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miscellaneous

Recovery

The doctor that was so insistent that I have a brace for my dislocated shoulder was now saying that was the least of my problems as soon as I told her that with both my arms bound up, I has no leverage to get up or sit down. She really wanted to get me out of there. Gosh I love managed care. Several years ago I had a bad sled-riding accident and broke my ankle. As a result, I was in the hospital for 3 days. 12 years later, I’m in a motorcycle accident and I’m in the ER for less than 10 hours and off to home.

The second attempt to get out went much better with my left arm free. It still made me go faint everytime my broken collar bone ground, but I was able to get up off the bed and onto the chair. It was then I realized what a mess had been made in the bed..blood was everywhere, mixed with the dirt and grass from ditch. It looked like something straight out of a WWII triage.

The nurse wheeled me out to my mom’s van and I hoisted myself into the front seat. We left the hospital and made our way home. It was about 1:30 AM by the time we arrived home. My dad was there watching the kids and he wheeled me up the driveway. My uncle had gone to get my grandmother’s old wheelchair, which came in quite handy. I stopped by the bathroom and then made my way to the la-z-boy in the family room. I settled in and tried to go to sleep. While it did not come easily, or in long stretches, I was able to get in a couple of hours in total.

The next morning came, and the stiffness that I had expected from my car accident in high school came on strong. Now I had the added fun of having all my muscles ache with the incredible shooting pain of my broken collar bone. But nothing could match the pain of my foot on that first day after. The stitches were doing their job, but I could feel every beat of my heart in my foot. It felt like I had a piece of glass running through the side of my foot.

Fortunately, I did have the aid of some good pain killers, but I had to use them sparingly because I had an important webcast for my job at the end of the week that I had to get ready for and I couldn’t be that loopy. I had my wife bring me my laptop and phone around 10 and sent out an email to the people I had meetings with that week letting them know what had happened. I called my admin and re-worked my schedule for the week to only keep the appointments I needed to get the webcast going. The first day passed as a blur of pills, recliners and a few phone calls.

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miscellaneous

Crashed my Bike – part 2

So after I fixed my own arm, my mom and sister showed up. They were understandably concerned, but overall relieved. They came in along with the doctor/nurse who were going to stitch up my foot. When I had the wreck, the only injury was immediately aware of was my foot. I had broken my ankle (all three bones) a number of yeras ago, and this pain was 10 times as bad. I was sure that my whole leg was mangled beneath the knee. So when they started sticking needles in my foot (which also hurt like hell), I was glad that I still had a foot. They gave me about 10-15 sticks and then started cleaning.

My wife and aunt showed up so sometime around now. I was so incredibly thirsty, that when she asked what she could do for me, I told her to spit in my mouth ;-0.

I knew intellectually that they had to clean the wound (since I had ended up in a dirty puddle), but that didn’t make the act any easier to bear. After what seemed like 20 gallons of saline, it was clean, and the stitching began. When my wife saw my foot, she almost passed out and had to sit down and drink some juice.

The guy who did my foot seemed to be really good at his job and made quick work of the stitches. While he was working, my wife (thank God she showed up) pointed out the large puncture on my left thigh, and asked if that needed stitches too. The look on the nurse’s face said it all, so I prepared for another round of local anesthetic sticks and more stitching.

About this time, the ER staff had to take some X-rays of the guy next to me, so my mom and wife had to leave. They went out to the waiting room and a new doctor prepared to stitch up my leg. He kept getting cell pone calls during the procedure, the contents of which lead me to believe that he was some sort of eye doctor. The fact that he wasn’t a regular suturer, was confirmed when someone else walked by and asked him, “You sewing?”. Great, an eye doctor sewing up my leg.

This guy finished up and my wife and mother came back in. Evidently there was a shift change out front, so the nurse wouldn’t let my wife and mom back in until they were done stitching my leg up (even though they had been there for the whole foot stitching).

I waited around for a while more and they came to cast up my leg and placed a few bandages on other small scrapes and scratches. And then I waited a while longer. Someone came in the ER with a gun shot wound and that ended up being an interestig story to overhear. A little more time passed and the nurse stopped by and explained why I hadn’t been discharged yet – there were riots in the area!

I started to get a pain in my stomach and realized that I hadn’t had anything to eat for over 8 hours and had had alot of medicine. So the nurse kindly provided one of the worst turkey sandwiches I have ever had. After a few bites, I had satisfied my stomach and set the rest aside. Now, something really wierd happened…after being fairly cool for most of the day since my injuries, I suddenly started to get really hot and sweat. They gave me some juice and it subsided after about 10 minutes.

