The Chainlink

it sucks that this is the first thing i will be putting on this website.

a little over a week ago (oct 12, 12am-ish), some mofo ran up to me & punched me off my bike while i was riding it (i had just turned east onto division off homan FYI). i lost control of the bike and wiped, did a face and shoulder plant, which has replaced a third of my right eyebrow with a (admittedly pretty wicked) lighting-bolt scar and a fractured right clavicle. (also, the punch landed on my left ear and did some damage to the eardrum).

not sure if the attacker meant to do more, if he did, im lucky there were 2 neighborhood kids to help me. they at least kept me safe and found the lenses for my glasses and bestowed some strange advice about putting a steak on my eye. then a couple on their way home who lived nearby stopped to help, they had some gauze and tape for the bleeding, they stowed my bike safely on their property and drove me to the hospital (i discovered later that they went back to where i wiped and found the frames for my glasses! im going to make them cookies).

so i got stitched up at the hospital and went and saw an ear/nose/throat doctor and a bone doctor. the bone doc said i wont need any plates to realign the clavicle, i just need to wear a brace that takes pressure off the fracture and allows me to use my right arm to varying degrees, tho right now i cant lift the arm above shoulder height (very McCain-esque). he says itll take 3 months to fully heal.

im wondering if anyone out there has sustained a similar clavicle injury. im wondering how long it will take before i can get back on the bike, im hoping i dont have to wait 3 months. if anyone has advice or experience with and injury like this, i would like to hear yr input.

tanx in advance
tvw

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Hey, sorry to hear about the old broken collarbone. I too suffered one, and boy I think it's fairly safe to say its a bitch of a break. I was also attacked, although it was by a friend in some consential horsing around/wrestling. Anyway, my break separated, I'm not sure if yours has...if it hasn't be glad because that will help speed along the process. About a week and a half after the accident I had most of my range of motion back but that probably was helped by the fact that my bones were just sort of floating around. Long story short, I had to wear a brace that kept my shoulders back while I waited for the bones to grow back together....that took a looooooong time. I broke it in February and had my final xrays in June which showed some bone growth between the two sides.

So my advice to you, if your bones are still together, be VERY careful not to have them come out of place, then you'll be in my boat. I'd make sure your xrays show significant bone growth around the break before you go doing any activities that may jar them apart. And then once thats happened, pretty much let your body be your guide. If it hurts...don't do it. And as always, be careful not to overdo it in the beginning, you'll be regretting it the next day. It took probably 6 months until I could go back to any sort of weight lifting with that arm or putting REAL pressure on that side without twinges of pain.

Sorry that you're going through all of this! Any chance of catching your attacker?
this bums me out but also confirms what i suspected. my fracture was not compound (where the break separates...i was told that plates would be needed in that scenario to hold the bones in place, tho it dont sound like you got plates). there was no real manipulation of the fracture, the bone doc said to let it heal as is. im wearing one of those nifty braces that pulls the shoulders back (and takes pressure off the fracture). ill prolly have to stay off the bike for the 3 months it should take to heal.

i thought i felt the bone moving around a little bit last nite which had me worried. every 2 days or so i seem to do something that results in an extreme burst of pain (ie. running for the bus, playing with cats, work...), definitely things i shouldnt have done. im hoping i havent made things worse. i see the bone doc again friday, so ill find out then.

i had just made my turn onto division, i wasnt going very fast, when the attacker ran up to me. i saw him, looked him in the eye, i thought he was taunting me, so i turned away and didnt give a shit...then he hit me. i prolly couldnt have gotten away from him even if though i was in danger. my bike is essentially locked into hi-gear and getting a burst of speed is a hard thing to do. in retrospect, i think the only thing i could have done to protect myself was swerve into him...then we both would have probably been hurt...its not really in my nature to do that kind of thing...but next time...i hope there is never a next time. even tho i saw him, i dont think i could ID him or provide a proper description. i think this mofo is gonna get off scott free.

sorry to hear about yr total break, sounds like you had a worse deal with the total separation. did you have to do any physical therapy? do you have all yr movement back?

thanks fer the info!
tvw

Ashley said:
Hey, sorry to hear about the old broken collarbone. I too suffered one, and boy I think it's fairly safe to say its a bitch of a break. I was also attacked, although it was by a friend in some consential horsing around/wrestling. Anyway, my break separated, I'm not sure if yours has...if it hasn't be glad because that will help speed along the process. About a week and a half after the accident I had most of my range of motion back but that probably was helped by the fact that my bones were just sort of floating around. Long story short, I had to wear a brace that kept my shoulders back while I waited for the bones to grow back together....that took a looooooong time. I broke it in February and had my final xrays in June which showed some bone growth between the two sides.
So my advice to you, if your bones are still together, be VERY careful not to have them come out of place, then you'll be in my boat. I'd make sure your xrays show significant bone growth around the break before you go doing any activities that may jar them apart. And then once thats happened, pretty much let your body be your guide. If it hurts...don't do it. And as always, be careful not to overdo it in the beginning, you'll be regretting it the next day. It took probably 6 months until I could go back to any sort of weight lifting with that arm or putting REAL pressure on that side without twinges of pain.
Sorry that you're going through all of this! Any chance of catching your attacker?
wow, this all sounds terribly brutal - im really sorry

any idea what the assault was for? just a random crazy person or what? i can't even imagine what that would be like
i was in humboldt park, where i live, but i live near the california clipper @ california and augusta, on the southeast side of the park itself. i was attacked on the west side of the park @ homan and division, which im told is a bit more dangerous than the area i live in, and is place i rarely go, not out of fear (atleast until now), but because most of my business in chicago is north south and east of where i live (from Wrigleyville, i was going to a friends party in Logan Square, but i couldnt find it so i decided to go home, thats why i was as far west as i was).

my theories are

A) im told there are gangs in the area, which i see some gang activity where im at, tho me nor my roommates have ever been bothered or threatened. im told the gangs are more entrenched west of the park. its possible this was gang violence. i dont think the attacker was alone, i thought i saw a group of people on the opposite sidewalk. he may have been dared to do it. it may have been some form of initiation. he may have felt it was the right thing to do.

