus on.

And for the sake of dragging this on even more...at about 12:30 a.m., they started prepping me to knock me out and put me in the twilight state.  They rattled off all kinds of meds they were going to give me.  I didn't really pay much attention but when they left, my dad told me, "Some of those are the same drugs that killed Michael Jackson."  Thanks Dad...

I was absolutely thrilled when they were about to relocate my shoulder...as shown in the below photo my dad took....where did that smile come from (and no, I did not get that cocktail of drugs yet)??
Around 12:30 am...So happy to almost be done!
Seriously!  I had an IV, oxygen, etc...all for a dislocated shoulder??  I had no idea it would be so involved!

I was not so thrilled when the scene played out like this...A woman named Kathy came in to be the "muscle" and the doctor had her tie a sheet around my waist and her waist so she can pull me in that direction (opposite of the hurt arm).  The doctor then proceeded to tie a sheet around his waist and my right (hurt) arm...apparently to pull me in the other direction from the muscle lady.  I mean, it appeared as though they were going to want to rip my body in two!!  I started getting really nervous!

The nurse administered my cocktail of drugs and things got really dizzy.  The doctor asked where my favorite place to vacation was and I told him the beach.  He told me to think of being on the beach and....it was over.  I heard them talking about a sling and looked down and there was a sling around my arm.  I never thought I went out at all!  I thought I was still looking at the same thing as before!  That's the great thing about that twilight state...you don't remember.  You are awake but out of it and you forget everything!  It was so strange!  I asked my dad if they had done it already and he said yes.  I looked and didn't see the muscle woman Kathy and asked my dad if she left and he said yes.  I was done and as I came to, my shoulder felt 100 times better!  I was so relieved!!   I could shift in the hospital bed and not wince in pain!  The techs came in for another round of x-rays to make sure that there really were no broken bones.  Finally about 2:30 a.m., my dad and I got to leave.  My mom met us at my house and she had to help me take off my workout shirt and sports bra since I couldn't do it myself.  I couldn't sleep in my bed because the position was hard on my shoulder and slept on the couch waking every 45 minutes or so.  I also had to sleep with a pillow on my chest and my arm on the pillow.  It was the most tolerable way to position myself.


I took Thursday off of work since I got very little sleep and was in a lot of pain.  I also had to have my dad drive me back to Joliet to pick up my car which got left the night before. I went into work on Friday (which when my boss found out I was coming in...called me an animal, lol).  I knew I only had a half day for summer hours and that was really all I could take as I was in more pain than on Thursday.

Saturday, I had an appointment with an orthopedic doctor (I had seen him last December for my knee).  I go to him because he used to be a runner.  He had medical students with him that day and was quizzing them about my "condition".  It was kind of funny actually.  End result was the doctor advised me that I should stay in the sling about 7-10 days.  I asked him when he would think it would be ok to start running again and he said I could run whenever I wanted.  He said that he would recommend buying a bandage to tie around my arm and chest to keep my arm immobilized if I decided to run this week.  I then asked him about my half marathon on July 22nd.  I told him I was prepared to not run it if that's what he thought.  He told me the "dr. answer" was to not run.  But as a runner himself, he said he would do it.  He said it was up to me depending on how I felt and to take it easy.  Since this half is incredibly important to me for a couple reasons, even if I didn't run it, I would still go down there.

I then told him I had a triathlon on August 5th and I was figuring that was a no-go.  He said he didn't think it was a good idea because of the swimming (which I agreed).  He doesn't want me to be swimming and have my shoulder pop out in the middle of it.  He said if I wanted to do it, I would need a ton of rehab.  I have now pretty much crossed that off my to-do list and will have to plan another one next year.  I shall not be a triathlete this year but that's the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.

I'm off my pain meds and am only taking some Ibuprofen (usually in the mornings).  The nights are tough because my shoulder tends to hurt when I try to lay down (although I'm back to sleeping in a bed).  I also still wake up a million times during the night because trying to adjust while sleeping is usually painful.  Which means I'm really tired during the day.  It's getting better though so that's good.  It's hardest to do the normal every day things: dressing myself, eating, doing my hair, etc.  My sling arm is my right arm and I'm right handed and I think that's why it's so hard.  It's hard to type and write at work (and I have a desk job). 

I really can't complain at all though.  I was SO HAPPY that nothing was broken.  The doctor had come in after relocating my shoulder and gave me a thumbs up and said good news!  That really made me smile.  I'll need rehab after I get out of the sling.  I hurt this shoulder about 10-15 years ago and it was already not right from that...so I'm guessing it will still not be right.  But many people deal with much worse than this.  I can still resume my running.  I don't need surgery (as of yet and hopefully never will).  A lot of people showed a lot of concern and I really appreciated it all.  

And now I can finally say I've been to the ER for myself!  (Not sure why I would want to but ...).  The one thing my friend told me after I fell was that I really wiped out good! I told him, if I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it right!! 

Sporting my sling


  1. I'm glad it wasn't worse! Good luck with your pain management, and email me if you have any questions related to running with a sling - my husband actually has experience with this, so I'm happy to provide some suggestions/put you in touch if you have more time than the 7 days in the sling.

  2. Ouch! So happy you didn't break anything either. And that they put you in the twilight zone (lol) to put in back in place. That sounds so painful.

    I have done the apologizing thing when I am hurt before. I think we just feel bad for inconveniencing people, when really, they want to help us! :)