The riots finally subsided (or moved in another direction) and they got me ready to leave. First they put a brace on my left shoulder for my dislocated shoulder. This essesntially tide my left hand to my stomach. Then, they placed a sling on my right arm for my broken collar bone.

A wheel chair was brought in, and I tried to sit-up…bad idea. The grinding of my collar bone almost made me pass out. Between the pure pain and the gross feeling, my lips turned the same color as my teeth (according to my wife).

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miscellaneous

Crashed my bike

Crashed my motorcycle on Memorial day. Ended up with a broken collar bone, dislocated shoulder, a sliced up leg and foot and copious amounts of road rash. Honestly, I’m lucky to be typing at all right now.

I was travelling eastbound on KY 18, a divided 4 lane highway. I was approaching a section where the divided lanes were joined to form a center turn lane. Both center turn lanes were full with traffic. A large truck was in the turn lane in my direction that obscured a view of me from the white truck in the oncoming turn lane (and my view of him). He flashed out in front of me, saw me and then stopped. I was going to dodge in front, then saw how fast he was going, decided to go behind him, then I saw he stopped, so l laid down the bike on the left side. The kick stand went through my shoe and my foot (and left a nice gouge in the pavement). Somewhere along the way, a roadmarker tore a hole in my left thigh.

I hit the vehicle, and then I’m told I took flight for 20-30 yards, skidded on my face for a few yards (thank God for helmets), and then hit dirt on the side of the road and started to roll. I came to rest face down in a pool of mud and water, with my arms crossed in front of my chest.

After a few moments, several people were surrounding me with plenty of advice about staying still. A few moments later, a Boone County police officer showed up and took charge. A few minutes after that, the EMTs showed up. At this point I knew my left foot was messed up and told the EMTs such. They braced my neck and then rolled me over onto the board. It was at this point I realized my collar bone was broken (although at the time, I could’t come up with the word collar bone, so I just told them it was my shoulder). They loaded me in the ambulance and told me that they were taking me to University hospital. I questioned them a little bit because I knew that there were several hospitals that were closer. They told me that University had the best trauma unit, which made me feel a whole lot better!

I’ve been on two ambulance rides in my life, and both of them were awful. I swear they ride over railroad tracks as short cuts. The EMT in the back hooked me up on an IV and called in an order for morphine. Luckily, it came back quickly and I got some relief. It’s odd how these pain killers work on me – it still hurts, but I just don’t care. Somewhere along the ambulance ride, I brcame aware of my third injury – my left shoulder could not support the weight of my arm. Wasn’t sure what was wrong here, but didn’t think it was good.

I arrived at University and was swarmed by about 15 doctors, nurses and technicians. The team almost broke out in song when they saw I was wearing a helmet, which was a little different than what I expected. They immediately cut-off all of my clothes and started checking for internal and spinal injuries. Fortunately nothing they did hurt, so they moved on to taking a series of x-rays, starting with my head and going all the way down to my left foot. Then suddenly everyone was gone.

I think one of the problems with going to a world class trauma center is that unless you have serious trauma, you get low prority. So, while sitting there I did manage to make constructive use of my time. My left shoulder was still really uncomfortable, so I kept moving it around. I flipped it up on my stomach and made it pop loudly…for a split second I thought it was broken too! Then suddenly I realized that it felt a whole lot better! It seems it was just dislocated and by flipping my arm up, I had popped it back in.

More later…getting tired of typing with one hand!

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miscellaneous

Incredible speakers

In the last 10 days I’ve been able to see and listen to an incredible list of speakers: Rudy Giuliani, Jim Collins, Micheal Porter, Bill Clinton, Lou Gerstner, Jac Welch and Oliver North. Most of them I got a chance to see at the World Business Forum in NYC and Oliver North I got to see at our user group in Anaheim. But the one that stands out in my mind the most is Ben Zander, the conducter of the Boston Philharmonc Symphony.

Mr. Zander gave a talk about the power of possibility in making us more creative and he had such an energy behind what he was talking about that I listened to him for over an hour before I even looked at my watch…and this was at the end of the second day!

His main points were these:

1 – It’s all made up anyway, so don’t get too concerned about the rules.
2 – Sometimes you have to get “Beyond the F*(& it”: in other words you have decide you don’t care about the outcome sometimes in order to really succeed.
3 – Rule #6: don’t tkae yourself too seriously.