B) that weeked (oct 10 11 12) there were some serious festivities going on in the neighborhood. its possible my attacker was drunk or high and in a festive mood, but also full of negative energy and maliciousness.

C) it could have been a random crazy person, and i was just the random victim.

D) i sometimes wonder if people who yell (or get angry in silence) at bikers in their car are willing to maliciously hurt bicyclist, either with their cars, or otherwise. im wondering if this person really has something against bicyclist always being in his way and slowing him down on the street. i should say that i think this is my most paranoid and far fetched theory.

ive biked in chicago for 2 years now and have only been hurt once so far (got cut off by an SUV @ fulton and halstead, i had considerable speed coming down off the bridge, i tried to stop so fast i flew over the handlebars and landed on my chest. i was able to ride away from that one after they looked me over in the ambulance and the cop put the chain back on. i was sore for a month). ive had many close calls with idiot drivers and doors and have probably put myself in a dangerous situation or two because of my own stupid moves.

oddly enough, the one thing that has happened to me before that is even remotely similar to this attack is drunken cubs fans lurching at me off the sidewalk, definitely not on accident (arms raised, bellowing, laughing afterwards), which is a pretty serious dick move and could still cause a serious accident. ive never been hurt because of this, but its happened more than once.

L. Jerome said:
wow, this all sounds terribly brutal - im really sorry

any idea what the assault was for? just a random crazy person or what? i can't even imagine what that would be like
yowzers - animals - i've never quite been able to understand any of the behavior - where people get these violent urges is beyond me

you seem like you handle it well enough, i don't detect anger or aggression, which is encouraging, because it would be difficult not to be furious with this ignorant lumbering violent menace

heal fast and well, im sorry to hear the story but it'll remind us to keep an eye out for madmen as well as cars
not to pick on cubs fans, or to stereotype, but i have been lunged at more than once by a cubby. granted, i was in the territory, but thats not really an excuse. ive never been lunged at by anyone else, so i dont know what gives.

ill admit, im curious, and its in a slightly morbid way, what other bad encounters people have had on the streets and trails.

L. Jerome said:
yowzers - animals - i've never quite been able to understand any of the behavior - where people get these violent urges is beyond me

you seem like you handle it well enough, i don't detect anger or aggression, which is encouraging, because it would be difficult not to be furious with this ignorant lumbering violent menace

heal fast and well, im sorry to hear the story but it'll remind us to keep an eye out for madmen as well as cars
Eeek, do you think you could ride a recumbent bike in a gym to keep in shape? That really sucks. I don't know what I'd do if something like that happened to me. I hope it doesn't. The reaction of the people who helped you is very positive though. It's nice that most Chicago people are good.
No, I didn't need any surgery. I was actually advised by two doctors (I got a second opinion which is always a good idea) that putting plates in would actually cause a longer heal time, more pain, scarring etc...I wore that same brace you have for months instead.

You will see from the xrays if the bones have separated on Friday, hopefully they haven't, but that brace should help keep things in line. I believe mine separated on the way out of the ER parking long when my mom ran over a giant pothole, I screamed like I didn't even know I was capable.

I didn't need physical therapy and I have full range of motion. It's been almost 4 years now, and it still gets sore if I lean on that arm too long (ie propped up on that side reading a book or something). Only lasting side effect is my bones grew back together overlapping so there's a bump, and I'm now shorter from center to edge of shoulder on that side although I'm sure its imperceptibly ;o)
TVW- Although the crash support group tomorrow night will focus on mainly on accidents with cars, you may still want to join the group. Check out the calendar for more info if you are available. There will be psychiatrists, etc there too. I've never been in a serious accident, but will still be checking it out tomorrow.
I have nothing to add other than that sucks, glad you're okay otherwise, and to heal up quick. I used to work near the intersection of Grand and Chicago just south of where you live, and would commute to and from Evanston. Anyway, it's an interesting area since it's on the border of some of the more dangerous areas of the city (Garfield Park) and I was amazed at how much the neighborhood changes within a few blocks.

Again, heal up quick and I second the thing about finding an exercise bike to get on in order to stay in shape.
i would like more info the crash support group. thankfully i have a job i can work with the injury. i do AV gigs in the chicago area, freelance, which would usually require some heavy lifting, but for now im comfortably behind a mixing board for atleast another month, maybe more, @ a theatre gig. i would be seriously financially screwed if i didnt have this job. having this job, however, will probably prevent me from going to crash support group, i may stop in when the opportunity presents itself.

Julie Hochstadter said:
TVW- Although the crash support group tomorrow night will focus on mainly on accidents with cars, you may still want to join the group. Check out the calendar for more info if you are available. There will be psychiatrists, etc there too. I've never been in a serious accident, but will still be checking it out tomorrow.
Clavicle fractures are among the more common cycling injuries. I endo'd while off-roading when I was 17, and even as a kid it took several weeks to heal.

I've been lunged at in the Loop during rush hour, where a fall could easily be deadly (and witnessed by hundreds!) so I doubt there's much rhyme or reason to such attacks.

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