While any of those points alone are no great revolution, the passion and energy with which they were delivered really made me take them to heart. Guess it shows what a motivated speaker can do.

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miscellaneous

Great time in NYC

Well, we’re having a great time in NYC. It was a little cold yesterday (my wife says no matter when she comes from now on she’s bringing a coat). We went to the Natural History Museum and walked around for hours. The coolest thing (for me anyway) was the pieces of meteorites they have displayed in the back corner of the first floor. These are pieces of rock that traveled billions of miles and are potentially billions of years old, and here they are in front of me. Not sure why, but that gives me an incredible sense of place in the universe.

We went to Union Square Cafe for dinner and it was excellent. Had a special rib steak for two that was out of this world and an incredible bottle of 2001 Origin Meritage. Definately have to find some of that in the local wine shop.

After dinner we went to Fiddler on the Roof, which was probably the best musical I’ve ever seen live. OK, maybe a tie with the Producers, but it was close. There are so many levels that I appreciate the play: as a father with daughters, as someone who has never had to deal with real persecution but when I see people that do am greatful for what I have, and as someone living in rapidly changing times. All in all a great day. Hope today is as much fun.

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miscellaneous

New York, New York

My wife and I are taking a little trip up to NYC tomorrow. I have a conference to attend there on Monday and Tuesday, so I set it up for us to go a little early and see a show and have some dinner.

I love NYC. We went there about a year ago and had a great time, even though it was well below freezing and there was alot of snow on the gound. This time promises to be much warmer.

We have tickets to see Fiddler on the Roof and dinner reservations at Union Square Cafe. We’re going to try to make it to the Natural History Museum and Central Park as well, but not at the expense of a giant piece of Cheesecake (and that is with a capital C) from the Stage Deli.

Maybe I’ll get a chance to add a few posts (and pics!) while I’m there.

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miscellaneous

Spiffing up my blog

Well as you can see via the post below, I am spiffing up my blog with the addition of pictures, thanks to Jeff. The more I play around with my site, the more I find its alot like messing with cars. A tweak here, a tweak there and all of the sudden you have something cool…or you’ve made everything stop working.

Anyway, the site should be a little nicer with pictures. Thanks Jeff.

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miscellaneous

School for my kids

My kids are getting to the age where we need to do some serious homework on where to send them to school. We live in one of the worst states for public education, so we knew even before we had kids that we’d have to be sending them to a private school.

Most of the private schools around here are catholic, which we are not, but that’s not a problem since I went to all catholic schools and turned out just fine. (no, really). So that brings us to option 1: my grade school alma mater. It’s a really good school, reasonably priced and it feels “like home” to me since I spent 7 years there. However,

Now on to option 2 (through n). My daughter is currently in a Montessori pre-school and will be in Kindergarten there next year. I really like the Montessori method. It has made a tremendous difference in my daughter’s self confidence and I think the method results in skills that are going to be much more useful in the workplace of the 21st century: self reliance, discipline and self-motivation. There are an amazing number of Montessori options in our area. Which leads to a problem of an over-abundance of choices…and price ranges.

We’ll be making some visits over the next few months. We’ll look for all the usuals, but in the end it will come down to how it feels. I guess I’m appropriately worried about this, but it seems like one of the most important decisions I’ll ever have to make fir someone else…I really don’t want to screw it up!

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miscellaneous

Happy B-day to me

Happy B-day to me. Turned the calendar another year today. Doesn’t seem like I’m much older, but my kids sure do. Spent the weekend in Lexington at Keeneland horse track. Lost some money (that’s what it’s there for, after all), but had a great time. Hope 31 is as good as 30 was.

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miscellaneous

Off to Seattle

Leaving for Seattle tomorrow morning. It will be my first visit to the Microsoft campus and I have to say I’m interested to see what it will be like. After 3 days there, I’m off to Scottsdale for a 3 day “Conference on the Future of Engineering Software”. I’ve been going to this “conference” for the past few years and its always interested to see what everyone brings. The speakers are always interesting and the private meetings are even better, so who knows what will turn up.

Last year I met with a guy that had developed a really cool decision support tool based on Baeysian statistics. It basically allowed groups of people to “vote” on what they thought about a particualr decision and the confidence they had in that knowledge, and then would filter out someone who was BSing. Pretty interesting stuff. Can’t wait to see what turns up this year.